Based on the story of the man who sold his soul to the devil, Faust is sometimes disturbing, sometimes funny, and almost always downright bizarre...
You play Marcellus Faust, an old man living in an abandoned theme park called "Dreamland". It's a strange place with even stranger inhabitants, as well as a long, and at times sordid, history.
Under the supervision of the suave and charming demon Mephistopheles, you have to investigate seven of the odd characters who have lived in the park over the years, including a midget, a pair of siamese twin sisters, and a man who dreams of being Casanova.
All of these characters have crossed paths with Mephisto at various times, and it is up to you to find out what deals they have struck with the devil.
Whatever the details, it is generally pretty grisly...
The game itself is a Myst-style graphic adventure, split into seven episodes - one for each of the characters you are investigating.
There are dozens of locations to explore, and you can rotate your view of them through a full 360 degrees, as well as being able to look up and down. It's hardly groundbreaking, but the implementation is good and panning is very smooth.
A cursor shows where you are pointing in the scene, and this changes shape when you move it over a "hot spot" - an exit to another location, an item you can pick up or use, or an object to be examined.
Sometimes examining or using an object will trigger a short cinematic or a clip of speech. This is usually a flashback to fill in more of the story, and they can also provide clues to help you complete a puzzle.
The voice acting is generally top notch and the cinematics are well done, although I think Cryo are being a little overenthusiastic when they compare them to the animation in "A Bug's Life"...
There's also a soundtrack of old jazz and blues music throughout the game, including big names like John Lee Hooker and Marvin Gaye. It all helps add to the period atmosphere, although as the same track plays over and over again in most locations it can eventually get a little annoying when you get stuck!
The most important part of any adventure game though are the puzzles, and luckily Faust scores well in this department as well.
The puzzles are fairly challenging at times, but the solutions are always logical enough when you apply a little brain power to the problem. There isn't much here that will stump a hardened adventure gamer, but I found it difficult enough to keep me involved without becoming frustrating.
You will need sharp eyes though, as a few of the objects you need are rather small and can be hard to see. At times I resorted to just moving the cursor all over a location looking for any hot spots I had missed, but luckily this didn't happen too often.
Once you have found and picked up an item, the inventory system is simple to use. Just right click to bring up the list of items you have, left click on an item to select it, and then left click on the part of the scene you want to use it on.
Manipulating fixed objects is also very easy, using a simple click and drag system. Rotating dials, turning handles, and connecting up wires is all very straightforward.
Faust can hardly be accused of breaking any new ground on the technical side of things, but it is competent enough.
The graphics are good (though not quite as good in action as they look from the screenshots), the locations well designed, the interface easy to use, and the puzzles logical without being too straightforward.
The best part of Faust though is the story telling. Because the cast is limited to just seven main characters (plus yourself and Mephisto), you get to know them all as you explore the park and find out more about their lives, and the terms of their pacts with the devil.
The result is a more involving and enjoyable game, with a strong story to keep things moving along.
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