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Adventure game on the Orient Express
The Last Express takes places only a few days before the start of the First World War and the game's original gimmick is simulating the passage of time more realistically than most adventure games. However, neither the sappy back story nor the clashing styles of the backgrounds compared to that of the characters manage to keep the game afloat, in spite of the relatively mature storytelling. The art nouveau feel of the character drawings was achieved, very interestingly, though rotoscoping and then digitally turned into drawings, which were then colored by hand. Thus, the game had a very particular look to it, but again, it takes more than that to deliver a good adventure, which The Last Express doesn't really do. There are elements of action a la Indiana Jones
in the game, though more mature, but they translate poorly into the stiff puzzle mechanics that the game utilizes. Plus, the real time mechanic gimmick, while indeed offering a sense of urgency to the game, ultimately just feels alien and undesirable in an adventure. However, Mechner, the main game designer released a version of the game for iOS early in 2012, so, if you still want to try it, maybe the iPad version is more playable, due to the direct touch interface. On the PC it's quite broken, technically, while the story is just not that enticing.
Just Simply Disappointing
How many games are out there that actually takes place on the well known Orient Express? Beside the Murder on the Orient Express, The Last Express is the second one that I'm aware off. Developed by Smoking Car Productions, this game attempted to simulated real life and deliver a non-linear story, leaving the player to decide which routes to take and in what order. But is the game good? In terms of gameplay, I'd say that the game is decent and the sound department did a great job, however I didn't find the story to be engaging enough the graphics don't really impress, especially the animation the developers decided to implement in the game. The story of the game follows Robert Carth, an American doctor who's on the run from the French who suspect him for the murder of an Irish police officer. In order to get away from these troubles, he boards the Orient Express via a motorcycle. And from there, the game begins. The game is a mix of point-and-click and survival elements. This might create tension because some mistakes might end your journey. This is good, because it gives the player enough determination to continue playing the game. However, the game suffers from some flaws that it made shut off the game. First of all, the animation feels lazy. They tried to do some sort of static animation, but that kind of thing is unappealing for a video game. Another thing is that the game utilizes rotorscope movement, which is fine with me, but the way you might make you feel sick. The cartoonish graphics look quite good, but it doesn't help that the animation is terrible. I've found the voice acting and soundtrack to be good, but that's not saying much. Overall, The Last Express only had the promise of a great adventure game, but sadly it was just a disappointment and all I can say is that you're better off with the other Orient Express game.