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A preview by slydos, 5th April 2005
Maybe the comic fans in our country already know Martin MystÚre. Lately there's even a French TV series starring Martin MystÚre, a character invented by Alfredo Castelli. Since 1982 our hero is particularly concerned with mystery cases, like extraterrestrials, time travels or the secret of Excalibur. Martin MystÚre is engaged with his ex secretary Diana Lombard, is driving a Ferrari and has a very unusual characteristic for the likes of him: he grows older, even in the comics. He lives in New York and is not only the special weapon of the FBI with the x-files but also a very educated man in many sciences and arts, as if you cross a Fox Mulder with Indiana Jones raised to a higher power. The sub-title of our game, freely adapted from Oscar Wilde: "Operation Dorian Grey", points out that this time the story is about a dream of mankind - eternal youth.
I already had the pleasure, to play a part of the English version and can deliver the gospel to all point&click fans: Martin MystÚre is a classic adventure game, and what kind of an adventure game! Our 3D-hero does not deny his comic origin with his angular face and his blond quiff. He smoothly moves where our mouse sends him or walks to objects, which we want to examine closer.
You can open and close the inventory at the bottom of the screen with a button in the left lower corner. So one can decide whether the inventory is visible or not. We look at objects with the left mouse button and can browse through the possible actions with the right mouse button, to interact with objects or characters. The mouse cursor changes its shape over hotspots but without showing a text specification immediately. To get a closer description of the environment you have to click and let Martin describe the items to you in detail via sub-titles. And what a variety of hotspots there are. Right from the start it really makes fun to to look at the many souvenirs of the far-traveled detective and scholar. Of course his house not only holds foreign masks, statues and other knicknack but also many books, which he all must have read before and is eager to give us a precis of the contents.
Nearly everything is clickable and of course we get a lot of funny comments, while we are not fobbed off at all with empty standard phrases. The hotspot factor, thus the relationship of objects you can only look at compared to usable items in a display area, is according to my estimation approx. 10:1 while it's for example in Syberia 1:1 or maximum 2:1.
He shares the house not only with his fiancÚe, but also with his assistant Java not entirely unalike a heavyweight Quasimodo, who contrary to Martin MystÚre, that speaks with an agreeable, warm voice, only mumbles rather incomprehensible for us. MystÚre however seems to know how to treat him. Whether he also understands the feelings and thoughts of this exceptional being from another time, remains open.
Diana, who knows her Martin in and outside, has locked his part of the wardrobe for good reason (of course the by far smaller part, properly) and put the key away, to prevent him from leaving the house while she's away. Martin shows - how should I say - due respect to Diana, so that he also doesn't dare to open or even browse her drawers in her absence. "God forbid!" he warns us, if we suggest him to do so. Yes ladies, I already notice, that you begin to be interested in this well-bred gentleman.
But all jokes aside, Martin MystÚre is called to a murder scene in a scientist's house. Thus he should finally get rid of his pajamas and his dressing gown and jump into his Ferrari, in order to serve mankind. The puzzles, which he has to solve so far are logical, imaginative and make really fun.
Objects, Martin carries with him on his mission, are a map of New York where all new accessible locations are automatically marked and his mobile phone, with all the stored numbers, that he can use to contact people and also be contacted by others too. Stored also is the number of Alfredo Castelli by the way, to be on the safe side, I think - who knows, where and when an author maybe urgently needed?
The rendered background graphics are almost opulent and invite to prowl and examine, however opposite to the character graphics they look more realistic and less comic-like. Some locations (screens) are clear reminiscences to Runaway and Broken Sword, others again are original and have no connection to other adventure games. I can only report of very interesting, funny dialogues and comments. The female characters don't have the gigantic lingerie sizes of heroines such as Druuna or Lula, but are not equipped sparingly too, just ... Italian style. Martin Mystere has an immediately noticeable own flair, thereby uses no trick-film-like graphics style such as Runaway for example, but shows its own light and soft-drawn expression. The unobstrusive background music contributes a lot of atmosphere. We can already feel during a scene change whether the story will continue easy-going or becomes exciting. The main music themes accompanying the cutscenes and main menu, are very dramatic and thrilling and at once mediate the invitation to take a seat, grab your popcorn and forget about the world outside.
Martin MystÚre mixes humor with suspense, is easily controllable, with an enthralling story and puzzles from the beginning. I am convinced that this Italian answer to Runaway does not only aim at the bull's eye but also will hit the adventure players' hearts (especially the female ones).
adventurearchiv - 05-04-05