Intensely creepy atmosphere
Good plot with 4 endings
Slow walking speed
It is a bit short
Imagine if you woke up and found yourself lying in a neon coffin in a darkened room that turned out to be in outer space. You have no idea where you are or how you got there. A glowing computer screen asks you one question: "Do You Regret?"
This is the situation our heroine finds herself in, and after leaving this strange tomb she must explore the eerie and deserted space station. There's blood everywhere, the power is out, and cryptic messages keep appearing on the control panels. Is any of this real? Who is behind it? Just what is going on? It's up to you to guide her through the station searching for clues, as every step takes her closer to the mysterious "White Chamber" and the truth that awaits her there.
White Chamber is a Point & Click graphic adventure created using the Wintermute Engine, a freeware tool dedicated to Adventures. The interface is similar to Curse of Monkey Island- you use the left mouse button to move your character, while a right click brings up icons for Use/Take and Look.
As you can probably see from the screenshots, it all looks very impressive, with a distinctly Japanese/manga styling to everything, especially the anime cutscenes. The atmosphere, however, is more reminiscent of Silent Hill, as you switch from the normal (albeit very dirty) space station and a darker, organic evil version. The latter is very gory, and this game is therefore not recommended for the faint of heart. Having said that, most of the game isn't particularly scary, although there are a few very tense scenes and one or two sudden shocks. It's really no scarier than the early Resident Evil titles (although without the genuinely frightening voiceovers), so unless you found yourself afraid of them, TWC shouldn't keep you awake at night. Imagine Five Days a Stranger/Seven Days a Skeptic with graphics that are detailed enough to actually be gory.
Being a Point & Click, the most important feature is, of course, the quality of the puzzles. They all make sense, and while they're not exactly hard and won't stump you for long, it still feels rewarding when you find the answer. There is some pixel-hunting to be done, with one particularly annoying instance that I'll get to later, but the majority of the items and fixtures you'll need to interact with are easy to make out.
The second most important feature in an Adventure is plot. White Chamber's plot doesn't really progress much between the beginning and the endgame, aside from a few notes and video recordings left behind by a crew member. These give hints to what has been happening on the station before your mysterious arrival, but it isn't until you reach the White Chamber itself that there's any real, solid story progression. It is a very good twist (although it's quite possible that many players will have seen it coming- it depends on what kind of stories you're into really), and there are four endings to be earned. Two of these are the traditional 'Bad' and 'Good' endings upon completing the game (Which one you get will depend on what you did or didn't before reaching the final scenes) while the other two involve not actually finishing.
The game is quite short, but since that's common to nearly all amateur adventures it's not really something that I'd mark it down for. Besides, given the nature and pace of the story, it's nice to be able to go through it in just a few sittings. It also makes it easy to get all four possible endings- once you know what's going on and what you have to do, you can probably work out how to get the other three fairly quickly.
The other problem, and the one that really is actually a problem, is the way the game flows. Things on the station change as you progress- once you complete a puzzle, a room that was perfectly normal a minute ago might, the next time you enter have been transformed into a Silent Hill-esque nightmare. This means you will sometimes find yourself having to search the entire station to see what has changed. This is where the particularly annoying bit of pixel hunting comes in- not only is the item you need quite small, it only appears after a certain scene in that room. Unless you actually spot the change when it happens, finding what you need to progress can be a long and frustrating process.
That problem aside, The White Chamber's only other minor flaw is the size- weighing in at over 300 Megs it will probably take longer to download than it will to finish. And to be honest, for a game that size I was expecting speech, although it's obvious that the graphics take up a lot of space. But quite frankly- who cares? If you're a fan of adventures or horror, then this is an excellent distraction, and certainly one of the highest-quality amateur games I've ever played.
No turning back. It Begins...
Review by: BlackMageJawa
Infrequent swearing & Graphic violence
Safe for ages: 15+
Latest version of the DivX codec