Time: 10 hours
|Cutscenes are in a slightly lower resolution than the game. I suspect CD speeds are the reason for this.|
Enter Knowledge Adventure, children's shovelware extraordinares. You might remember them from that Jurassic Park cinematic platformer, a phrase rarely said, but true. Knowledge Adventure acquired the license...somehow...for some reason, and instead of continuing the legacy of our old, beloved Dr. Brain, he changed. Dr. Brain made two clones of himself, one good, named Pro, and one bad, named Conn. This deep story is explained in Puzzle Madness, which is a bad clone of the 1998 Scotland Yard game with mini-games thrown in. Those are a ton of sentences that were never before used in the English language. Which brings us to IQ Adventure.
|You don't notice it when you're playing, but check out that group of vines on the left.|
|If you can figure out the pattern here, you're smarter than me.|
|Talking is keyword based, and mighty simple.|
|Picking up fish, for puzzle 8/9, not helped by the pieces moving all the time.|
1)Match 2 out of 6 dolls perfectly. Repeat with the remaining dolls.
2)Get all the switches in the right direction.
3)Find the right path through a series of flowers/things.
4)Put together a pipe machine.
5)Match all the colors up in a series of 3x3 rotating squares.
6)Same as 5, except you can't rotate them and you have to put in the squares.
7)Same as 5, except you match any characteristic a square has.
8)Put a series of blocks/fish above water/void.
9)Same as 8, except its a grid.
|Spiders are strictly linked to their webs, out of the web by a few squares, out of reach.|
Also, I haven't mentioned it, but 1 and 6 felt difficult to me. Now, I was playing on hard, but as someone older than the game's age-range, that falls flat. Am I stupid? Even when I figured out the trick for 6 it still took a while to beat. The difficulty doesn't seem to have made it more difficult to figure out, just more tedious. Its funny.
|The Mutans, as the game call them, can't walk onto the grass. In this level, you get grass seeds.|
|There aren't any NPCs here, probably because they're spider chow|
|Those trees are hostile, you have to be careful here. At least different kinds of enemies attack each other.|
|The things on the right of the inventory are armor, and that's something desperately needed on this level.|
As every item is used the same way, only the end result really matter. Everything is really useful, including ones that work against only one enemy or special effects attacks. 3/10
There's a curiously well thought-out selection. While there's not much interesting going on in a single section, the three sections combined have enough interesting monsters to put it in a pretty good place. 4/10
They exist. They only get in the way. The dialog system is nice though. 1/10
I feel mixed. Up until the about the final two levels, there was some interesting stuff going on. The rotating level gimmick is just that, a gimmick. 3/10
Its mouse-only, which is not necessarily a good thing. Sure, its simple for the kiddies, but even as a child I had trouble clicking on the right area. If you're running away in a panic the only recourse is to blindly click. If you click on an area that can't be accessed by the pathfinding, you stop. At least the enemies have the same pathfinding. 2/10
There's just the bare minimum of effort for an adventure game. Anything that isn't useful is completely unusable. 1/10
I have to say it does a good job of feeling like an alien world. 5/10
Its functional, but really ugly. Sometimes things get in the way, you'd think testing of the whole perspective flip thing would fix that. 3/10
Its a simple find the items plot. Doesn't get in the way, doesn't do anything. The cutscenes at the beginning and end serve their purpose, nothing more. 1/10
Sound is fine, nothing cuts out, everything sounds suitable for what its supposed to sound like. Most of the music tracks are around a minute in length and I think there are only around 5 of them. But I will say they're not annoying, just very moody. Dr. Brain is voiced, the other characters are not, and I have nothing to say about that beyond the functionality of his voice. 3/10
Before I go to the final score, let's put in a few comparisons. The last Knowledge Adventure game, Dino Defender, had a 20. Previous games, roughly with the same kinds of aspects, namely puzzles and adventure games; Inca 30, Bram Stoker's Dracula 37, Alone in the Dark 53. Only, all of those games had high-scoring categories, in, atmosphere music and graphics. This is only high-scoring in atmosphere, and not to the degree to make up for much.
Its 27. That puts it well above the current curve, but that's not exactly a recommendation. Its one point below Midwinter and I consider that game's strength to be skiing. I'd say that a 30 is a good recommendation point and this isn't that. Its only of interest if you played it as a child or you want to scare your own child. Mobygames has one contemporary review, unfavorable, 2 out of 5 stars. Curiously, the reviewer, an elementary school teacher, plays on easy, complains that the game is too easy. She also doesn't seem to know what level she's on. The rest of her criticisms are directed towards not being able to navigate, which, admittedly, I think is a reviewer problem rather than a game problem for the most part*** and not being educational. That criticism will not be criticized. She also seems to be naive, as someone apparently told her that Knowledge Adventure was just Sierra's current incarnation. She mentions King's Quest too, but doesn't seem to know that Dr. Brain and King's Quest were made by the same company. I have to wonder how good her teaching skills are...
Next time on stuff that isn't really a shooter, Dungeon Master.
*Clones are as old as the material they're cloned from. Since Dr. Brain is an old man, roughly 70-80 years old, his clone shouldn't have very long to live. Come to think of it, why did the original die?
**I found out...after beating the game, that the help button on the main GUI tells you about the inventory items. That actually would have helped a little bit with the weird items.
***Generally speaking, I feel such criticisms, unfairly leveled, are usually a sign the critic can't really navigate that well in general. See, the endless debates about why Resident Evil sucks and they're just not incompetent at video games.