Avoiding Green Lung
In the world of Shadlight the ruling classes are known as Aristicrats. This highly distinct group, with names taken from the Roman Empire and an appearance that pre-dated the French Revolution, control all the world’s facilities and available resources. They hand out titbits as personal favours for carrying out their wishes. Citizens provide their work force in order to survive while the remaining dwindling population struggle to scoop up a meagre few crumbs of the necessities of life with which to get by on a day-by-day basis. Facing everything is the threat of a plague known as Green Lung. Fortunately there is a vaccine that can hold back the effects of the plague but this is under the control of the Aristicrats.
Before entering this world, the Shadlight opening title screen gives you the option to adjust the walk speed of the various characters between normal and hurried, turn on subtitles and a commentary mode as the game’s developers add asides and their thoughts. Further options allow you to start a new game or load a previously saved position. This title screen also gives the clue that Wadjet Eye has remained true to its usual graphics style of imagery. The game uses blocky graphics and characters that tend to move in straight lines to get from A to B.
The game opens on the 9th November which is the 20th anniversary of the blast that brought about the destruction and the current situation of the Green Lung plague which has wiped out a great number of the population who do not have access to the vaccine that can hold back the illness from becoming terminal. A spoken and printed commentary provides this background information as you take on the role of Amy Wellard. As a Citizen you are have taken on a task to complete a job for the Aristicrats in order to be rewarded with a lottery ticket that might win you a dose of the vaccine against Green Lung.
As you wander around the world of Shadlight you have a full screen view of the current location. Your overlaid cursor allows you to interact with objects and other characters you meet. As your cursor moves around it will reveal brief (often one word) descriptions of points of interest. Concealed at the top of the screen is an area holding your inventory which remains hidden until entered by the mouse cursor. This area will also contain a link to the Menu for saving, loading and exiting the game.
Along with the initial commentary, all the conversations and asides from your character are delivered by a voice actor and printed on the screen. Conversations will give you a choice of different topics or paths with the choices being displayed at the bottom of the screen. As well as the different voices used the characters, you will also see a head shot of whichever character is delivery each section of dialogue. If for any reason you need to interact with a character, such as show or hand over an object, in another way then you must temporary stop the conversation in order to carry out this task. The conversation can then be restarted if necessary.
Some of the conversations, especially if you select all the various topics, can be fairly lengthy. However you can cut the dialogue sections short with mouse clicks to speed up the action.
From time to time you will have the option to use a map to transfer between different locations. In order to use the map feature, which is accessed by leaving the current location, you are shown the available locations that can be visited at that time. Touching each location with the mouse cursor will reveal its name while a mouse click will take you there. This feature does cut down on the movement required by your character. While on the subject of your character’s movement, sometime Amy appears to glide along sideways which does look rather odd.
In order to complete some of the tasks that she will face, Amy will need to solve puzzles. In some cases the solution to these puzzles will be helped by accessing books available from a street merchant. A mixture of tasks will be required to complete these puzzling tasks. No skip option is available so it is often a case of try, try and try again.
System requirements for Shadlight are fairly low. You will need a Pentium processor with 64MD of RAM and 2GB of hard disk space running Windows ME and later. The game can be purchased online for $14.99.
|add to del.icio.us||Digg this review|