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Delaware St. John Volume 2 -
The Town with no Name

Release date: 11/2005
Developer/publisher: Bigtime Games
Game language: English


ESRB/PEGI: no rating



A review by   André   21st January 2006


The comic horror enters the second round! Who already played the first part of Delaware, "The Curse of Midnight Manor", roughly knows what expects him/her: "Volume 2 - The Town with no Name" again is a small, nice, spooky, B-movie-style independent adventure game, that you play from ego perspective and which so far has only been released in English.



It's possible, that the developers of Big Time Games have selected the name 'John' unconsciously, not knowing it can be taken as an allusion on the well-known horror-trash literature character 'John Sinclair'. But it fits anyway, because Sinclair likewise fought spirits, ghouls and golems in innumerable pulp fiction novels. Concerning both, story and graphics, obviously some correlations result between the game and the mentioned 'literary masterpieces'. This already begins with the cover design. Of course it matches the game, but I'm sure, that some artistically halfway skillful pupil would be able to create something comparable during a boring - let's say - chemistry lesson secretly under the desk.

One should not only attend the detailed schaman-like manitou-spirit on the left and the dishevelled scrag with numerous eyes in the sky on the right, who this time represent two of the opponents in the game, but also the flashlight, with which fearfully looking Delaware illuminates the nameless road. This gadget is only one part of the Delaware's standard equipment. Of course he uses again the "Voice Imaginary Communicator" - briefly named "VIC" - a multifunction tool, which rendered valuable services up to the end sequence in the last game.

And that's in best order, because without his VIC he could hardly keep contact with his charming companion Kelly as well as a certain Simon in such a professional way. Their dialogues bring the necessary ease to the game, while Delaware walks through the quite lonely town. But via VIC he cannot only telephone, but also comfortably handle some few supernatural things. VIC also allows him, to record pictures of spirits and send them as well as sound samples to Kelly directly. However it's a bit astonishing, that VIC is used relative rarely, while having such an amazing gadget built in as feature in the menu bar. Such equipment is theoretically predestined, to be included properly as part of the puzzle design.

Delaware 2 consists again of two stories, while the second can only be started, if we've finished the first one. But now about the actual story: After his first meeting with the supernatural, Delaware became thoughtful, because he asked himself, what his visions might mean. While he helps Kelly a bit in her library for distraction reason, it happens again: He discovers an old Atlas. While he browses through the book, suddenly the shape of a town appears on one page out of nowhere. A mysterious town to be allegedly found in the middle of a forest area. Delaware starts out his search and actually finds the small town. When closer exploring the village that seems abandoned, Delaware gets acquainted with the first ghost fast. He couldn't but bail some of the spirits out, and himself too. Apparently his uncanny opponent from the last game zeroed in on him and pursues him persistently.


The game again takes place in ego-perspektive, which means that we can't set our eyes on our alter ego during the game, as generally known. We can only face him briefly during a few short sequences, which consist of a series of handpainted pictures. The characters, whom Delaware meets - usually all kinds of undead of most diverse shade - not only look better than those on the front cover, but are now animated, contrary to those of the predecessor game.

The background graphics can be compared with similar games, best fit with the oft-quoted Dark Fall. Particularly the graphics and the structure of the large monastery boarding school of the second story very much resemble the hotel in Dark Fall 1. The idea with the phone-scare-effect from Dark Fall 1 on this occasion became likewise "borrowed". I considered the enviroment of the boarding school - played at night in the dark - quite eerie.

"The Town with no Name" is more comprehensive than part 1 and this time they showed us some outside views in addition. Thus the game gets more spacious compared to its predecessor, which plays only in the cramped environment of a single house. The backgrounds again consist of numerous handpainted images, which were hardly animated. According to the theme, of course no colorful flower meadows under a blue sky show up, but a less positive ambiance harboring dark, hopeless roads in pale nocturnal lighting. But one spends nevertheless still most of the time in the dark corridors and areas of the town's buildings. Movement is only used as stylistic means, alike Midnight Manor, where some short, hectic camera moves through the corridors announce that something extremely terrible is chasing us, wanting to munch us with skin and hair.



