Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 06/13/02 | Genre: Adventure
Monkey Island, Kings Quest, Myst, Space Quest, Zork, Leisure Suit Larry, Quest for Glory, and Sam & Max. These titles conjure up images in my mind of the golden era of PC gaming. This was an age of adventure games?Äîgraphic adventures that ranged from funny to serious. Everywhere you went, there was a new adventure game to play. As PC gaming moved from floppy disks to CD, developers were able to add elements like voices, photo-realistic environments, and longer games, without worrying about running out of space. And since CD's are so cheap, they could continue adding elements to their titles, even if it filled up more than on CD. However, people soon began to get a little bored of hundreds of mindless clone Myst games. The gaming industry quickly moved towards First Person Shooters and Real Time Strategy Games. While there have been a few memorable adventure titles in recent years, they have been few and far between. Is the adventure genre doomed? Russian developer 1C is banking that there is still a little life in the genre with their first title released in the US--Jazz & Faust.
As you may have guessed from the title, Jazz and Faust is an adventure game where players control either the smuggler Jazz or captain Faust. At the beginning, you must choose which character to be. One problem I found was when selecting the character I wanted to be, there were no names above their head. Even though I didn't know who I was selecting, I ended up with Faust. Each character has their own perspective of the story. No matter who you select, in the end, you will meet up with the other character. However, only by playing the other side will you be able to experience the "entire game."
In the preview version I played several months ago, the voices were all in Russian. While the final version has added English speaking voice actors, quite a few of them are absolutely horrible. Thankfully, each of the main characters sound good. Since you hear their voices the most, you should be able to overlook (or just laugh at) the bad voices in the Jazz & Faust. I also found that the dialogue was just plain stupid at times?Ä¶ As Faust says things like: "Do I look like a man who pees in his pants?"
Controlling Jazz and Faust will remind you of classic adventure games. You move a cursor and click where you want your character to walk. All of the actions within the game are controlled by the mouse--which provides a reason to "lean back" in your chair and relax while enjoying the game. If you come across a need to access your inventory, just right-click the mouse. From here you can select the item you need.
The graphics are a mixed bag. I really enjoy the hand-painted backgrounds. They are really gorgeous and have a lot of details. However, the character models are not nearly as good looking. This is especially noticeable when you view the faces of a character. They are deformed and just strange looking. Another problem with the graphics is that at several points in the game, you need to interact with an object within the world. For example, you may need to pick up an item or buy an item. However, you can't see the item you are supposed to pickup or buy. Unless you are using a walk-through, you may get stuck and not be able to continue the story. Even if you know what to do, you will have to go on a "pixel-hunt" to find the exact space to click on. As you can guess, this is very frustrating.
However, despite these flaws, I kept going back to Jazz and Faust. While it may have several flaws, the puzzles were logical and it kept me interested in the game. However, I must mention that you must complete the puzzles in a certain order to continue on. For example, as Faust, you can't go into the graveyard during the day until Faust completes some other puzzles that turn the game world to night. Also, the addition of two different playable characters provided some replay value to the game. If you are a fan of adventure gaming or just want to play something different and slower-paced, Jazz and Faust may be the game for you. If you can look past its flaws, you will find a fun adventure.