Zack Bon has been working in the Police Special Operations unit for three years now. After successfully defeating 'Cult Of The Stars' last week, he is now ready for his second solo mission. Apparently, Jonathan 'Nathan' West - CEO of West Patrol Inc - is suspected of financing, and being involved with an underground militia. This militia has but one objective - to defect the federal government.
Zack doesn't want to wait for the militia to prepare itself. Zack wants to take action NOW. However, before anything can be done, Zack needs to find evidence of Nathan's activities. It just so happens that Nathan West is throwing a party for friends and colleagues. Zack must not let his true identity be discovered, so he plans to disguise himself as Chris Perry, president of C.P. Telephony. He will infiltrate the party in order to gain more information about Nathan's activities. Zack will remain in radio contact with his boss, Sergeant Williams, as well as Agent Heather Longside, who will be monitoring suspicious activity outside the building. Everything has been planned very carefully. But you know what they say about the best laid plans......
The game is entirely controlled with your keyboard. The idea is to find information about Nathan West's shady activities, without your real identity being discovered. You can search the mansion and mansion grounds, and pick up items (just walk over an item to pick it up) along the way. A lot of the mansion is out of bounds to begin with, but you can open doors (and bushes) by finding keys or activating switches. Simply walk over a red switch to activate it, and turn it green. The only trouble is, you often don't know which area you have just opened, so you may need to explore the mansion to discover new areas.
You can talk to people by walking up to them, and pressing Space Bar. They usually want a certain item, and you have to find that item for them. Once you give them that item, they will either give you something else, or they will open a door (or bush) for you, giving you access to more areas in the mansion and it's grounds. You can save your game at any time by pressing 'Esc', and I recommend you save often. There are many dangers in the mansion, including chemicals, acid, and even barbed wire, all of which can damage your health. Luckily, there are also first-aid kits scattered around which can heal you. Your health level starts at 100%, so be sure to keep an eye on it. If you reach 0%, then you will die.
Puzzles are very much a 'Give Me This, And I'll Do That For You' variety. The whole game is about finding the item that So-And-So wants, so you can get another item in return or get an area opened for you. The mansion is huge, and it is easy to get lost. This often makes it hard to find the item you need. As well as being huge, a lot of the mansion is closed off to you at the beginning, and it is tricky gaining access to new areas. It can be frustrating when you can see the item you need, but a door (or bush) is preventing you from getting to it. I will give you a tip now to save you from a LOT of searching around - you will find an earring in the garden one screen north from Joseph Hudson.
Cult 2 is played with a top-down view, meaning that you are looking down on the game from above. Strong, bright colours have been used throughout, and this adds a lot of enjoyment to the game. It's easy to tell what is plants, TVs, chairs etc. However, it is sometimes hard to tell what is an 'interactive item' (card reader, laminator, Nathan's computer etc) from background scenery. When you are talking to someone, or when you are talking yourself, a small window will pop up showing an icon of that person (along with his name), and what he is saying. Your health meter, as well as your inventory and what keys you have are shown along the bottom. Inventory items are represented by a picture icon, so you can tell at a glance what items you have. If you want a more detailed description of an item, scroll left or right (End button or Page Down button) above the arrow keys, then press Insert.
MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS
Music in Cult 2 is very rich and detailed, and I loved listening to it. There is a good variety, so you are not listening to the same thing all the time. The whole thing sounds very grand. Unfortunately, the sound effects are not so impressive. Don't get me wrong - they're not bad, they're just not very exciting. You can hear Zack's footsteps as he is walking along, as well as the odd beep or buzz as he performs various tasks or walks through chemical spills or barbed wire, but that's about it. But then again, you don't really need many sound effects for this kind of game.
Cult 2 is an excellent adventure game that really makes you use your brains. You must gather information about Nathan West by searching his mansion and grounds, negotiating, and trading. And you must do all this without revealing your identity. The story is well written, and the game controls works well. Music is very rich and detailed, and I loved listening to it. It was sometimes hard to know which items I could interact with, and what is just background scenery, so I missed a lot of clues at first. I also found it quite frustrating trying to find out which door (or bush) has just been opened by which switch, and sometimes found myself wandering aimlessly because of this. The top-down style of graphics very interesting to see, and the strong, bright colours made the game even more enjoyable. All in all, this is a game that I can recommend. If you want a game to challenge you, then why not try Cult 2.
Review by: Frodo