Game review: 1954: Alcatraz PC
1954: Alcatraz developed and published by Daedalic Entertainment and Irresponsible Games sees us play as husband and wife protagonists Joe and Christine Lyons. After a botched armed robbery job sees Joe as the getaway driver getting caught and taking the full brunt of the charges, he finds himself incarcerated in Leavenworth County Jail while his so-called pal and partner Mickey escapes Scott free. A successful escape though gets Joe in deeper trouble as he is soon caught and thrown into Alcatraz to serve a longer sentence. Mickey and Christine soon find out that the stash was counterfeit and the real evidence has been stashed by Joe putting Christine in quite the predicament. And so it’s up to Christine to keep schtum about the location of the real dough while keeping Mickey and his goons at bay while Joes plans his escape attempt. I have to say I was impressed with the story direction, a lot of it carried forth by some impressive voice acting even though the animation is iffy. The game has a knack at making the player care about the marriage of Joe and Christine due to their chemistry throughout and Mickey is a stereotypical 50’s gangster that players will love to hate. The story mixes mature themes of love, infidelity, crime and betrayal, and it does so expertly.
The gameplay is typical Daedalic, simplified point and click. Nothing much more than clicking your cursor on the right things at the right time. It’s an age old formula that never seems to get old although some of the puzzles present in the game requires some fairly quick thinking for example making a glass shiv before the guard gets to your cell door, it ramps up the tension somewhat and kept me on my toes. For the most part though it’s just clicking dialogue options to get the correct information to carry on with the game which may please some but may bore others. Decisions you are made to make carries the game in either direction, this makes you want to play through again upon completion to see what happens when you choose the other direction. 1954: Alcatraz sports some nice hand drawn back grounds and some impressively designed 3d character models. Problem is, they don’t go together well, putting these two factors together only works when they have the same design, like if the character models were hand drawn too or if the backgrounds were 3 dimensional. Both though are very nicely designed, Mickey has a sinister weasel appearance whilst Joes holds something more charismatic and desperate. The setting is superbly drawn and 1950’s San Francisco looks amazing, so too does the indoor scenes faithfully recreated with the help of original footage which has clearly been hard studied.
The point and click genre delves into the most notorious prison of our time and delivers an indulging story covering multiple mature themes and executes them well. The mismatched graphic design is a little off putting however the game is easy to play and engaging from start to finish and even replay to see those alternate results of those decisive moments.
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Developer: Irresponsible Games
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Genre: Adventure/ point and click
Release Date: 12th march 2014
Story – 4/5
Graphics – 3/5
Gameplay – 4/5
Overall – 4/5