The Count of Monte Cristo (Enter the Story)
The Count of Monte Cristo
The idea behind the Enter the Story series had me intrigued as soon as I heard about it. Taking classic books and making them into games sounds like it should have been done a million different ways by a million different people, but it just isn’t done that much. It is so simplistic, yet has so much promise and such an opportunity. It has done exactly as it said, however, far too much effort was placed on the direct conversion of book to game. I found it lacking in one of the major areas that separate books from games.
The game play is in the style of the old Kings Quest games. There are objects that you can interact with, pick up, and use; you can click on doors to go through them; and you click anywhere on the screen to walk there. This is a very tried and true model for the entire “Point and Click Adventure” genre, and this game continues very skillfully in the foot steps of its predecessors. When I first started off, I feared an over-simplification of this model that I have seen so many times before. The Count of Monte Cristo used the point and click interface to perfection. What each item does varies, as it rightly should, based on the surrounding environment, the point in the story, and what else the player currently has in their inventory.
The story is a classic. The developer tried very hard to stay true to this story, but I think they actually managed to improve on it. The sheer amount of detail that is included in the original makes it hard to read through for some, but this game takes all the important plot elements and lays them out in the story. The details that so many have complained about while trying to read the book are skillfully integrated into the game play instead of used verbatim in the in-game text. The skillful inclusion of the story is also, sadly, one of the downsides of this game. A book doesn’t have any options in it. A game however NEEDS these options to keep you feeling immersed. There are puzzles to make up for this short coming, but I am not convinced that every gamer will find it a good trade-off.
The biggest mark that Count of Monte Cristo has against it is the graphics. They are far from terrible, but the shadow world that is used can be a distraction at times. I am guessing that this was used to match the black and white of the book, but I think with a little more effort it could have been done better. Don’t get me wrong though, this does not take away from the story telling of the game in any way, it is merely a cosmetic thing. I like my game to be prettier.
All in all I would say that this game would be a great alternative for someone who has to read the story, but is not able to make their way through the actual text. It does a superb job of separating out the details of the story from the plot line, and sticks to the story (if my memory serves me properly) very well. It actually follows it to a fault (albeit a small one). The graphics leave a little something to be desired, but not to the point that I would say it detracts from the overall story telling that is done. I would have to say that I would recommend this title to the gamer who is interested in classic literature, but I would be careful recommending it to the average, casual gamer. For what it is worth, I would also not recommend that they stay completely clear of it either.
Review summary Pros:
Great story telling, well known control type
below average graphics