Hitting the Stack again

I thought I’d continue with the point-and-click adventures, but this time do one that’s on the Stack proper. My first attempt was Jazz and Faust, a game that I’ve heard nothing good about, but picked up anyway when it hit the bargain bins, because decent games of its type were still kind of sparse on the ground even in 2002. I played it a bit back then, but got very stuck early on. I’ll have more to say about it if I ever get it running properly, but for now, it’s going onto my expanding sub-stack of games to try again if and when I get a Windows 98 machine working.

Some notes about it for my future self: On my main gaming machine, it installed without problems, but the FMV video sequences played very badly, essentially alternating between playing a brief bit of video without sound and playing sound while the video was either frozen or playing very slowly. The video are right there in the install directory in .bik format, and played without any hitches under VLC. (A lot of the other game assets are simply installed uncompressed to the hard drive, too. All the character textures, for example. This game could be very easily modded if anyone wanted to.) From what I’ve peeked at, it looks like the videos may be an important part of the game, so I don’t want to just ignore the problem. So I tried installing the game on a cast-off Windows 10 laptop that I recently obtained from a neighbor for cheap, and it plays the videos in-game just fine. I don’t know what the relevant difference is between the two machines. However, on both, the framerate in the game proper is low enough to make it unplayable. How it manages to run slower on a modern machine than it did on 2002 hardware, I don’t know. This is after installing a patch, which was necessary to keep the game from crashing.

Also, Windows 10 puts a window border around the game, even though it’s playing full-screen. It did the same for Kao. I don’t know why. Both games run at a rather low resolution by today’s standards, of course, but I don’t remember this happening before.

Anyway, after abandoning that, I picked another game of similar stature from the Stack: The Watchmaker, a very cheesy mystery about searching an opulent Austrian castle for a device that some cultists are planning to use to end the world by overloading the ley lines. This game was made by the same people as Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy, although the passage of years between games means that they’re now working in fully 3D-modeled environments that don’t look nearly as good as Nightlong‘s pixel art. The English localization (from Italian) is awkward, and isn’t helped by the voice acting, which sounds not so much like acting as just reciting words off a page without regard to their meaning or context. Still, unlike Nightlong, it runs on modern hardware and Windows 10 without any problems at all. At this point, I’ll take it.

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