Not too long of a game
The first thing about this game that you may recognize, besides the fact that this particular adventure game is unlike many other freeware adventure games that are available at the moment, is the sheer size of the game. The download alone for this game is 1.2 Gigabytes and while that number is very small compared to the games you see nowadays, for a freeware game that is pretty big. One look at this game and you can see why, as Fate by Numbers is no conventional adventure title. Oh, it has all the trappings of an adventure game, with a deep story, intriguing characters, in a sci-fi noir style from the 1950s, but Fate by Numbers is done entirely in Full Motion Video.
Unlike many of the Sega CD titles and the handful of PC titles that utilized FMV in the early 1990s, Fate by Numbers does a fantastic job of incorporating the FMV acting into the game. While the acting at times is not always solid, it still is much, much better than many other FMV titles with the possible exceptions of, say, Wing Commander IV. Nevertheless, once you get past the whole FMV experience, you will see a solid adventure game that easily ranks among one of the best, and certainly makes it one of the most unique types of games to hit the adventure scene.
In the game, you play as Alice, a female private eye who is hired to retrieve a certain briefcase by a gentlemen who prefers to remain anonymous on why he wants the briefcase and for what exact purpose. Alice ends up taking the assignment, not knowing full well what she is really getting into. Nevertheless, there is plenty for Alice to discover, as her journey will lead her to many different locations and meet many different people that will somehow tie into the overarching mystery.
The style of Fate by Numbers is different from your average freeware adventure game. You do not move Alice around the level, searching for clues as you would with other games. Instead in each area, you are presented with a different number of hotspots that you may click on to see if perhaps there is something you can pick up, or something you can activate. You can also examine these hotspots, use them, and as always, try to Talk to the hotspot without much success. While this particular element, does cut down on the actual exploration element of the game, it doesnt really take away from the game experience that much. Every time you enter a new area, you are presented with a nice little cinematic of Alice or her vehicle reaching the area and then Alice standing in said environment, waiting for your next course of action.
You also only use the left mouse button within the game. If you wish to use a hotspot, simply click on it and a box pops up showing your inventory, whether you wish to look at an object, use an object or talk with an object or person. This is quite simplified in the game, and if you are not sure about certain hotspots in the game, you can move your mouse to the top of the screen and click the hint button, to show you all the hotspots that you may interact in each scene.
Overall, the story is nicely written, and is quite interesting to play through, as you are unraveling the scope of what is going on in the game. As you explore each area, you will pick up more and more of the details. The best part is that when you do reach the end, there are multiple endings that you can receive depending on your actions. There are a few points within the game that I did feel were a bit rushed, and could have easily been a bit more fleshed out, but overall the story was quite intriguing.
The characters you encounter throughout the game were also quite interesting, with some being a little more interesting than others. This time around, having real actors and actresses playing their respective roles really makes it necessary to not have questionable or laughable acting, as many FMV games have done in the past. Overall, the acting by the characters in the game was done pretty well. I did feel that the actress playing Alice did have some questionable moments during some scenes, but overall, she did a good job, as did many of the other actors playing their respective roles. Like I said earlier, there are times when the acting can be either a hit or a miss, but overall there were more hits than misses. Obviously, making a FMV adventure game is not easy and it was great to see professional style acting in this game, rather than having b-movie style performances by the actors just to save some money.
Graphically the game looks quite nice, as it should, being a FMV game. While the actors are all real, the environments were done via Green Screen, and while you can easily tell in some locations, it still looks pretty solid, and the black and white style of graphics really added to the whole noir feel of the game, which was awesome. At times, it can be a bit hard to see some of the hotspots within each scene - mainly because of the darkness in these scenes, and simply because you are not always totally sure where a hotspot is located in each scene. But with the hint feature, you can easily find out about these hotspots. The cut scenes that play out during the game look really nice, with some impressive effects being shown. For example, when Alices vehicle is traveling from one area to another.
There is some music within the game, and most of the time, it sounds really good. It definitely adds to the experience of the game, and the style as well. Although there is not a ton of music tracks within the game, most are solid and I didnt find any of the ones used to be out of place.
There really is not much to fault in this game, other than perhaps the length of the game, which I did find to be a bit short. In all honesty, it definitely is much longer than a lot of other adventure games out there, and granted, depending on how skilled you are in playing these types of games, the experience can take longer, or it could be shorter.
Nevertheless, I really did enjoy playing through the game, and seeing what the developers at Revival created. Needless to say, they did a fantastic job crafting a FMV adventure game that was not only interesting and intriguing, but also showed the potential for future games that they may wish to tackle using this style. Fate by Numbers was mentioned by a lot of review sites, gaming media sites and other avenues, because of the style of the game, and because it was a fantastic game. From my experience playing through the game, I can safely say that all the praise this game gets, is definitely worth it, and I do hope that Revival does perhaps continue the series, to see what happens next.
Review by: DeathDude
Safe for ages: 15+
2.7GHz Hard drive