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Adam's Venture 2

Score: 70%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Developer: Vertigo Digital Entertainment
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Adam's Venture: Episode 2: Solomon's Secret continues his odd adventure after apparently escaping some major trouble in the Garden of Eden. Having not had the opportunity to play the first episode, I'm not sure what shenanigans Adam and his cohort, Evelyn got into, but upon making it back to civilization, they apparently made some people pretty mad. More on that later though.

Being driven by the Unreal Engine, it's no wonder the game looks as good as it does. The environments are large and filled with details like dusty streets in Jerusalem or firelight when underground, and of course, the characters themselves look great and have a lot of detail. What I wasn't too happy about was the game's animation. While general movement was fine, whenever an in-game cut-scene occurred that focused on the various characters talking to each other, the animation seemed jerky and, well, over-acted with body language that is so exaggerated to the point of awkwardness.

Solomon's Secret has some minor issues with sound as well. Nothing technical like audio clips not playing correctly or anything like that, just more of a lack of polish. Issues like overacting in the vocals department clashing with voices that just don't seem right for the characters and dialogue that seems to stiff just brings down the overall feel of the game.


Adam's Venture: Episode 2: Solomon's Secret fits very well into the adventure genre, but it has a very different feel than most that belong to this gameplay style. While a lot of that has to do with the odd control decisions, a good bit of it also comes from the puzzles themselves.

The episodes starts off with Adam and Evelyn being held prisoners on an airstrip. The first task is to get out of the prison and find a way to escape. This first, seemingly simple act ends up feeling so drastically different than most adventure titles that it seriously threw me off for a long while, and unfortunately, it sets a less than good trend that ended up leaving a bad taste in my mouth for most of the game.

Where most games of this genre will have an inventory system that lets you collect various objects from around the locations and use them where you feel they might be applicable, Adam's Venture simplifies the system by using key events to know if you should progress. Basically, if you need a rope, instead of you having to look around for a rope, putting it in your inventory and then trying the rope on the object you need, you merely need to recognize that you need a rope, interact with it when you find it and return to that original location and the needed rope is automatically put in play.

While I can understand the idea behind simplifying the system, it just makes the game feel a lot more linear than most adventure titles. Sure, a lot of games in this genre are linear and you can't really make progress until you solve some big problem ahead of you. But typically, the one big problem is comprised of several smaller ones that can be resolved in any order. In Solomon's Secret, you pretty much always only have one single objective in front of you and, for the most part, the solution is super easy to figure out.

The second issue I have with the game involves where Adam 's Venture decides to place its puzzles and the fact that they typically don't fit with the story being presented. For instance, in one location, you need a crate so you can get onto a higher area so that you can move some blocks around and open a doorway. On that same screen, there is a door with a complicated lock system, and once you open it up, you have your crate. While the puzzle itself was interesting, the fact that it was there seemed ridiculous. Why is whoever put this door in place really going through all that trouble to guard a crate?

Similarly, you will encounter a door that is somehow being held closed thanks to the hydrodynamic power of the water running through a series of troughs. These same troughs are keeping the town's water from getting to the villagers. Release the waters and you not only open the door, but you also return the water to the town. Once again, this is just a ridiculous concept that feels like it was thrown in there purely to have a puzzle and it just doesn't fit with the setup of the story, especially since the company who wants the door locked could have found much better ways of doing so.

Situations like these are riddled throughout Solomon's Secret and pretty much any adventure-gamer worth his or her salt would find these puzzles both annoying and distracting from the story that is being played out.


Once you get into the right mindset for Adam's Venture: Episode 2: Solomon's Secret, the puzzles become really straightforward. Despite the fact that a lot of the obstacles thrown in your way don't really make sense, once you know what needs to be done or picked up, you pretty much know where to go.

Well, on second thought, that isn't entirely true. Most cases will leave you knowing what you need to do, but there are quite a few times when you need some item to solve the problem and it is placed in some of the most illogical locations. One such object was actually hidden in a crawl space under a set of stairs you come down. The biggest problem here was realizing that you could actually go under the stairs and find what you need. Why this item is there and how it could have possibly gotten there is beyond me, but that's what you have to do.

Game Mechanics:

Personally, the aspect of Adam's Venture: Episode 2: Solomon's Secret that took the most getting used to was its controls. Throughout this review, I've struggled to keep from calling Adam's Venture a "point and click" adventure, and that's because it isn't; it is all keyboard based, no mouse. I don't know if this is a result of using the Unreal Engine to power an adventure title (something I feel is to blame for the lack of an inventory system) or what, but you run around and interact with objects all from the keyboard.

What resulted was a game that simply didn't feel right from beginning to end. If the game was a third-person shooter or other keyboard-heavy genre things might be different, but even then, the lack of mouse input would feel wrong. As it was, only being able to pick up objects by walking to them and clicking the interact button and then doing so with whatever you wanted to use it on just doesn't feel right. Again, I'm not sure if the engine the game was developed on limited these possibilities (though I doubt it since I've seen some crazy things on the Unreal Engine), or if early decisions in the design process resulted in the necessity to go this route. For instance, if the developers decided they couldn't handle mouse input, then they threw out the inventory system, which simply wouldn't work well without a pointer.

Overall, the game's general feel just isn't right and making a keyboard-only game for a genre that is primarily mouse-based doesn't seem to help Adam's Venture much. In the end, this game is better left alone, and it should definitely not be played if you haven't tried out the first one already.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7, Intel Pentium 2.0 GHz or equivalent AMD, 512 MB RAM, Nvidia 6200+ or ATI R520+ Graphics Card, 600 MB HD Space, DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card, Mouse, Keyboard, Sound Speakers

Test System:

Windows 7 Ultimate, Intel i7 X980 3.33GHz, 12 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c

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