~THE LONGEST JOURNEY~
After Titanic, I couldnt recall any good adventure games that i played till I encountered, what i could call the best adventure game I ever played so far in my life. It wasn’t till 4 years later after Titanic in 2000, when The Longest Journey debuted and revived the dying adventure genre. To describe in words this phenomenal title would be an understatement and wouldnt do this adventure game justice.
I came across this game by chance actually. I remembered buying one of the PC game magazine during that time and it came with a CD packed with demos of various games. In that CD contained a demo of The Longest Journey. It featured a mini chapter in which you get to play the game, yet a chapter that, strangely, did not reveal any spoilers to the game itself. So you get to have a feel of the game without knowing the plot in detail. It was at that moment when i finished playing the demo did i realised that this has to be the greatest adventure game I’ve ever played. Within the hour of finishing the demo, i knew this gotta be it. It was that good.
I bought the game soon after. For the first time, the game was divided into 4 discs, a huge game during that period for an adventure game that i’ve ever encountered.
I dunno how to begin describing the greatness of this game, but i remembered i finished it in a week. Though it was very lengthy, i was so absorbed in almost all the elements of the game that i devoured everything in such a short span of time.
The story begins with April Ryan, a poor art student in a distant future trying to make ends meet by balancing work and school. You are April and you control that character. Soon you encounter strange prophetic dreams which was soon reinforced when you encountered a strange man who foretold the realness of the dreams. The man told her that the fate of not one, but two worlds rests in April Ryan. Both worlds are in the bring of collapse and it is up to April Ryan to accept her destiny to save them. Stark, the world of technology and order where she resides, and Arcadia, the world of magic and chaos where the history of both worlds resides. The plot involved April Ryan running to and from both worlds of stark differences, find out the root of the problem and its history shared by the two worlds to find a way to restore the balance of both worlds.
This adventure game exceeded all my expections. Visually it was the most stunning game ever played. Although by that time it was quite dated, especially using 3D characters on 2D backgrounds, the backgrounds was nonetheless true pieces of art. Although the background and scenery are static, it was incredibly detailed. If there is an artbook featuring all the 2d backgrounds in the game, i would definitely buy it. Just look at the screenshots and you will realise how different and detailed this game is compared to other adventure games.
This game also features full voice acting which ultimately gave rise to the sheer number of discs required to fit this game. Thousands of dialogues and a platoon of characters brought to life with voice acting, each unique, organic and believable. The little slang and different pronunciations in the dialogues were clearly articulated, making each character extremely unique and believable. This game has the best voice acting ever.
I can almost remember all the characters in the game till today because they are so realistic and they truly left a lasting impression on you no matter how brief thier appearances may be. April, Zack, Crow, the minstrum, Flipper, Lady Alvane, Adrian, Brian Westhouse and many many more!
Storywise, it was the most original and most epic story i ever encountered and it was the first adventure game that i played on my own and played it 3 times in a row back to back. Again, it was that good and i really like the bitter-sweet ending. It nearly made me cry when i first finished the game, because for a moment you feel for the character and all the challenges she encountered has finally come to an end.
This game was also the first game in the adventure genre that ive played with a “mature” rating. With the “M” rating, the game does not contain sex, or violence, but rather the language. For the first time, i heard “fuck” being used and used in numerous occasions by a few characters. I was quite shocked when i first heard it in a video game. I couldnt believe my ears for a time that im actually hearing swear words in it. But it was necessary. The developers actually went the extra mile to make these kinds of dialogue so as to bring out the best in the characters being portrayed. I can still remember one particular line to this day. “You are gonna be so fucking sorry you’ve ever fucked with me April fucking Ryan.” All i can say was WHAO! That was some heavy stuff!