by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
You think of games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted and films like Indiana Jones as being the staples of the "Lost World" genre, but they were all inspired by the same thing. In the late nineteenth century, writer H. Rider Haggard created adventurer Allan Quartermain for a long series of books about an English professional big game hunter who would become the original adventurer that has inspired some of the world’s most recognizable entertainment franchises. So why isn`t there a game about him? In Deadfall Adventures you will be taking control of Quartermain’s great grandson.
Unlike other games in the action adventure genre, you will be seeing the action from a first person perspective, as you travel the world in your ancestor’s footsteps, fighting enemies and searching for treasure. This switch might be a change of pace for veterans of the genre, but other than that they will feel right at home.
A sense of adventure
Set in the 1940s, you take part in a suitably globetrotting campaign ranging from Egypt, to the Arctic and the South American rainforest. You will find many dangers along the way, both natural and supernatural, and you will come up against the ever present threat of Nazi soldiers. The first person perspective allows the developers to create a more combat focused game, but there will be puzzles to solve to break up the action and give a greater sense of adventure. To make Deadfall a pleasurable experience to actioners and puzzlers alike, the difficulty screen that comes up before you start playing has separate bars for combat and puzzles, meaning if you would prefer a more shooty experience you can make the puzzles nice and easy, or vice versa.
The game plays host to a veritable arsenal of authentic weapons from the time period that range from top-loading pistols to machineguns and shotguns. You will be able to hurl grenades and bundles of dynamite at your enemies, but – like with guns - they will of course return the favour. Explosives can be used to blow open walls, unlocking new paths or inaccessible rooms.
Beyond shooting, combat will often involve utilising hidden traps in the world to your advantage. Pressure sensitive plates can be shot at to trigger bursts of flame or flights of arrows on those in the vicinity. Large jars can be broken, unleashing a swarm of insects which will attack anything moving around them. You will have to be careful that your plans don`t backfire though, as it is easy to become mixed up among the fire yourself. The insects will attack the closest target, friend or foe, so you don`t want to be around when they`re angry.
Tools of the Raid
The more dangerous traps will be guarding precious treasure. You can skip them if you like, but the treasure is used for upgrading your stats, as well as looking nice. Being the great grandson of Allan Quartermain has its benefits, as he has passed down a number of trinkets to you. A compass which doesn’t point north and appears to swing around all over the place is not actually broken - it in fact points towards the nearest bundle of treasure. You also have possession of his notebook, with notes from when he visited the places you are now traversing. This acts as the game`s hint system if you get stuck. Additional help comes from one of your sidekicks if you go too long without progressing. One of those sidekicks is - unsurprisingly - your love interest who starts off cold towards you but warms over time.
Your final usable item is a flashlight, which turns out to be a lot more useful than simply illuminating the darkness. Puzzles range from hitting switches in the right order to sliding picture puzzles, but there are also light based challenges where your flashlight comes into play. It is used for combat too, but not in the way you might expect. Raiding tombs might be good for finding treasure, but you also run the risk of waking up whatever lies within. Undead creatures like mummies will awaken and start attacking. This can be used to your advantage if they start moving towards an enemy soldier, but for the most part you will want to deal with them quickly. They won`t take much damage from your guns, but shining your light on them will make them suddenly vulnerable, in an unexpected Alan Wake-esque gameplay mechanic.
Deadfall Adventure’s environments are lively and varied. A generous amount of detail is being put into the ancient places you’ll be exploring and it seems like the game will offer a good mix of fast paced shooting and less energetic puzzle solving. There is no co-operative story mode, but there will be a Horde-like mode where you will face off against waves of enemies. Additionally there will be all the usual multiplayer modes like team deathmatch and a variant on capture the flag. If all of these pieces fall into place, Deadfall Adventures could well turn out to be the next great Lost World game.