If you go to Spain and ask people who played video games during the 80s, which is the best one, La abadía del crimen will surely come out on top. This is a remake with enhanced graphics and sound, and translated to multiple languages including English, so it can finally be appreciated worldwide. It's a very original adventure based on the novel The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, and was a huge success back in its days.
But this is no ordinary remake. It wasn't done with AGS or the like, nor even with a modern "high-productivity" programming language. It is a port in the strictest old school, masochist sense: the original program for the Amstrad CPC was disassembled, and only the necessary changes were made to the code to turn it into a Windows executable, and to include several enhancements, but without altering it essentially; for example all the characters the player meets, will move and act in the same exact way the did in the original game, pixel by pixel, if the player does the same. The work behind this was daunting, and was completed over many years by enthusiast Antonio Giner González. This ought to demonstrate the kind of following this game has got in Spain.
And why is it so special, that it enjoyed such a success, and it hasn't been forgotten like most? Well you'll have to play it to see for yourself. If you haven't played this, you haven't played anything remotely like it. The game-play is unlike any other adventure as I said, and you'll have to make the best of your time, because you have a deadline to solve the mystery, each day different events take place which you must find out, and you must in addition attend your obligations as a monk--namely attending Holy Mass and have dinner with the other monks and the abbot, who will be behind your every transgression.
You have the utmost freedom to investigate and you must scout around the immense abbey, so this game doesn't consist at all of a simple series of puzzles. There are very few inventory items, and every one of them is essential for some purpose. It's anecdotal how many players are first frustrated when they enter the abbey and meet the abbot, who instructs the player to follow him, which is quite hard at first. However this is because one of the things you'll need to do all the time is following other monks at night to find out what they're up to. You can move your disciple as well as yourself, and you'll really need to exert your ingenuity to solve the mystery of the abbey.
The scenery is impressive, and tridimensional! Whereas the programming was done by late code wiz Paco Menéndez alone, the graphics and design of the abbey were made by his friend and then architecture student Juan Delcán. The building is beautiful and huge, including secret passages and the labyrinth, and the game is about its scenery as much as anything else. At first you'll get lost, but step by step you'll learn the layout without noticing, and by the time you manage to beat the game you'll be able to go anywhere without looking at the map.
Few things can be said against this jewel, and every one of them is a consequence of its being a remake of a game from 1987. Of course the graphic resolution is very low (the graphics weren't re-drawn, only had more colours added). More importantly, you may miss more text and explanations in an adventure game of this kind; this was also due to memory limitations at the time. (It would help that you had read the book or seen the movie.)
In short, this game in 1987 excelled in every aspect according to both public and critics unanimously, had no weak points whatsoever, and its concept and implementation were groundbreaking. Can you appreciate it? It will take a while to get you going at first, but you'll have a great time.
All the settings and documentation can be accessed by right-clicking on the game window, but they're in Spanish only, unlike the game itself. The first thing you should do is selecting "Inglés" (English)--unless you prefer Spanish, Catalan, Finnish or Portuguese. Anyway I'll note the controls down here for you:
Alt+Enter - Full screen
Review by: Japofran
Safe for all ages