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By the Light of the City
It is time to step back to the year 1844 and enter the world that encompasses the environment of Lamplight City as developed by Francisco Gonzalez. This is the same person who was also responsible for “A Golden Wake” and “Shardlight”. Set in an alternate steam punk-like Victorian past, the game of Lamplight City is described as a detective adventure played out over various borough areas of this city with its mixed population.
The game allows you to make certain adjustments to the playing environment. You can adjust the volume levels used for Music, Voice dialogue and Sound Effects. The game can be played in windowed or full screen mode with or without subtitles and a choice of English or Dutch language.
Lamplight City casts you in the role of Miles Fordham, an ex-police man, currently working as a private investigator along with his partner Bill Legar. You are on your way to investigate a burglary at a flower shop in a less prosperous part of the city. This break-in had not been reported by the owner but by an anonymous caller.
All your actions are carried out via the mouse cursor. As the cursor moves around the different scenes, it will change shape to indicate when different actions are possible. These actions, instigated with a left mouse click, include examining objects, picking up an item which might prove useful, move in a specific direction or initiate a conversation with your partner or one of the other characters inhabiting the game.
A right mouse click will bring up a choice of options arranged across the top of the screen. This arrangement will give you access to your case book with sections for lists, clues, suspects and document. The book will be automatically updated as new information is discovered. Other options available from the top of the screen include a map feature allowing you to jump immediately to a specific location. You can also change settings, save and load game positions plus quit to the desktop pr main game menu.
Conversations, of which the game has more than its fair share as suspects and others are quizzed regarding events and their knowledge, occur during normal adventure situations or form part of a Miles Fordham’s interrogation session. In both types of case, the dialogue is spoken by a voice actor and also appears on the screen in text format. As conversations tend to feature more than a single character the text appears using a different colour to indicate who is actually delivering the lines.
When the dialogue forms part of an interrogation session, you are offered a list of topics to work through and these can be accessed in any order that might seem suitable. The two participants in the interrogation will appear as head and shoulder images with quivering lips as the dialogue is delivered with questions being asked and answered.
The rather strange case of the flower shop, with flowers going missing and the money to pay for them magically appearing, comes to an unsatisfactory end as the two detectives attempt to capture the criminal in a roof top scene. Unfortunately, following a pistol shot. Bill Legar falls to his death. A jump forward in time of three months then takes place.
The game then takes on a Randall & Hopkirk feel as the dead detective continues to talk to his partner. This communication is supplied in spoken and printed format with advice, comments and suggestions of what to do.
From time to time your character will be given a choice of actions or routes to take in order to make progress. The choice you make in such situations will affect how other regard you and how they react to you. This will also affect the flow which the game takes.
Rather than force your character to physically walk between locations that need to be visited, often many times, that are a fair distance apart, you are provided with a map feature. This map, which can appear automatically or be called into action from the top of the screen, allows you to click on a location and be taken there immediately as you set about investigate the mystery of Madame Duprée who was pronounce dead until she arose from her coffin during her funeral. Was Voodoo involved and who was the culprit?
Solving this mystery, and not forgetting the flower shop case and death of Bill Legar, is just the start of the five cases that make up this point and click adventure with various possible routes to take as the game adapts to your decisions. Although rather heavy on the dialogue, Lamplight City is well worth considering. It is priced at £11.39. System requirements call for a Pentium processor with 1GB of RAM and 2GB of hard disk space running Windows ME and later.
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