Amber review by Al Giovetti
By Al Giovetti, 03/20/97
Amber: Journeys into the Beyond
The mouse driven interface is easy to use. The game does not have much of an inventory, and this may be a plus since the action still exists beyond the few puzzles in the game. The puzzles are limited to a slider puzzle, and a few others that are not tied well to the plot and are not much of a challenge for experienced adventure gamers. The problem is that the puzzles are of the trial and error variety and are not linked to the plot logically, nor are there any real clues as to their solution.
Once you put on your Virtual reality headset, you are transported back in time to watch full motion video movies of the deaths of the previous occupants of the house. You must then move from room to room, giving peace to the souls that are held in the house.
The story character development helps you get involved with the ghosts that inhabit Roxy's Victorian House on Haunted Hill which is the center of the game action. You play that main character, who just happens to work for a supernatural research company - not quite the Ghost Busters, and your friend Roxy has invented the Amber device which allows her to talk to spirits. Roxy's Victorian home dates from 1800s and is loaded with interesting etherials with which to converse and socialize.
You start the game with an urgen message from Roxy, but when you get to her home you find her unconscious and still using the Amber device. Perhaps Roxy has been transferred to the other side by the invention. You must go after her. You don a spare amber device and the story begins. You collect parts of Roxy's fracture psyche by soothing the conflicts of the ghosts which inhabit her house. Once the ghosts are satisfied you may be able to restore your friend.
You set up your paranormal surveillance equipment. The Peek will notify you of poltergeist activity by a colored flash at the bottom of the page. Paranormal activity runs the gamut with floating furniture and blood filling up rooms and the like.
The plot is good but like the game too short.
The interface uses varioius devices such as a picture frame and black and white still photos and a smaller letter box presentation to reduce the computing power needed to run the game. The graphics are Myst-like photorealistic style which characterizes many games today.
AnimationAnimation is via QuickTime video scenes filmed like a movie
Music ScoreThere is no full sound track but the ambient sound effects replace it nicely.
Sound EffectsThe ambient sound effects of the winds, hum of machines, and creaking floors make the atmosphere. You will find yourself on the edge of your seat. The mystical quality of the sound enhances the storyline.
Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough
JournalistsColin could not recommend the game, suggesting that you "make this a game to avoid at all costs" and describes it as "Myst with spooks."
ReferencesRobert Coffey, Computer Gaming World, issue 153, April, 1997, pg. 82, 80%.
Colin Williamson, PC Gamer, volume 4, number 5, May, 1997, pg. 133, 53%.
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