Monday, 3 December 2012
Future Wars Review (PC)
Future Wars was the first of Delphine's games to use the cinematique engine. This would later be used in a number of other point and click adventures, as well as being adapted for classic game Another World. The game follows a curious window cleaner who discovers a time travelling machine in his boss' office. The machine sends you into the past and future and along the way some evil aliens turn up for good measure.
As interesting as the setting is the controls really are irritating. Right clicking on the mouse brings up a panel with various options such as examine, talk and use. You select the one you want and then move the cursor over the place you want to use it. Those brought up on the later Scumm engine games, such as Monkey Island, may struggle here. Having to press examine every time you want to see something really is a chore. It seems mad now after the Scumm engine that simply highlights what something is without any need for button pushes. We shouldn't forget though that Lucas Arts titles Zak Mckraken, Loom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade all worked in a similar way.
Adding to the frustration is the fact many of the items appear as a couple of vague coloured dots on the screen. Only when highlighted do they reveal themselves to be flags and pieces of paper. This means many players will be completely oblivious to objects that they need to collect. You can click examine and move it around the screen, but often you need to hit an exact pixel to activate the description. When you theoretically (unless you are looking at a guide), don't know if there's an object on the screen or not it becomes an exercise in frustration.
When you do get a run of puzzles solved it does move at a nice pace. The worlds are well drawn and contain a fair amount of character. You can certainly see some of the graphical style in later Delphine games as well. Aside from this though it is hard to recommend the game to first time players. Most gamers will be completely lost and frustrated due to the archaic control system. Future Wars may well have the set the blueprint for things to come, but there is little reason to go back to it now.