Old school is back and brings with it the good and the bad.
When I was a kid, I was usually drawn to action-based games and RPGs. I never really got into many adventure games like Maniac Mansion or Monkey Island. I did however pick up Déjà vu 1 and 2 on the Game Boy Color for whatever reason, and actually became addicted to the old school feel of the point and click games. Now, I can easily play them, but don’t have near as much nostalgia for them as others may. I was on that cusp of point and click adventure games taking a downfall in sales. They were there, but I didn’t really look at much. Cut to today and 8-bit Adventure Anthology has brought three classic point and click adventure games to the modern consoles and PC, and for the most part, they are perfect ports of said games.
Platforms: PC, XB1, PS4
Price I’d pay: $7.99
The games in question are Uninvited, Shadowgate, and my personal favorite Déjà vu. I had never played the first two games, but was actually excited to try them out. I had gravitated towards Déjà vu due to its setting – a noir 1940’s detective story full of mystery, gangsters, and back alleys. Shadowgate has players take on the roll of a destined hero infiltrating a dark lord’s castle in order to stop them from gathering power and destroying the world. Finally, Uninvited takes the spooky route and has players playing as a motorist who has crashed their car and is looking for their sister. They stumble into a giant house looking for help. Just so happens, the house is haunted.
As far as the gameplay goes, it is most certainly an old school point and click game. The window usually has the player’s current view that can be interacted with using menu commands like “use” “talk” and “take”. Finding the right combination is the key to making it past certain obstacles. There are some issues here, especially for anyone not familiar with this style of game. There is no hand holding here. Players are dropped into these worlds and are told to go. That’s it. Knowing what to do and where to look is all up to the player’s investigation skills, and some things can get pretty cryptic relatively soon into the games.
On top of that, these are trial and error games. There are plenty of “wrong turn” places and situations that result in an instant death. For example, early on in Shadowgate, I found a book. When I “take” the book, a trap door opens up and I fall to my death, but if I “open” the book, I find a key that I need inside. I then “take” the key and leave the book and I’m just fine. The problem is, there is no way to know any of this unless I first try and die. It was a way to extend the length of the games back in the day, and I get it. But it doesn’t translate very well into modern day.
The games are well done, and still look and sound nice. Sure they’re 8-bit, but they offer up some catchy tunes and some pretty nice 8-bit visuals. I would say this is a very good port of the games that convey how they were back in the late 80’s.
It really all boils down to if you have nostalgia for these games or have a genuine interest in checking out the early days of point and click adventure games. Either way, you get three full games that are still fun in some instances even if some of the mechanics don’t hold up. Even then, there’s plenty of walkthroughs that have been made throughout the years that can help if you’re stuck. And all of this for the low price of eight bucks. If you have any interest at all, give this collection a shot.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.