by Marjolein Verheij
reviewed on PC
A man's urge to do some gardening
Adam's Venture: The Search for the Lost Garden is the latest game of Dutch based Vertigo Games. In this first standalone episode of the Adam's Venture series you are introduced to young adventurer Adam during his search for the lost Gardens of Eden. He discovers that the fabled garden is said to be located at the intersection of four rivers. The names of these rivers he finds in a scroll excavated in an old Templar church in France.
Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, Euphrates; all mentioned in the second chapter of the Biblical Book of Genesis as rivers issuing out of the Garden of Eden.
After his discovery, Adam convinces a large company, called Clairvaux Inc. to finance his expedition to search for Eden. And so he sets out, accompanied by his girlfriend Evelyn, his faithful dog and Professor Jacques Saint-Omair, an employee of Clairvaux Corporation.
This is where you take control of Adam. Just moments after getting off the plane you discover that the portal to paradise on earth has been closed and that the seven pieces of the opening mechanism are missing. You must try to find a way through an extended cave system to get the pieces back. Blasting your way into the caves you start your search, alone, keeping radio contact with Evelyn.
The story is Christian in nature but subtle enough to not become annoying. Advertised as "non violent" the game combines classic puzzling with action oriented gameplay in this adventure game. To progress you have to solve a variety of puzzles. There are puzzle pillars where you have to twist 3 pieces to make the text on them form a sentence. Many of these are Bible texts like "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." This one points you to the tunnel with the word "Love" above it. Picking the "Faith" or "Hope" tunnel ends in your death.
There are more puzzles besides the pillars, some involving fire (you need your torch for those), finding items to unlock entrances and pushing buttons to open gates. All solutions result in some kind of action that gives you the opportunity to continue. Unfortunately most of these puzzles are so easy to piece together that you are hardly stopped in your progress. They do however combine well with the rest of the easy going gameplay.
Adam's Venture is played in third person which means that the camera changes perspective when you move around and reach certain points. This is something to get used to because when you are moving forward using the up arrow and the view changes you could end up walking back where you came from. That's right, the up arrow. Controls are easy, only using the keyboard in the PC version. Crawling, running, jumping and shimmying across crumbling ledges all use only 1 extra key besides the arrow keys. Jumping can be a bit tedious because of the changing camera views, but overall the controls make sure you go where you want to go.
In the first part of the game all controls are explained so it doesn't take long to learn how to duck, run and use items. The game doesn't use an inventory, so no ammunition (there are no weapons) or health bar is displayed on your screen. You can die however. When falling off ledges or ravines you are moved back to the latest checkpoint to try again. And again, and again.
Give me lip
The graphics look well and the effects used are impressive. The waterfalls and the caves themselves are nice. There is plenty of variety in the missions, or cases, ranging from plants, torches, crystals, lighting and even some wildlife in the form of rats and fish.
The main character Adam is fully lip-synched and the animations are well done. Little details like Adam taking off his hat when crawling add nice touches not often seen in adventures. Vertigo Games used their contacts at Coded Illusions for the voice actors. They picked the right people as the voices fit the characters perfectly. The radio contact between Adam and Evelyn and the Professor adds a healthy doze of amusement with their witty comments and jokes. Best of all is the music though. It sets the atmosphere perfectly. Mysterious but pleasant to listen too.
On a rainy day
All in all Adam's Venture: The Search for the Lost Garden is a entertaining puzzle adventure for young and old. After getting used to the controls and understanding how the puzzles work, exploring the caves becomes a lot of fun. It's a shame those puzzles aren't always that challenging, but the fantastic music and the humor make it a great game to spend some time with on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Fantastic music and humor
The puzzles aren't always challenging