Excuse me while I turn on the lights and get the coffee brewing in here. Been a while.
So, The Last Express. I must say this game is certainly different. Unlike the last game we played, Baldur’s Gate, where I could see the roots of many modern RPG systems, this game doesn’t seem to have any corollary. Sure, it’s got your standard point-and-click adventure game elements, akin to the Lucas Arts classics (remember when they made good games?) and Myst.
Allow me to go off on a tangent here. Remember Myst? That game was HUGE. It was the highest selling game for over a decade (finally outsold by the Sims in 2002). It was a major force behind CD-ROMs becoming the industry standard. Everyone I knew with a PC had a copy. Your parents knew what it was. It was in the pop consciousness. Yet it feels like this game has completely disappeared. I never see it on the games-of-our-childhood nostalgia lists. Just seems odd.
Back to Last Express. It’s a point-and-click game but with a huge twist that makes it unique, the events unfold in real-time. While you’re figuring out how to unlock a door or something, the other passengers are going about having dinner, playing chess, sleeping, etc. It’s a great mechanic. It breathes some life into the game. It’s cinematic instead of just being a parade of static puzzles. It also allows for some interesting story paths.
Example. I’m supposed to meet a friend on the train. I get to his room and SHOCK he’s dead. So I do what any sensible man would do, I throw him out the window and take his clothes.
At this point a conductor knocks on the door and announces someone is waiting for me in the dining car. OK, I’ve got blood on me so I better wash up before I meet this person. Head to the bathroom, wash up, and then I get stuck in there for an embarrassingly long time. Like Trapped in a Closet long.
The game is basically a series of pre-rendered slides, so I found it easy to get turned-around. I kept trying to go though the wrong bathroom door. Then I heard someone in the other room so I stayed in there in case they knew it wasn’t my room and started asking questions. By the time I escaped the bathroom death trap to the dining car my mysterious dinner guest was gone. I have no idea who they were or what they wanted.
This may have a huge impact on my game or perhaps none. I don’t know. I do know so far I’m digging the wrinkle real-time adds to this game.