Review of Faust or 7 Games of the Soul

Read reviews or write your own, rate a game.
Fairygdmther
Galloping Ghoul
Galloping Ghoul
Posts: 4556
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 1:59 am

Review of Faust or 7 Games of the Soul

Postby Fairygdmther » Wed Jun 30, 2004 4:15 pm

Faust or 7 Games of the Soul
Review by Fairygdmther

While growing up, most of us have heard of the seven deadly sins: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, and sloth. Supposedly if we avoid these, and follow the Ten Commandments, we will be allowed to enter Heaven after our deaths. What if you were able to conquer six of the deadly sins, but one was just too difficult to overcome for you? What if, say, your pride kept getting in the way? And if pride came to define you, to where it was important above all else, what would you do if you were offered a way to maintain your proud stance in the world against all odds? Would you sell your soul to the devil to achieve your goal?

Goethe’s Faust is the inspiration for this interesting game, but a great deal of poetic license is taken, thankfully. We have Marcellus Faust as our protagonist, who is assigned by Mephistopheles (Mephisto), as agent of the devil, to investigate the lives of seven Dreamland employees, to see if their pact with the devil is indeed a valid one. The setting of a circus-like amusement park to display the characters in their homes, work, and interactions with others is a clever way to allow for the intermingling and intertwining of lives and purposes. The seven segments of the game loosely correspond to the seven deadly sins, but each segment is woven into a tapestry of Dreamland, the sine qua non. It is possible to enjoy this game without taking the time to unravel all the threads, but for me, untangling them was part of the fun.

We begin each segment by taking a tour through the homes of each individual, seeing how they lived, and what was important to them. We are shown brief flashbacks of each person, to get a feel for how they behaved, spoke, and interacted with others. Once we get to know them a bit, and learn what is important to them, we see them being tempted by Mephisto, and seeing their response to this temptation. We then follow them via flashbacks for a while, seeing the results of this, whether they took the temptation or not. At the end we receive a confirmation or negation of the pact with the devil, to give to Mephisto. Each person has secrets to be uncovered, by examining their work or by their environment, such as hidden passages to explore. Each is quite different, and yet bound to this same Dreamland microcosm that both hinders and exposes them. Each is an individual with his/her own values, likes/dislikes, past history, and approach to life. Each is both likable and detestable in varying degrees. Each has a distinct personality. Many kudos to Arxel Tribes to take the time and effort to build individual profiles for each person, as it added to the personal touch and involvement for the gamer. For a game that is based on a religious premise, the exceedingly fine balance that was maintained here is commendable: no preaching, no proselytizing, no Theology - just a story built on common Christian beliefs.

The game is played in the first person perspective, with frequent, well-edited cutscenes that enhanced the intrigue of the plot. Mephisto, whom we deal with the most, is probably the best looking and maybe even the most likable character, even though he is the agent of the devil. I suppose he must be a charmer to adequately tempt others to their eternal fate. There is a tiny caged imp named Homunculus, who assists in a few spots, and can be used to give hints when you get stuck, but if used too much, will need to be “charged up” by playing a difficult arcade-like sequence. The scenery graphics were excellent, the people less so, but still very good for the year 1999. Maneuvering was a bit clunky, but not really difficult to learn, with node to node movement, but allowing for panning to see the lovely environment. The music was superb in this game and set the stage for a post-depression era scene with just the right amount of nostalgia and mood. The control panel enables you to play this music at will. Sound effects were executed exactly as you would expect live sound to be.

Puzzles ranged from quite simple to moderately complex, and did not distract from the gameplay. It was only on retrospect that I realized just how many there were, since they were so seamlessly integrated into the game. Many of the puzzles are just the mechanics of getting to know each person, and the exploration of their world, while others lead you to new areas of information. The puzzles are mostly well-cued, with some actually being fed to you, while others require some deduction. One of my favorites was a treasure hunt in the second segment, where you receive clues to help you find what you need to complete the puzzle. The game evolves in a fairly linear fashion, and you are not allowed to progress to the next stage until the previous one is completed. During the poker game, if you don’t win, you are recycled back to begin it again until you do win. Games saves are unlimited, but the game does an automatic save between each segment. Twice during cutscenes, it crashed to the desktop on me, but since they were between segments, I lost no progress, loaded back to the same spot and continued without further problems. The game is on four CD’s, and there is a minimal amount of disc changing between segments, but none that interrupts gameplay.

