Syberia: Machines that Die

Another day of little progress. I found one, and only one, previously-unnoticed hotspot. What I wouldn’t give right now for an in-game hotspot-highlighting feature, like the one in Jolly Rover (a game that, ironically, was easy enough to not need it). That one hotspot led into a chain of actions culminating in the acquisition of a “voice cylinder”, but I haven’t seen anything I could use to play it. So the search for hotspots resumes.

The really frustrating part is that I’m running out of things to do. Finding the voice cylinder was actually a bit of a relief in that regard: Aha, a new inventory item that I can try clicking on things! My inventory had actually been empty at that point. Syberia is the style of adventure game where inventory items usually have only one use, and that use absorbs them. Worse, the same applies to a lot of environmental hotspots: once you’ve successfully unlocked a door or wound up an automaton, it goes inert. Contrast this to, say, Myst. Superficially, it seems like the Valadilène section of Syberia should have a certain amount in common with Myst: they’re both about foggy environments dominated by fanciful contraptions. But Myst‘s contraptions were more fully realized as machines: you could fiddle with the controls multiple times, change settings in various ways, flip switches back to their original positions with attendant effects, etc. The puzzles there were all about figuring out how the machine operates so you could operate it correctly. As far as I’ve seen, the apparati in Syberia are mostly facades. They’re AGT-style lock-and-key puzzles that play a movie clip of a machine on successful use.

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