Need recommendations for games similar to LucasArts titles
June 17, 2005 4:10 AM   Subscribe

Adventure Game Recommendations: I really miss playing games I could lose myself into for hours on end, and I would like to find some new games similar to those I enjoyed years ago. But I stopped playing a long while back so I have no idea what's been on the market since and how to look for such games now. I have always loved the LucasFilm/LucasArts titles but they seem to have stopped producing pretty point-click adventures after Grim Fandango. Other favorites were Windham Classics adventures like Below the Root or Alice in Wonderland, Cinemaware action-adventures like It Came from the Desert, The King of Chicago and Sinbad, and detective games like Killed Until Dead and Intrigue! Are there any comparable modern counterparts? I am not into RPGs or text MUDs or shooters. Please tell me there are still games out there involving great stories, detailed scenes, and good puzzle-play!

The only modern non-LucasArts adventure I know of is The Longest Journey. Are there more of this sort?

If there are no such new-ish games, are there ancient ones similar to the games mentioned above that I should try to hunt down?

Thanks, MeFi gamers!

(This question was triggered by nostalgic feelings after playing the underground fan-made Maniac Mansion remake and Zak McKracken sequel.)
posted by Lush to Computers & Internet (28 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Syberia was a fairly enjoyable game in that vein; & there’s a Syberia II too, although I haven’t played that.
posted by misteraitch at 4:25 AM on June 17, 2005


Off the top of my head, I can't think of many at all (after -sob- the Sam & Max sequel was canned) - there's the forthcoming Trace Memory for the Nintendo DS, and maybe Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon for the PS2, Xbox and PC. I've heard nothing but good impressions of the Japanese version of Trace Memory, but reviews of Broken Sword are a bit mixed. It'll be cheap now, though. One other thing that might be worth mentioning is Psychonauts - it's not really the sort of game you're looking for (more of a platform/adventure hybrid), but it's by Tim Schafer of Grim Fandango (and various other Lucasarts adventures) fame and has the same style of humour and characterisation, if you were a fan of that.

Ooh, one last thought - It's pretty old now and might have issues with newer versions of Windows, but the PC Blade Runner game was a fun mystery/puzzle-solver, if you can track it down.
posted by terpsichoria at 4:25 AM on June 17, 2005


the same style of humour and characterisation, if you were a fan of that

Of course, of course! I think it is the wit I miss the most - but in seeking recommendations, I would like to look at it more as a bonus than a requirement, else it would feel too much like asking for the moon...
posted by Lush at 4:40 AM on June 17, 2005


When I think great stories, details scenes, and puzzle play, I think Myst.
posted by geeky at 5:08 AM on June 17, 2005


The whole Myst franchise: Myst, Riven, Exile and Revelation. In my mind at least they are the definitive puzzle games, and sooo beautiful too.
posted by Lotto at 5:13 AM on June 17, 2005


Thanks a lot Lush.. I just spent the last 15 minutes playing "Out of this world" AKA "Another World", after trying out "Below the Root" from Home of the Underdogs. (Below the root is going to need a CPU slowdown, OotW worked fine, except for the fullscreen mode)
posted by Jack Karaoke at 5:21 AM on June 17, 2005


Did you play Douglas Adams Starship Titanic when it was out? You can pick it up for cheap used on Amazon.

Also, not an adventure game, but a funny (in a 3 Stooges kind of way) puzzle game that I really enjoyed was Neighbors from Hell.
posted by Otis at 5:38 AM on June 17, 2005


Below the Root is so damn cool.

Other companies worth checking out for these games:

Legend Entertainment (defunct):
Gateway Series
Death Gate (surprisingly good)
Mission Critical (awesome f'ing game)
Callahan's Crosstime Saloon

Origin (effectively defunct):
Bioforge

Access Software(?):
Tex Murphy Series (Under a Killing Moon, etc)

Most of these are a little off the beaten path and pretty dated, but fun.
posted by selfnoise at 5:41 AM on June 17, 2005


Blimey. Assloads. Point-and-click games I have known and loved include:

Old games:
You'll probably need SCUMMVM to play these on a modern computer - which can also run on a PocketPC, Palm, Mac etc.

Day of the Tentacle
Sam and Max
Beneath a Steel Sky (now available as a free download here)
Simon the Sorceror (plus sequel)
Broken Sword 1 & 2
Flight of the Amazon Queen (also available for free here)
All of the Monkey Islands
All of the Indianna Jones series
And lots of free ones listed here

You can find most of these on ebay for a couple of quid or *cough*p2p

Modern games:

Grim Fandango
Broken Sword 3
Syberia (and sequel)
Gabriel Knight (and sequels)

Sad to say, there aren't a lot of good modern point-and-clicks being produced anymore. The golden age was about 10 years ago.
posted by blag at 5:41 AM on June 17, 2005


you may want to take a look at Adventure Gamers.com. It seems to have a lot about what you're looking for.
posted by roue at 6:09 AM on June 17, 2005


Check out Ico if you have a PS2. It's a cool adventure/puzzle game, check out the reviews on the amazon link.
posted by knave at 6:12 AM on June 17, 2005


It isn't a new game, but some crazy folks are remaking some classic Sierra games.
posted by cmonkey at 6:19 AM on June 17, 2005


