It astonishes me how many video games have been created since the days of DOS, or even Amiga. The most widely loved genre of video game throughout the 1990's was the adventure genre, of which LucasArt’s and Sierra were the kings. They provided that zing of quality and comedy that adventure games are loved for, as well as the difficulty hardcore gamers crave. Since the term freeware was established, many games have been made in the styles of various LucasArt’s and Sierra games, yet many still manage to be different, or innovative. Today we bring to you a game that is innovative and different, without relying on the well known gameplay elements surrounding good old fashioned adventure games. We present to you, from the creator of Missing, the detective spoof, Fedora Spade.
At one time he was the best in the force. Fedora Space was an unmatched detective with skills resembling that of Columbo, or such day-time murder dramas. But then he took the wrong case, leading through a series of events which changed his life, and sent him tumbling through the ranks into the “Special” Homicide Unit. Now all he gets are the cases that are thrown away. Cases too tough or too risky to be handled by the higher-ups. You will join him on a few of these cases as you take the role of detective Fedora Spade. Solve heartless crimes, interrogate prisoners, and stick your nose where it doesn’t belong, just like a proper gumshoe should.
Yes, I said earlier that this game series is quite different from the average adventure game. It has a completely custom engine, and completely custom gameplay elements. In this game, you traverse different locations, picking up evidence along the way. Once in a while, you will have to solve a few puzzles, sure. But there is also a new type of puzzle, the interrogation puzzle. During the course of your investigation, you will be required to use the evidence you have gathered to interrogate a suspect, or someone who is blatantly lying to your face. You wait for the questionable person to make a slip up, then you use the correct evidence on him to catch him in his lie. Unfortunately, these puzzles are not always as clear as they could be, but they provide the proper challenge, and they serve the purpose they were intended for. Spade also has access to a phone at all times, which is also handy in some situations. The characters are hilarious, and very well written. They look great, and their appearance fits their general personalities quite well. As you might guess, this game is also somewhat of a spoof. A good example of a similar game might be Phoenix Wright, who is also referenced in episode 2. Orchard-L, the creator, seems to have decided to go with the growing trend of episodic games. Each case Fedora Spade handles is available as a separate episode, and is downloadable off of the game’s main page. Personally, I think this is a good idea. It gives you time to breath in between chapters, and keeps you from burning out on the gameplay and humor too quickly.
The graphics in this game are a very old 16 bit style, but the pallette is used in interesting ways to make the background more realistic and more appealing. As I said earlier, the characters are very well drawn as well. They each have their own little looks and expressions, which are often humorous, and give the game a little zest as well. The music featured in Fedora Spade is jazzy and catchy, though a couple tracks didn’t quite match the areas to me. Such an example is the hotel and 12th Street in episode 2.
But I do have to say I enjoyed playing these games through, and I can’t wait until all of the episodes are complete, so I can enjoy them again and again. Orchard-L has a great idea here, and he should take as much advantage of it as he can. I give the Fedora Spade series a resounding 4.5. One word of advice: Play the episodes in order, as there is an overarching storyline hidden under each case. I can’t wait to see what the end will bring, but I hope it goes out with a bang.
Review by: Secret Fawful