Summary – while this game is far from perfect, it does so many things so well, that I’m forgiving of all but the game crashes. Did I like it? Well, The Longest Journey is no longer my all-time favorite game! Yes, it truly is that good. The extremely well-written plot, gorgeous period music, interesting true-to-life characters, beautiful graphics, and well-designed puzzles make this a game you’ll not soon forget, yet want to play again.

Score: 9.8/10

Minimum System Requirements:
Windows 95/98
Direct X 6 Compatible
Pentium 200 MMX
32 MB RAM
16 bit Color
12 X CD ROM
2 NB VRAM

With grateful thanks to my personal editor, BJ.
Image
User avatar
LadyKestrel
Flighty Administrator
Flighty Administrator
Posts: 10350
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 1:40 pm
Zodiac: Aries

Postby LadyKestrel » Wed Jun 30, 2004 4:31 pm

That's an excellent review, FGM! :thumleft:
There's no such thing as too many books!
Fairygdmther
Galloping Ghoul
Galloping Ghoul
Posts: 4556
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 1:59 am

Postby Fairygdmther » Wed Jun 30, 2004 4:34 pm

Thanks, Lady K, I just posted it a few minutes ago! Good feedback already! :flowers

FGM
Image
Tanuvein
Resident Ghost
Resident Ghost
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2003 4:29 pm

Postby Tanuvein » Wed Jun 30, 2004 7:02 pm

This sounds really interesting. I love almost anything based on religious fiction as long as it isn't preachy (it gets bonus points for being blasphemeous though :P). Is there a demo or should I just trust your review and track it down?

Excellent review, by the way.
What can change the nature of a man?
User avatar
Ghostlady
Mistress of the Manor
Mistress of the Manor
Posts: 7451
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2002 9:04 pm
Zodiac: Gemini

Postby Ghostlady » Wed Jun 30, 2004 10:31 pm

Great review Fairygdmther. I also enjoyed this game very much. The most memorable part was the music.
Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again...
unlaura
Resident Ghost
Resident Ghost
Posts: 275
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 11:44 pm

Postby unlaura » Thu Jul 01, 2004 12:10 am

Hi, great review. I've been trying to buy this game on eBay but I keep getting outbid when I'm not home. :thumbdown: Any chance I can get it to play on my XP?
Fairygdmther
Galloping Ghoul
Galloping Ghoul
Posts: 4556
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 1:59 am

Postby Fairygdmther » Thu Jul 01, 2004 12:58 am

While I can't answer for certain, since the specs call for Win 95/98, you probably can play it in compatibility mode.

FGM
Image
unlaura
Resident Ghost
Resident Ghost
Posts: 275
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 11:44 pm

Postby unlaura » Thu Jul 01, 2004 9:47 am

Thanks, I guess I won't know for sure until I try. :)
User avatar
Melia
Galloping Ghoul
Galloping Ghoul
Posts: 3254
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 8:35 pm
Zodiac: Aquarius

Postby Melia » Thu Jul 01, 2004 1:49 pm

unlaura, I've got win XP and have been playing it ok...except for sound problems, it works. It's crashed to the desktop a few times, too, but I can always pick it up where I left off because it saves the game for me. :)
I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process.
It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance? :shock:
Tanuvein
Resident Ghost
Resident Ghost
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2003 4:29 pm

Postby Tanuvein » Fri Jul 02, 2004 9:16 am

She ignored me :o :( :cry:
What can change the nature of a man?
unlaura
Resident Ghost
Resident Ghost
Posts: 275
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 11:44 pm

Postby unlaura » Fri Jul 02, 2004 1:24 pm

Tanuvein I did a Google search but I couldn't find any demo for 7 games. :sad:
User avatar
Melia
Galloping Ghoul
Galloping Ghoul
Posts: 3254
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 8:35 pm
Zodiac: Aquarius

Postby Melia » Fri Jul 02, 2004 4:35 pm

Tanuvein, I'm playing it now. It's not preachy. It's quite good. Maybe you can get it used? I've borrowed my copy from Hawka.
I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process.

It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance? :shock:
Tanuvein
Resident Ghost
Resident Ghost
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2003 4:29 pm

Postby Tanuvein » Fri Jul 02, 2004 7:38 pm

Thanks for checking Unlaura.

I may do that melia. Religious fiction, when done properly, is the best thing in the world. When done improperly or in a preachy manner, it really irks me.

I won't lie, because of personal experiences I'm more apt to get annoyed by Christian preaching than anything.
What can change the nature of a man?

Return to “Review or Rate Games”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests