Alida review

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Bacardi Jim
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Alida review

Postby Bacardi Jim » Tue Sep 21, 2004 8:58 pm

Just posted in the Conservatory.
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Postby Fairygdmther » Tue Sep 21, 2004 9:02 pm

I'm sorry you didn't like it better. I know you were looking forward to this game. As usual, very well written review. I think I probably will still get it myself, it sounds like I would like it about as much as you did.

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Postby Ghostlady » Tue Sep 21, 2004 9:16 pm

Thanks for the interesting review BJ. I will also be giving Alida a shot but not for awhile. Playing Aura right now and they sound too much alike and with Halloween coming up, I definitely play the scary. I have Lights Out and Midnight Nowhere :wink: lined up.
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Postby Bacardi Jim » Tue Sep 21, 2004 11:38 pm

Ghostlady wrote:Thanks for the interesting review BJ. I will also be giving Alida a shot but not for awhile. Playing Aura right now and they sound too much alike and with Halloween coming up, I definitely play the scary. I have Lights Out and Midnight Nowhere :wink: lined up.


Not sure if either of those qualifies as "scary," but they certainly make for good Halloween games. LO is more "creepy," while MN qualifies more as "gruesome." If you haven't played them yet, you might also try to get ahold of Morpheus or Dark Seed to complete your Halloween season.
Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior... if human beings don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.
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Postby LadyKestrel » Wed Sep 22, 2004 2:51 am

I read your review of Alida, Jim, and I'm sorry that you were disappointed with the game. As I have stated before, it is an all-time favorite of mine, and I was surprised at your negativity.

Please bear in mind that the entire game was created by one man, indie developer Cos Russo. He built the entire game by himself (art, music, sound, story, puzzles, et al) over the course of 5 years. It was released for the Mac in January of 2003. It is only recently that Got Game began to package it here in the US. Before then, it was available only via the Deja Vu site.

I'm surprised that you didn't notice the music. To me, it is haunting and very beautiful, especially the opening theme, which carries over into the main hall. It does not loop continuously and is absent in the places where the ambient sounds are more important, but I still think it's memorable. I also like the water effects, and I'm wondering if they look different on a Mac. I gave the game to a friend of mine who has a Windows computer. I'll have to check out the look of it the next time I visit her.

I did find many of the puzzles to be real brain twisters, but all of them were logical, unique, and clever. I truly liked them. For instance, I thought it was terrific that those two similar sound puzzles you mentioned were different enough to make me rethink my assumptions for the second one.

The peghead puzzle and the rune solution were the two most difficult for me, but even when I was making myself bald over them, I got a real rush when my "aha" moments finally came.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS (mentioned in your review):

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Perhaps because I'm a birdwatcher, I noticed the bird calls on my frequent trips around the area, so when I found the hidden part of the mechanism, I knew where I had to go to identify each one. Having played the game 3 times now, I know exactly where those sounds will be triggered. They are always in the same spots.

I also disagree with you about the lamp. When I first saw it, I wondered about it but had nothing to guide me as yet. As soon as I discovered what the cabinet in the main hall did, I was back there in a flash (heh, heh) taking notes.
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Postby Bacardi Jim » Wed Sep 22, 2004 3:02 am

I wasn't saying that the bird calls weren't always in the same spots. (Though, in re-reading, I can see how it might seem that I was saying that.) I was saying that they weren't always triggered every time you passed over the "special spots" in the same manner. For instance, if you walk in a continuous clockwise circle around the area, you won't hear the bird calls every time you pass over the associated spots. Sometimes you have to turn on one of the spots to hear the call.. Sometimes you have to hit the spot by approaching from the counter-clockwise direction. I double- and triple-checked this. And, of course, once you do solve the associated puzzle, it just makes the Insect Puzzle all the more unfair, since you don't have to be standing anywhere in particular (despite the diagram in the corresponding T-Flyer that specifically indicates otherwise) to hear the one sound you need. You can hear it on every step of the wooden walkway, and even on the cross-piece that leads to the cabin area and into the Jacktower.
Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior... if human beings don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.
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Postby Bacardi Jim » Wed Sep 22, 2004 3:10 am

Please bear in mind that the entire game was created by one man, indie developer Cos Russo. He built the entire game by himself (art, music, sound, story, puzzles, et al) over the course of 5 years.


I specifically mentioned this several times in the review. However, in truth, it is irrelevant. Alida costs double most new releases from TAC and 33% more than new releases from other companies. Alida is, at this moment, the most expensive adventure game on the market in the United States. If anything, this is justification for judging it more critically than the competition, not less so. Remember, the first and foremost job of a reviewer is to let people know whether the game/movie/book is worth spending their hard-earned cash for. Most folks can't afford to buy every game/movie/book that comes along.
Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior... if human beings don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.
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Postby Bacardi Jim » Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:00 am

Correction: While I am virtually certain that Alida was $40 to pre-order, it appears that the price has dropped to $30 for the PC version with its release. My bad.

However, this still places it in the upper tier of AG pricing.
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Postby Fairygdmther » Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:06 am

I'm glad you posted this - I was just going to ask you about it - I just ordered it @ $30. Thanks

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Postby Bacardi Jim » Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:20 am

GMTA :cool:
Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior... if human beings don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.
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Postby LadyKestrel » Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:40 am

Since I own both the Mac OS 9 and X versions of the game, paid for the shipping from Australia for the first one, and have bought two copies for friends, it's obvious that I think the game is worth the price. I will gladly pay my hard-earned dollars to support any developers who build games for the Mac platform.

I supported Dreamcatcher from the beginning and own all their Mac titles. When TAC made it clear that they weren't interested in the Mac community anymore, it took a strong write-in campaign to get them to port The Omega Stone to the OS X platform. Those of us who bought ROTS were feeling angry and cheated at the exclusion. When they ported the game, I put my money where my mouth was.
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Postby Bacardi Jim » Thu Sep 23, 2004 3:15 pm

Sorry, Lady K. Maybe I didn't make my point clear. I'll try again.

The fact that a game is a one-man project is completely relevant if you are reviewing it as an underground/independent game. Such games are self-distributed and rarely cost more than $15.

However, once a game is picked up and distributed by a major publisher to the world at large, it's humble origins become completely irrelevant to a reviewer. If the game costs $30, then it should be fairly judged against all other games that cost $30, regardless of whether those games are a five-year labor of love by one guy in his den or put together by a studio team of a hundred designers and graphic artists.

You seemed to be saying that I should "give Cos a break because he made this game by himself." (And forgive me if I misunderstood you on this.) At least that's how I interpreted your following comment:

Please bear in mind that the entire game was created by one man, indie developer Cos Russo. He built the entire game by himself (art, music, sound, story, puzzles, et al) over the course of 5 years.


I did, in fact, mention the indie development of Alida in the review. But the purpose of a critic is to tell people how much quality they are getting for their dollar. In that context, it is completely irresponsible for a critic to "go easy" on a game because it was a one-man effort when that game is priced among the most expensive of its genre on the market.

I'm glad you found the game to be worth the money. I did too! But that doesn't change the fact that I had certain problems and disappointments with it that I feel obligated to report... same as if I were reviewing Broken Sword 3 or Syberia II.

On a final note, I suspect that the graphcs were likely superior in the Mac version than in the PC port. Graphics have always been one of the strong points of the Mac platform. This may explain our difference of opinion about that particular issue.
Last edited by Bacardi Jim on Sun Oct 10, 2004 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby LadyKestrel » Thu Sep 23, 2004 3:37 pm

BTW, Jim, although I don't agree with much of your review, I neglected to say that I thought it was well written. :)

I understand what you didn't like, but which of the puzzles did you like? To me the puzzles concerning the guitar sections were some of the best I've ever had the pleasure of figuring out. The most difficult one for me, if I count the gray hairs acquired in trying to solve it, was the peghead puzzle. I had missed a vital clue in another location, and it took me a long time to put all the pieces together.

Oh, if you're interested, there's a small Easter egg in the game. Let me know, and I'll send you a PM with the directions. :D
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Postby Bacardi Jim » Thu Sep 23, 2004 4:01 pm

Hmmmm..... I really enjoyed most of the puzzles in the game. How about if I pick a favorite set of puzzles?

That would be the Switch Puzzles:
The Moontone Cabinet
The Bird Calls/T-flyer
The Water Tone
The Conservatory Dungeon
The Switch Ball
Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior... if human beings don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.
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Postby LadyKestrel » Thu Sep 23, 2004 11:23 pm

When I first encountered the Moon Tone cabinet, I immediately thought of having to match tones like the spaceship in Myst or play a song similar to the piano puzzle in The 7th Guest or the organ puzzle in Connections. It's not that I don't like those types of puzzles, but I was glad to find that it was more original than that.
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