Still Life
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2005-07-01 Xbox Adventure The Adventure Company/Dreamcatcher / Microids

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4.84 MB

I've been dying (no pun intended) to get my hands on Still Life since April. The delays in the release date would make me more and more anxious, and not being able to download the demo was driving me nuts since it usually ended up in a broken link or in a corrupt zip file.

When my copy arrived in the mail, there were fireworks and a band playing. Well, not really, I just imagined them, because I really was that happy. I was very confident that Still Life would deliver what CSI didn't, and in the end, it didn't disappoint me one bit.

I played the hell out of it that same day, I really did. I started sometime around 3 p.m., and I had it beat around 2 a.m. Mind you, I'd still be stuck on the lock picking puzzle if I didn't have the press-only walkthrough that Dreamcatcher had sent in advance. I have never seen such a complicated puzzle! I mean, I get to the door and I figure it's ok, I have the lock pick tools, so just use them on the door and I'll be inside in no time. Then the screen fills up with a ton of bars and two tools, and each part of the lock makes some other part move... I don't know how someone would figure out the solution to that one, even looking at the walkthrough I was confused as hell.

Ok, so I cheated on that puzzle (and later on, on another puzzle in the sewers). But I really wanted to hear the rest of the story, and I didn't want to stop until I knew how it ended. And if you're thinking that approximately 12 hours of gameplay is short, the thing is, the game doesn't feel short at all because it's that rich in content. It's so involving, the story is really great and the open ending makes me think there might be a sequel in the future. Add a dash of plot twist and you have a winner.

Contrary to CSI, there wasn't as much forensics or lab work as I thought there would be. In fact, you only really process the first crime scene (a swab here, some luminol there), while the rest is mostly detective work.

That's how our game starts, arriving at a crime scene. You play as FBI agent Victoria McPherson, who is working on a gruesome serial-killer case already counting with five victims. Victoria eventually finds that these murders might have something to do with the ones her grandfather investigated a long time ago, so she begins reading his memoirs looking for clues.

Reading the memoirs is like taking a little trip through time, since at those times you gain control of Gus McPherson, who was a private investigator in the 1930's, also dealing with an unknown mass-murderer whose crimes were reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. Prostitutes are appearing dead, their throats slashed, their bodies eviscerated.

Victoria finds the coincidences between both cases to be too many, and it will be by connecting her grandfather's memoirs to the present events that she will be able to crack this case. She will also eventually discover the reason why her grandfather avoided talking about Prague and the conditions surrounding him meeting her grandmother.

Furthermore, Victoria is a really cool character that us girls can identify with because she could be any of us. She swears at her boss, she makes fun of her co-worker who throws up at crime scenes, she is intelligent and brave. She even bakes cookies for her father in between investigations. Victoria is just human after all, and that's what makes her such a great character to play as.

The game features amazing graphics and cinematics, cool music and sound effects, and exceptional voice acting. And the storyline, well, I think I've said enough to prove how captivating and intricate it is.

Still Life is a fine piece of well-written art and gameplay.I strongly recommend this title for those of you who are into mystery games, or simply enjoy a really good plot and unforgettable characters and events. And better yet, this title is valued at only $19.99 US.

Special thanks to Tara Reed and Dreamcatcher for providing a copy of the game.