It’s interesting to imagine sometimes what could possibly be inside some of the AGS developers’ minds when they’re starting to create games. Just look at META for instance, or even Grr! Bearly Sane. It’s not necessarily because of the game’s originality or innovativeness, but because of that special quirk called “personality.”
Which is what the first chapter of Principles of Evil has lots of.
Let’s start with the menus, or the interface. PoE1 still follows the time-honored Sierra-style menus, but the author chose to designate options through words (“Items,” “Save,” “Restore,” “Exit,” etc.) instead of nifty icons, which I think is pretty straightforward. Anyone that’s still confused with the controls should really get another game.
The artwork is amazing – the game’s backgrounds and characters were all quite drawn, and the colors were all pleasing to the eye. (I admit I first got fascinated by Rogi’s snotty looks :)) Some of the NPCs and the player character could certainly have used more in-between sketches when it comes to movement. Some actions result in the character slowly moving through “phases” of movement, much like flipping through a very rough cartoon storyboard. Try going into the butcher’s counter, for instance.
PoE’s puzzles consist mostly of the “give-X-object-to-Y-character” variety, which did help elicit some of the hilarious responses given by the game’s other characters. A lot of clues had been spread in the game, which made it quite easy to solve most of the puzzles, but there’s one that I wish had been hinted further in the game. How was I to know that butcher was hooked on alcohol? And that bottle was for fermenting?
The background music was decent enough to provide an overall “dreamy” feel to the game, but there are times when the tempo becomes rather inconsistent to the task/event at hand. Just talking to a foul-mouthed dentist, for example, elicits a different mood of music compared to, say, the baker kid, or even the hairstylist. I found this a bit strange, but not distracting enough so I let it go and continued with the game.
I was hoping the entire time I’d been playing PoE1 that it would reveal further why Rogi insisted to meet Babayaga, the “most evilest (sic) of witches,” and be evil herself, but from the looks of it, I may have to wait for the next chapter.
If you ever need a good Halloween game for kids, or if you’re in a “Girls-Just-Wanna-Have-Fun” mood, check out Principles of Evil: Volume 1. More experienced adventure players might want to opt for something darker and longer.