by Howie Howard
previewed on PC
A lifetime loser
The Evil Days of Luckless John is the new action adventure by Czech developer Centauri Productions. The game however, really isn’t an action adventure game in the truest sense of the word. It is in fact a genre-blender that not only has the brain teasing puzzles contained in traditional adventure games, but also contains fighting and shooter elements. If you are the type of gamer that enjoys shooting everything that moves while searching for answers to puzzles, then this one just might be for you. Throw in a lot of NPC interaction, maze crawls and the never-ending search for long lost treasure and you can be assured of many hours of fun in this Akella produced title.
The game takes place in the gangster infested era of 1930’s Chicago. It is a gritty world where the mob will go to any length to ensure they retain control of the cities various forms of vice. This is where our main character, Luckless John comes into the picture. John is a lifetime loser. In fact he is so down on his luck that as the game starts, we see John wandering the streets on the wrong side of town in a very well done opening video. John, because of his continuing string of bad luck is homeless and he owns nothing except the soiled clothes on his back. However, John’s luck is about to change, or is it? As the opening scenes wind down we find out that John’s recently deceased uncle has left a will with John named as the sole heir. Just what could John’s prize be? Well, it’s a small casino located on the outskirts of town. Of course the mob has its eye on this gambling establishment and this is the reason for John’s continuing streak of bad luck. You take control of John and it will be your assignment to change his luck from bad to good.
As you journey through this colorful and stylish cartoon 3D environment you need to search for items that can be of help in your quest to save the casino from mob control. There are a bevy of puzzles and mazes that start out on the easy side and progress into being real brainteasers. Along the way you can expect your trigger finger to get a workout mainly because of the many gangsters bent on stopping you in your tracks. The main protagonists in this open-ended adventure are two inept yet fearless gangsters named Soft and Rock. They go to great lengths to end John’s career as a casino owner. In fact, as the opening video winds down you find yourself thrown in jail on trumped up charges, courtesy of our friendly neighborhood mob controlled sheriff. The game then starts with the player attempting to find items that are needed to break out of jail.
Sound comes from prohibition-era Chicago with wonderfully jazzy Big Band music playing in the background. Everything fits in perfectly and the sights and sounds are reminiscent of a hard-edged detective film from the 1930’s. The game controls are standard fare of mouse and keyboard or a combination of both. However, the keyboard is best used for the fighting and action sequences and the mouse for clicking on screen prompts and other less demanding tasks such as conversing with NPCs.
The game world is big with more than 30 different locations so there is more than enough to do and see. Very real looking locations from a rural farm, to a cemetery and even a factory and museum are featured for your gaming pleasure. Luckless John can be found interacting with over 26 different NPC characters and a dozen or so animals throughout the game. He must become proficient in his movement and manipulation of various items during his travels or else face continuing life as a loser. Of course we wouldn’t want that to happen!
Akella originally named this title “Raiders of the Lost Casino”. Thankfully they scrapped that unoriginal name for the more aptly titled Evil Days of Luckless John. This exciting looking PC only game is scheduled for release during the 4th quarter of 2007.
I must say that I can’t wait to get my hands on this fast paced action adventure game. Taking a character up from being a loser in life to being a productive member of society certainly is my cup of tea. Now all I have to do is inherit my very own casino then all will be right in my little world. Cheers!