GRAY MATTER: first facts from 4Players
Translation courtesy of Ingrid Heyn.
You know the adventures concerning Gabriel Knight? And do you know the name of
the woman behind the mysterious puzzle-canvas? [The term is literally
translated as "puzzle-stage-scenery or backdrop"] That's right: Jane Jensen.
The game designer from Pennsylvania intends to return to the scene in the
first quarter of 2008 with lots of point-and-click and mystery in the style of
good old Gothic novels. The project is called Gray Matter, on which the Grande
Dame of this genre is working together with the Hungarian team Tonuzaba
Magician & scientist
The stage magician Samantha doesn't have it easy. Although she's mastered all the possible sleights-of-hand and tricks to bedazzle her audience, money's just not stretching far enough. But when the American woman, in the course of her European tour, knocks on the door of neurobiologist Dr Styles, the post of his female assistant has just become vacant. The emotionally withdrawn Englishman is looking for volunteers for an experiment. Thus Sam snaps shut her magic book and tries her hand at persuading people in Oxford [to participate in the experiments]. A bit of smoke-and-mirrors here, a bit of quick deception there, and some people are already convinced. Sam can use her conjuring tricks to switch
articles or produce illusions. At first everything goes smoothly, but suddenly strange events increasingly occur: Dr Styles becomes haunted by the spirit of his deceased wife, the manor-house hides strange secrets. And how is all this related to the Daedalus Club, which leaves traces of its activities in Oxford?
Progress & puzzle announcement
Later you can switch between Sam and Styles, which should lead to totally different puzzles: after all, the doctor is rather scientific-minded, while
his female assistant is also interested in supersensory phenomena. So far we could only play one logic puzzle at a number vending machine, and take a look at one trick from the magic book. If you get stuck, you can always call up a statistic that informs you of your current progress. If you've solved a task, a sort of grey energy bar becomes completely filled. If you're still missing some pieces of the puzzle, it might be only half-filled. Since each bar is assigned to one puzzle, you'll know where there's something more to do that could spare you fruitless searching in wrong places.
- 2D-background, 3D-Characters
- Classic Adventure
- Story reminds one of traditional Gothic novels (gothic novels such as
Frankenstein and so on)
- new Help-Statistic
- Dread Hill House would quickly allow the instincts of the inquisitive
Manor-House snoop to waken..
- Authentic scenes of Oxford
- Story unfolds through eight chapters
- Two playable characters
- Also co-operative puzzles
- Magic book with multi-level tricks
- Two possible endings
Jane Jensen makes a comeback after Gabriel Knight 3 (1999). Here in a visit to Hamburg with 4P-chief editor, Jörg Luibl.
I devoured Gabriel Knight 3 in 1999 also, because it was taking new directions with its 3D-technology.
This time Jane Jensen is eschewing anything to do with "purely financial grounds" on the third dimension, and remains faithful solely to her love of
mysterious tales. Can she capture the air of gothic novels in the style of Frankenstein? And, despite the limitations of the 2.5D background, can she
pick up where she left off with the old class? During our visit she explained that, with Gray Matter, she wants to attract the veterans of the genre and her major target group (a demanding or fastidious one): women. That means, among other things, "the attraction of the story has priority over excessively abstruse puzzles". The access to the book containing the magic tricks as well as the switch between the characters could nevertheless free the way for many interesting brain-twisters [the term "Kopfnuß" actually means to rap one's knuckles against one's head, but I get the sense here that the term is being used as I've indicated]. However, the really salient features that would distinguish this adventure game from the competition were, in my opinion, lacking. Still, the alpha version shown was not so far along that one could make a meaningful prognosis. In any case, I'm looking forward to this comeback and to the first steps in Dread Hill House.