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Release date: 11/2004
Developer/publisher: MDNA Games
Game language: English
No USK/ESRB/PEGI rating
A review by slydos 18th January 2005
"Remedy" is a new independent adventure game from Sweden, created with Adventure Maker. It's made using a lot of photos (more than 1000) just like 'A Quiet Weekend in Capri'. It's also played in 1st-person-mode.
Carol Reed is a young Englishwoman - not to be mistaken with the English film director of the same name ('The Third Man'). She takes a longer vacation in Sweden. Her friend, private investigator Conrad Vogel, has died, just when he was busy with an important case. She's zealous to resume Conrad's investigations, but is not so sure, where to begin in this country, that she hardly knows. Industrial espionage, extortion and kidnapping seem to be connected with Conrad's death. Carol follows each clue and finally even gets into difficulties herself ...
We explore parts of the Swedish city Norkoepping. It's more than a simple photo documentation. Each single frame was reworked with effect filters so that we meet a continuous impressionistic water color style with strong, high-contrast but always warm, mostly bright colors. Nordic ease and intense shimmering light transform even dark cellars or storage rooms into friendly scenes. The photos were however only so far dabbed, smeared and changed in incidence of light and color, that they convey a very uniform and at first sight indistinct impression, but actually let fine details only so far disappear, that the eye can again interpolate the scenes into realistic pictures. So potential flashy retouching and picture manipulations are cleverly hidden. I would regard this an excellent method to provide the viewers with the necessary endorphines to propitiate them, even if the subject is serious, yet melancholic.
Important hotspots, zooms and pasted photos of interlocutors are not edited and so left well recognizable, detailed and clear above all. Within a single frame there is no animation at all. The semblance of movement is created by automatic photo sequences.
Repetitive piano music in different variations produces a tranquil, melancholic atmosphere. The sound effects are very gentle - few, quiet noises accompany handling of objects and sometimes we hear a bird's twitter or music from a headphone.
Carol's comments and conversations with dialogue partners were not presented and spoken by professionals, but they are no cause for negative criticism. The slight accents here and there even sound more realistic than a dubbing by English professional speakers would have been capable of.
The game manual is on CD. Well, there we find a readme-file, which describes the handling and gives technical and contentwise help concerning certain problems. But actually I must not throw a single glance at it, as the controls are easy to comprehend and there were neither technical nor puzzle problems.
After an automatic and smooth installation of approx. 300 MB we encounter a small launcher menu, which offers us to restart the game or load a savegame. During the game we can open the main menu at the top of the screen with the right mouse button to save, load and quit. Savegames are stored in a common Windows window unlimited in naming or number.
"Remedy" is mouse controlled throughout. Standard cursor in our 1st-person-game is a big spot turning into a magnifying glass, when we can have a closer look at objects, into a hand or gear wheels, when we can take up or manipulate things. Arrows mark the scene exits.
Clicking the left mouse button is for taking items. We don't always catch the inventory bar with the mouse at first attempt. If the inventory opens, we can point at an object to get a text description. Applying and combining objects within the inventory goes by drag&drop.
Most tasks in "Remedy" are object/inventory puzzles. In addition to the classic object search we have to sniff for scene exits in this game, which can be easily overlooked by the multitude of photos. For example often a small room containing important things can only be entered from another, surprising perspective. Therefore one should keenly look around everywhere and also assume hotspots in the back of Carol, at the ceiling or on the ground.
New scenes on our map are only added (the map always appears automatically, if we leave a main location) if we have got the associated information, written or verbal. Because we can't visit all locations from the start and can only solve puzzles in a certain order, nonlinearity in "Remedy" is limited to the variable collecting of objects in the current environment. Once finished conversations cannot be repeated. Interlocutors are occasionally absent or can be found at other scenes, depending upon puzzle progress.
There are no useless inventory objects. Items that are no more needed, will be removed from our inventory right after a successful use. "Remedy" becomes lightened and interesting however by the really large number of scenes to examine exactly, where we can find a lot of for the game progress completely useless hotspots. Then we get a comment from Carol, but can e.g. neither use nor take a mobile phone with us. Several decoding puzzles top off the puzzle food, which is well and logically integrated and challenges the players with an easy to middle degree of difficulty. You cannot die in "Remedy" and get along without Game Overs.
The game containes neither action nor dexterity elements and shows no bloody scenes. It would however - even if we don't find any age rating on the box - get the classification "Teens" and is recommended in my opinion for ages 12 and up, because of some use of violence and abuse of alcohol. Even adventure beginners should not be involved more than 8 hours with "Remedy" (with the hints in the readme-file).
Story, puzzles and execution of this first work of Mikael and Eleen Nyquist are well thought out, carefully worked on and error free. It is a kind of calm promenade and a celebration for all, who like to concentrate on extensive exploration. I enjoyed "Remedy" despite its shortness. In extent and degree of difficulty it doesn't come near 'A Quiet Weekend in Capri', but gives a good understanding of the homeland of the authors in a very pleasing way. The price of $15 including shipping is o.k.. The end of "Remedy" points to a possible planned new detective game with Carol. I'm up for it wishing the successor to be more tricky!
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)
Minimal system requirements:
- Pentium 500 MHz
- Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
- 128 MB RAM
- 16 MB video card
- 8x CDROM-drive
- 16-bit Soundblaster compatible sound card
- 700 MB free space on hard disk
- Windows XP
- P IV 1,6 GHz
- 512 MB RAM
- 16x DVD-ROM (Ultima Artec)
- nVidia GeForce 2MX400 64 MB graphic card
- Sound card DirectX-compatible
Carol finds a postal card
Rooms flooded with light are contrasting to many a dark adventure
This mortar comes in handy for Carol
We can water the plants - but that's not much help to us
Time and again we find documents
The late Conrad
The remains of the medieval Johannisburg
Somebody has spent some time here
A code must be cracked
Will the undertaker help us?
The map appears after leaving a location