Well folks, I’ve got some good news and some bad… the bad news is that since we’re going alphabetically we are starting off this journey with Adam’s Venture and it is a trilogy so buckle in for two more of these. The good news is the game isn’t actually terrible. Was it good enough to win me over with it’s Judeo-Christian values? Probably not…
Game: Adam’s Venture Episode 1: The Search for the Lost Garden
Developer: Vertigo Digital Entertainment
Release: June 2009
If you liked: Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, Uncharted but would prefer they be way less cool
So I’m pretty sure I picked up the set of all 3 of these games for $1.25 on one of the Steam daily sales. Not too bad a price for any game no matter how terrible it was. I had never heard of this series prior to seeing it’s listing on Steam and had no real idea what the game was about. I was drawn to it’s 1930’s Indiana Jones like setting and if I’m being really honest with myself will probably buy ANY adventure game if it gets cheap enough. What I DIDN’T know going into this game is that it’s actually heavily based on Christian teachings. That’s right folks… this is a BIBLE GAME!
There’s not really a whole lot going on in this game. You play as Adam Venture, a young explorer sent to open the gates to the Garden of Eden. What follows is about an hour and half romp through an empty cave where you solve puzzles based on scripture and ancient sudoku to gather pieces of a puzzle about God and his 7 day work week. Adam is of course a super low rent mish-mash of Indiana Jones and Nathan Drake, his assistant Evelyn (get it?!) doesn’t even bother to be anything less than a carbon copy of Elena from Uncharted. Don’t worry though, there are only three characters in the game and two of them are offscreen for 95% of it. The voice acting in the game is a little over the top but nothing terrible, at worst it could be described as hammy and at best simply serviceable.
The gameplay fares much better though. I think when I bought this I thought it’d be some kind of 3D point and click game much like what TellTale specializes in, but it’s really more of a poor mans Uncharted or Tomb Raider. You have full control of Adam as he runs around the environments and jumps and climbs on things. The light platforming is simply a means to travel to the next locked door where you’ll be tasked with solving a puzzle. The puzzles really come in two flavors: Ancient Sudoku and a color matching game. None of them are hard or even particularly interesting. The hardest puzzle in the game is actually the first one where you have to mix together compounds to create dynamite but the mixing device is a convoluted mess and it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out I even needed to mix the dynamite in the first place. After that I didn’t spend more that 1 minute on any of the subsequent puzzles or platforming. While the character models are adequate they have very stiff and jerky movement and I was subjected to many glitches while moving around causing Adam to levitate and teleport around a bit. I suppose the power of God really did move him. The environments in the game are probably the highlight. Some of the rooms such as the glowing crystal room and the entrance hall in front of the gate to Eden actually look really great, with some nice lighting and particle effects on display.
The biggest problem with this game is how little is actually going on with it. There are literally no enemies in the game whatsoever. There is a black cloud that follows you around locking doors and being a general inconvenience but nothing physical ever attacks you. The cloud itself is hilariously held back by iron bar doors. I would think an evil Satan cloud could simply pass through the bars… but nah it’s got better things to do I guess. I thought they might go the giant spiders route as there are a few spiderwebs that block your path and need to be burned away but nothing ever comes of it. I suppose it would be a little weird having a game supposedly based around Christian beliefs and then filling it with Adam killing guys, but c’mon I’ve studied the crusades, Christians LOVE killing people. All this game really had to do was throw in a couple of Nazis here and there and they’d have a perfectly serviceable bite sized adventure that was interesting and compelling. Without it there’s really no villain and no particular reason to be doing anything in the game. You just sort of press forward because there’s no other way to go and when it’s all said and done Adam and Evelyn just leave and fly away.
Because it’s a game made by a small Dutch developer based on Christian scripture and teachings I had exceptionally low expectations for this game. I’m happy to say I was proven wrong. The gameplay is adequate and the length is nice and short so you can finish each episode in one sitting. While I’m disappointed there wasn’t MORE to the game story or action-wise, they’ve got two other episodes to make things up. Maybe the Nazis will show up in the next one or maybe we’ll be fighting Satan himself by the end of Episode 3! The game is competently made and nothing stands out as atrocious but overall this probably isn’t something I’ll come back to replay in the future. While it’s a fine game I wouldn’t particularly recommend it either, unless you desperately need a game to play and Grandma is monitoring your every move. You’re much better off just watching Indiana Jones again.
And that’s all for the very first game on my free form steam exploration. Tune in next time when we play the further adventures of Adam Venture!