the writings of a mind

Title: The Moment of Silence
Genre: Adventure
Big Word: Shhhhh.
Strap: …as we bow our heads and pray for hope

Excuse me a moment, I’m just finishing my glass of e-Space Juice before I start this mega-reviewtron on my Pentium 8000, 50Thz PC light-stick. What’s that you ask? Am I from The Future? You can bet your old-fashioned 4D hover-scooter Mark IV I am!

If only the above were any exaggeration of the tone TMOS sets from the very beginning. Set in an ambiguously future-addled New York city, it’s just dying for you to notice how things are a little bit different, and yet at the same time, somehow familiar. What’s that giant glass and plastic, picture-emitting panel on the wall? A "telescreen"? I’m sorry, I feel lost and confu… Oh! You mean like a tele/vision/! How intriguingly similar and yet distantly unreachable.

Eurgh. It doesn’t stop at gadgets – every tortuous cliché makes a cameo appearance. "Are you taking Liquid 9 or something?" "Those Sleep 3 tablets are great!" And least surprisingly but most depressingly, there’s the obligatory, "Wow! A Pantheon IV 3GHz processor – my dad once had one of those!" Yes, it’s the future, well done, we get it. Please, please stop trying.

No wait, don’t actually stop trying. Oh. Well, it would appear they did. Because beyond achieving the ability to both point, and click, there’s little else that this miserably broken adventure has got right. And it didn’t get those parts done all that impressively. I never knew quite how vital a part of adventure gaming was played by the ‘you can go in this direction’ cursor icon. As one of many missing or broken aspects of standard point and click templates, this absence means that the poorly designed layout of locations must be agonisingly traipsed over on the off-chance that the road leading to the left, or corridor to the right, can be walked down. Invariably, it turns out you were meant to walk into the wall to the south – you know, the one you couldn’t see.

German developers, House of Tales, have put no more effort into the lame, hard-boiled detective plot (man goes missing, recently bereaved neighbour decides to find him for no reason whatsoever, and uncovers a… shock, alien conspiracy), nor the translation, which leaves you bemused that the American voice talent(less) did not object to the grammatically meaningless mistranslations. "There’s already a door to the living room." "I’m considering to just go over". "Yesterday the police was at my apartment." And so on.

The story is complete gibberish, lazily using parallels with the terrorist attacks of 2001 and increasing threats of government censorship, but with no clever intent nor intelligent deconstruction of the contemporary politics of fear. The ditchwater protagonist has had his wife and son killed off for seemingly no other reason than to manipulate the player into caring less about him. A low tactic.

A kind word to finish: Um, it's better than Myst. But then so's typhoid. From the future. Riding nanobikes.

Broken, and also rubbish.


Tech Specs:

Publisher: Digital Jesters
Developer: House of Tales
Price: £30
Minimum System: 800MHz CPU, 256Mb RAM, 64Mb 3D card
Recommended: 1.4GHz, 512Mb RAM
Multi-player: None.
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