Again there are no sub-titles. Thus my English was sufficient, to fiddle about to the end. But I missed some parts of the background story. With sub-titles I would have understood substantially more. Too bad that the manufacturer again did not consider that there are players, who are not 100% able to speak the language. I can't figure, that this feature would take too much efforts and costs. Otherwise nothing remarkable has changed concerning the comfortable handling. Again there is an introduction to explain the controls. I appreciate this nice feature, even if it is mainly necessary for people, who have never played an adventure game, because actually the controls are self-explaining. Using the mouse we move by point+click through town. We only need the left mouse button, to accomplish all actions up to saving a game.

Another interesting point is, that some hotspots are only indicated in the scene, if we touch them with the correct object, for example, if we fetch a painting from our inventory, in order to pull it over the blank space on the wall with our cursor, where it has to be hung up. There are only ten save slots, which are unfortunately only differentiated by date. But they should be sufficient for this game.



At least one track remained the same and represents a kind of title theme, as we are used to in other series (e.g. Nancy Drew). But a few new tracks have joined, intensifying the ambiance very well and come along either more calm, dark piano-like or inflaming and orchestral, in either case matching the subject of the game.

The voice overs of Delaware, Kelly and Co., are clear and very pleasing to the ear as normal. I already went into the missing sub-titles. A bit more disturbing is again the fact, that one cannot stop the voice output, because there are many locked doors in the second part too. Attempts to open these will again and again be commented with the same standard phrases ("The door is closed" or slightly modified "Surprise, surprise the door is closed") which are very annoying after some while.



The puzzles are not new in a revolutionary sense, as the wheel won't be kept invented again and again either. But they are a good mix, varied and entertaining. The degree of difficulty ranges between simple and sometimes medium. Again one must investigate many rooms and many found keys must be used on locked doors. During a Moorhuhn-like sequence at an arcade machine, which seemed to be left from the 80s, for once it doesn't depend on hitting the target as fast as possible but summing up the points correctly. There are easy mechanical puzzles, a note must be decoded and a ghost has nothing better to do than getting stuck in a crossword puzzle. Well, as a ghost you have a lot of spare time. So much for the seriousness of this adventure.

There are also some passages again, where you should better take your heels. Like in the predecessor such sequences emerge rather rarely and make sure that the blood pressure rises for a short time. They are likewise easy to master.



Like its predecessor, Delaware 2 again is a great game, even if this time the novelty has gone. I think, the scenery is somewhat larger. And the outside locations add some freedom of movement. Besides, the characters look better and "more alive", as far as that is possible with the undead! The easy puzzles are fun and again there are only few considerable points of criticism, which I've already criticized about the first installment: first there are those annoying text repetitions, which one cannot abort. Well, and the game could have been longer. Besides that, you can have your portions of spook and brain-teasers and are well entertained. And that's why "The Town with no Name" is a successful continuation of the series with a nice and not too profound story, which is adapted to the dime-novel-look - quasi Gabriel Knight light. This goal was achieved again and so I can hardly wait for the next game to hear the words: "Surprise, surprise, the door is locked."

Total rating: 79%


Adventure-Archiv rating system:

  • 80% - 100%  excellent game, very recommendable
  • 70% - 79%    good game, recommendable
  • 60% - 69%    satisfactory, restricted recommendable
  • 50% - 59%    sufficient (not very recommendable)
  • 40% - 49%    rather deficient (not to be recommended - for hardcore-adventure-freaks and collectors only)
  • 0%  -  39%    worst (don't put your fingers on it)


System requirements:

  • Windows 98/ME/XP/2000
  • Pentium 600+
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 16x CDROM
  • SVGA graphic card
  • Sound card
  • DirectX 9

Played on:

  • WIN XP
  • AMD Athlon XP 1800
  • 512 MB RAM
  • Graphic card Radeon 9200 Series
  • DVD-drive
  • Hard disk 60 GB

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Copyright © André for Adventure-Archiv, 21st January 2006



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