Also: If you haven't played it Gabriel Knight 2 is excellent. Some bad acting but I really liked the well-researched German setting.
posted by selfnoise at 6:27 AM on June 17, 2005


I loved Gabriel Knight! Also try Return to Monkey Island.
posted by ebeeb at 6:28 AM on June 17, 2005


"The Neverhood" - a claymation adventure with a cool story.
Hell, this one is worth it just for the music!
(People who own the soundtrack (long out of print) treat it like a holy relic :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 6:42 AM on June 17, 2005


This might not be your thing, but the classic (text) adventure game "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" has been tarted up with graphics and artwork for the items, locations, etc. This New! Improved! fully illustrated HHGTG can be downloaded here.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:47 AM on June 17, 2005


The Tex Murphy and Zork adventures were a good waste of a few (many) hours.
posted by sid at 8:31 AM on June 17, 2005


Any of these good for Macs? I also love the adveture games...
posted by klangklangston at 8:53 AM on June 17, 2005


klangklangston - there's a port of SCUMMVM for Macs which will let you play all of these games...
posted by blag at 9:21 AM on June 17, 2005


Telltale games is coming out with an adventure game based on Bone. Who knows.

The new Sam & Max, however, looks dead.
posted by rtimmel at 10:03 AM on June 17, 2005


There was a fun one called "Shadowgate" for Nintendo... it had quite a dark, creepy atmosphere, for a Nintendo game.
posted by vorfeed at 10:41 AM on June 17, 2005


Nobody has mentioned the old Legend of Kyrandia games. Am I the only one who loved those? I thought they were amazing.

It's been years and years since I've played them, but I have fond memories of an overly-amorous yeti in The Hand of Fate and hypnotized squirrels and a "fish cream" parlor in Malcolm's Revenge.
posted by adamk at 10:45 AM on June 17, 2005


Oh, crap, one other game (good luck finding it and getting it to run, though).

Ripley's Believe It Or Not: The Riddle of Master Lu.

Excellent game.
posted by selfnoise at 11:37 AM on June 17, 2005


A sequel to The Longest Journey is due in September, called Dreamfall.
posted by chrominance at 12:45 PM on June 17, 2005


There are very, very few adventure games of the old LucasArts type anymore. For me, Grim Fandango was the last of the bunch; Syberia didn't do anything for me. Painfully obvious and slow, no humour.

Also, there's the amazing The Last Express, designed by Jordan Mechner of Prince of Persia fame. It looks much better than the screenshot; it's essentially an interactive graphic novel, in the style of the French masters such as Tardi.

The Last Express is set in the Victorian age, back when trains were luxurious means of transport. As the game beings, you play a fugitive in hiding away on a train somewhere in France. The plot unfolds in real time, and everything (except cut scenes) is seen in the first perspective. This means that you have a very specific time limit, and being at the wrong place at the wrong time can destroy your chances of completing the game. Also, the game is an incredibly subtle and realistic experience -- the sound design is extremely realistic.

Imagine walking down the hallway (or corridor, whatever they call that thing where you walk on a train); you hear the constant noise of the train; muffled voices from compartments; suddenly a conductor enters at the far end, walks toward you, then goes "scuse moi, monsieur" as he squeezes past you. Enter the dining car and listen to background conversations. Everything is scripted, every bit of dialogue in the game contains potentially useful information.

The other oldies have been mentioned. In particular, don't miss Day of the Tentacle. The surreal humour is priceless.

Doctor Fred: Our only hope now is to turn off my Sludge-O-Matic™ machine, and prevent the toxic mutagen from entering the river!
Bernard: Isn't it a little late for that, Doctor?
Doctor Fred: Of course! That's why I'll have to do it... YESTERDAY! To the time machine!

posted by gentle at 4:23 PM on June 17, 2005


There's a game called indigo prophecy supposed to come out this year which sounds interesting.
posted by juv3nal at 4:31 PM on June 17, 2005


Wow, thank you all! This is a lot to work with.

I can't believe I missed the entire Myst series; the reviews are superlative. Though I have to admit, my main worry about 3D games is the tendency to focus more on being a totally immersive experience than on creative gameplay, such as having more details in objects but having less actual objects to play with, which could potentially lessen the exploration aspect. That said, Syberia, Gateway, Gabriel Knight, Callahan, Neverhood, and Tex Murphy do look promising. The rest, I shall hunt down and/or wait for. The Last Express sounds especially intriguing, and is the one I am most eager to try.

I never played Starship Titanic but if it's by Douglas Adams then I look forward to some absurdist humor in there. I never beat the Hitchiker's game, but it would be fun to re-try that with graphics in Flash. Speaking of Flash, that recommendation reminded me of some really nice point-click Flash adventures like Samorost, Treasure Box, Mystery of Time and Space, Arcane, and The Crimson Room and its ilk. Perhaps this is the alternative future of 2D graphical adventures?

Oh, and about AdventureGamers.com: that's actually where I first went (about a week ago) but I found it too broad and overwhelming outside of their fine feature of the Top 20 Adventure Games of All Time - of which LucasArts games hold 8 spots! (Yes, I would recommend LucasArts a thousandfold too to anyone who might not have played them yet.)

Thanks again, everyone.
posted by Lush at 5:49 AM on June 18, 2005


The Privateer Remake isn't an adventure game, well, it's a space adventure game and flight simulator, but it is a classic.
posted by illuminatus at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2005


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