Fahrenheit (Project Indigo)

Mopping up the blood…

I got my paws on the uncensored version of Atari’s Project Indigo. It’s an adventure/mystery game which was released in Europe under the name Fahrenheit. From what I heard it has been cut to pieces by US censors so much that it only vaguely resembles the original game. They actually even changed the name.

I can’t stand censorship. But in the light of Hot Coffee, it is unlikely that anything is going to change on this front. If anything, we will see the games butchered even more. So I decided to bypass the thought police and go straight to the source. The original game is about 2GB heavier than the American release, but that’s probably because it contains voice tracks in French, German and Italian.

The story is actually really interesting. Your initial character manages to kill a guy in a bathroom of a small diner in some kind of zombie-like trance. Once the guy is dead, he regains consciousness and freaks out. Now you have a dead guy on the floor, and a cop drinking coffee at the counter. What do you do? I started by hiding the knife, dragging the body into a stool and wiping blood from the floor. When I was leaving the bathroom I passed the cop in the door! So I ended up running out of the diner like a madman without paying the bill (which resulted in the waitress remembering my face).

However I’m pretty sure I could skip the cleanup, leave the bathroom, pay at the counter and leave the diner in the same amount of time. I’m not sure if this would change anything, but it is really cool to have that degree of freedom in a game 🙂

In fact there are some other really cool ideas in this game. For example, in act 2 you take control of the detective who was sent to investigate the crime scene in the diner. So you get to play as characters on both sides – which makes the game a little like watching a movie.

Furthermore they have a mental well being counter which drops whenever you encounter some scary or depressing shit, and goes up when you do cool stuff (like find clues pertaining to the case, drink coffee or have sex with your girlfriend). I’m not sure what happens when that counter falls all the way down, because I didn’t get there yet.

One thing that I don’t like about this game are the controls – they are funky. Most of actions are implemented via mouse gestures. So to open the door you have to walk up to the door, press lmb and then shake the mouse up and down. For the most part this is ok, but if you need to do something really quick it is easy to mess up.

All the dialogs in the game are timed, so you only have limited time to pick what do you want to say. When you are pressed for time, the difference between up-down gesture and down-up gesture is so small that you can easily mess up and say the wrong thing by mistake. That happened to me when I was talking to a bum in the alley. I made the wrong gesture and instead of sweet talking him to give me a clue, Ms. inspector gave the guy some patronizing speech. So I potentially missed out on a vital clue.

That’s not the worst thing though. The worst are the danger sequences, when you have to do Dance Dance Revolution style moves to avoid some threat. They actually expect you to press something like up-down-right-down using both the arrow keys, and the numpad simultaneously. I actually failed every single danger sequence in the game so far. I just know that at some point I will get stuck on one of them, and spend days trying to get the stupid sequence just right…

All, in all it’s a cool game. I wish the controls were less funky, but hopefully this will not turn into major annoyance. I like the story so far… Sigh… I wish I didn’t have a final on Wednesday. I probably won’t be able to play the game that much until I’m done with that…

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