The CGMS (Computer Games Maintenance Squad, to give it's full title) is a group of agents formed by characters who have had their game cancelled. They deal with discrepancies that may pop up in adventure games - an inventory item suddenly changing colour, a plothole that doesn't make sense, that sort of thing. The CGMS team will sort it out.
After the recent King's Quest revival, adventure games are becoming more popular again, with an increasing number of adventure games being developed. CGMS are finding themselves rather short-staffed. After all, more adventure games means more discrepancies for the team to prevent. In order to deal with their increased workload, they have to recruit and train more agents. And Thalia James, much to her frustration, has been tasked with training a young lad by the name of Sledge Rockfist. The problem is... Sledge isn't from the Pure-Adventure genre. Sledge is from... wait for it... the ACTION-Adventure genre! And we all know how well Action and Adventure get along! Nevertheless, Thalia must put aside her annoyance, and train this new recruit, despite his trigger-happy attitude.
But when a new, sinister threat arises, causing everyone to act out of character... it's up to Thalia to keep a cool head, remember that 'Brains Comes Before Brawn', and get to the bottom of things before the entire Adventure genre is put in jeopardy. Will she succeed? Or will Adventure games become just a distant memory?
Adventure: All In The Game is the sequel to Adventure: The Inside Job, and uses the same style of gameplay. A mouse is used to interact with Thalia's world, with icons shown at the top (move your mouse up there) allowing you to Walk, Look, Interact, Talk, and Check Inventory. You can even combine inventory items together to create a new item. The Options Menu is also found up there, allowing you to Save, Load, or Quit the game.
The game uses a lot of references to other adventure games, and I really liked being able to adjust settings according to your adventure game knowledge. If you've heard of (for example) King's Quest, but not TeenAgent, you can adjust the settings, and more references will be explained. This can be done at start of the game, but also by using the Options Menu at any time.
There were some running jokes, which made me chuckle! Thalia kept referring to Sledge's weapon as a gun, while he INSISTED it was a blaster, not a gun! Also, the whole banter of Adventure Versus Action really appealed to me. However, while I do love this game, there are a couple of puzzles I found rather fiddly and unnecessary. The first was the puzzle box - the idea behind it was very appealing and got my curiosity running (I won't explain it here, for fear of spoiling the game), but it ended with a fiddly 'Line Up The Segments To Open Box' puzzle, which seemed to distract from the main aim of the game. The second was a Slider puzzle. I've never been a fan of Slider puzzles, and while this one was quite easy, I'd have appreciated a Skip button for this.
One of the interesting things about this game is the graphics. Due to the nature of the game, with Thalia exploring everything from low-res EGA games all the way up to SVGA games, we get to see a wide variety of graphic styles. Even Thalia herself changes as she wonders through the different games, and it's interesting to see her in different graphic resolutions.
Conversations are shown as text above the characters head, and each character has their own colour text. I love the hand-drawn icons for Walk, Look, Talk etc, as well as the pictures showing your inventory items, so it's easy to see what you're carrying. One of my favourite things is the CommKey - it looks just like a mini computer. It's used as a Teleportation Device, and the games you can Teleport to are shown as thumbnails. The animation is superb, and Akril (the creator) has done a wonderful job integrating her own characters into the games she references, as well as mixing already-established characters into backgrounds from different games.
SOUND AND MUSIC
Just like the graphics, a lot of sound effects and music have been borrowed from other games. But it has been done with great effect, and it always seems to create the right atmosphere. A good variety of music (some ripped, some original) has been used, to indicate different areas.
Each location has it's own music theme. As the game starts, we are introduced to some beautifully haunting music, which I could listen to for hours. The stomping sound of Sledge's boots as he walked around was very effective - you always knew when he was around. Background sounds, like birds chirping or Eulabelle (the sheep) bleating is fun to listen to.
Adventure: All In The Game is a wonderful adventure game that I thoroughly enjoyed. I find the whole concept of another universe full of adventure game characters travelling between games, fixing glitches and keeping order in adventure games, talking to characters from other games etc completely fascinating. Sledge's 'Blast Everything That Moves' attitude made me laugh, and the underlying theme that sometimes Adventure and Action CAN along, is well thought-out. Much of the dialogue is very witty, and will bring a smile to your face. Other times, you feel really concerned about what will happen next (poor Sledge!). The game is mouse-controlled, so it is very easy to play. I like the inclusion of the 'Adventure Knowledge Meter', allowing you to adjust the game according to your knowledge of other adventure games - if you're not very familiar with adventure games, the references will be explained to you. I loved seeing how characters changed appearance as they travelled through other games, and the animation throughout is superb. A lot of music has been ripped from other games, but it always seems to fit the scene. There are a couple of puzzles that don't seem to fit in, and break your immersion in the game. But apart from that, I can highly recommend it.
I hope we see more of Thalia James, in the future.
Review by: Frodo
Safe for all ages
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