Yayınlanma: 5 Mart
I constantly find myself torn by games like Gemini Rue; on the one hand, they exude aesthetic and narrative charm, with lovingly crafted characters, worlds, and stories, which are always the main reason I and many others are drawn to them, but on the other hand they are almost always a desperately frustrating gaming experience, bogged down by puzzles that are long, disjointed, and (in many cases) narratively inappropriate.
The latter issue is what bugs me the most, and what makes playing these games so frustrating. For example, there is one particular puzzle where you need to call a guy using your communicator and try to get some information out of him. If you don’t choose the specifically correct dialogue options when speaking to him, he hangs up. This is quite believable and is probably what an actual human would do. Of course, this game being what it is, you can just call him again and again and again and try a different set of dialogue options each time, and every single time he responds as though you’re speaking to him for the first time. It doesn’t matter how many times you call him – even on the fifth call, he responds as though you’ve not just spoke to him four times previously using ever so slightly different variations
on your script. If this were an actual person speaking to another human being, calling the person again and trying the same script with tiny variations would get you laughed at and hung up on immediately.
The above kind of puzzle is narratively inappropriate because it is just not how a human being would behave at all. The playing experience stops being a nicely flowing story of which you, the gamer, are an integral part, and becomes an arbitrary clicking exercise, jarring you out of the narrative. The above puzzle is also guilty of another puzzle design sin: it seems to exist solely to pad out the game. It isn’t hard, don’t require much thought, and just involves trying different combinations over and over again, wasting a lot of time in the process. I wish I could say this was the only example of this, but it sadly isn’t.
Many of the puzzles in Gemini Rue aren’t game ruining, and they aren’t completely nonsensical (unlike other infamous examples from this genre: the rubber ducky puzzle in The Longest Journey, anyone?) but they are generally quite wonky and boring. At one point you have to find a Carbon Ray Stabilizer to fix your lockpicks (why a Carbon Ray Stabilizer, I have no idea). Rather than buying it from a vendor or asking someone where to find one, you have to search around an abandoned building with some crates hidden towards the back. It’s not even easy to get to the crates – you have to get someone to help you. You have to see the crates when exploring, think “hang on, they must be really important” not “they’re just some old crates at the back of an abandoned room” and then go out of your way to work out how to get to them. Lo and behold, there’s one in the crates. Why is it there? I have no idea. I was just aimlessly exploring because I had no idea what to do next and just so happened to stumble on the solution. That’s not a satisfying solution to the problem, and it makes absolutely no narrative sense.
The strange thing is that I often feel like I’m crazy for feeling this way; support for old-school point and click games seems overwhelming, and any critical opinions seem to be drowned in a sea of nostalgic rage. I seriously want to love games like this, I really do, but their puzzles make them a gargantuanly frustrating experience. If you’re willing to have a walkthrough in one hand at all times and you’re willing to suspend your disbelief through some poorly designed puzzles, then I would probably recommend this. Unfortunately, I felt frustrated more than I felt enjoyment, which is not something I want to experience in a game.