Retrospective: Fahrenheit • Page 2

Winter wonderland or snowballs?

Cage's obsession with representing regular life appears whenever characters are at home. Lucas's apartment offers such wild opportunities as drinking a glass of water, turning the CD player on, or having a sit down. But these mundane activities all contribute to maintaining each character's stress levels. It's important to maintain their mood through what become increasingly traumatising times or they will simply lose the will to carry on.

And wee. Boy oh boy, is there a lot of peeing in this game. You don't have to, but it will relieve stress for your characters if you do, and there's an abundance of toilets around. Tyler can even wee right in front of Carla in the murder scene. There's a criticism to be made of other narrative-led game characters never needing to go to the toilet, and Fahrenheit appears to be trying to make up for all of them.

And of course private lives involve relationships. Tyler's girlfriend is concerned for his safety while at work, and needs to be reassured. Carla's gay next-door neighbour offers a friendly ear and some threatening Tarot reading.

Most significant is Lucas's ex-girlfriend, who comes to his apartment to collect the last of her things. Depending upon your actions, and your timing, this can be a simple exchange of cardboard boxes, or may end in sombre goodbye sex. (In the UK version this involves a particularly awkward sex mini-game of which the censored version is relieved.)

3
He's not nearly as dead as he should be.

Ah yes, those mini-games. They predominantly involve a Simon Says system in which two circles of four colours rapidly flash, and you must mimic the pattern along with it to, well, do all manner of things.

This can result in your simply continuing to watch a cut-scene, playing some basketball, performing on the guitar, or telepathically hearing another's thoughts. Or running along the side of a building and jumping a helicopter.

They're interchanged with Track & Field frantic key hammering which is tedious to perform (although extremely easy). And both have one rather enormous flaw.

If you're having to watch eight different coloured bars, and tap eight corresponding keys at the same time, there's very little chance of your seeing whatever's going on in the background. But Fahrenheit doesn't seem to realise this, decorating such moments with Matrix-inspired fight scenes, or vital plot-developing sequences. It's completely barking mad.

Then there's a bunch of other mini-games that appear here and there, the most notable being Carla's claustrophobia. When stuck in dark, confined spaces, in order to stay calm you must remember to breathe for her. This involves tapping the left and right arrows as you move around in first-person, performing tasks and solving puzzles.

4
B-ball. That's what cool people call it.

It's absolutely intriguing. Breathing too quickly will have her hyper-ventilate, not breathing at all will clearly cause similar trouble. So you have to maintain steady puffs and not be distracted by the other tasks.

And then... Well. Now we're in spoiler territory. Watch out.

Wow, does it go off the rails. A game about people, which spent time in their lives and dealt with the trauma of not only committing a murder against your will but then developing crazy visions and psychic powers, would have been fascinating. A game about an ancient Mayan Oracle fighting with a physical manifestation of the internet in a battle over the life of a small girl who has the answer to all of the questions of the universe... Pardon?

But that's where it's going, and there's nothing you can do to stop it.

As Lucas becomes more powerful, he learns more of who took control of him. It seems that an ancient Mayan force has caused people to kill others for centuries, the killer then going mad and committing suicide. But Lucas is different! He's special. And he's special because when he was a kid he snuck about a lot.

Oh good gravy, the dreams about his childhood are awful. They're a stealth game, in which Lucas and his brother Markus must run around the military base on which they live, attempting to sneak into places where they shouldn't oughtta.

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John Walker

John Walker

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