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jesuswald

Which TWO point and click adventure games are your 'high water mark'?

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If you had to pick just TWO, the ones by which you measure all other graphic adventure games, what would they be?

I know there's another thread asking about your favorites over the last 10 years, but here I'm hoping we can talk about a much smaller and more exclusive group of titles; Those which stand apart from the crowd regardless of age, and for reasons which transcend a personal preference for a single aspect of the game.

Here's the logic: If DF take an interest in this thread, it's going to provide a clearer picture of what really resonated with people if we're a little bit specific.

During our lives we may become attached to, or even grow to love, a number of video games for many different reasons.

Some have a great sense of style and feel dynamic like Full Throttle, while others might have achingly beautiful artwork and soundscapes like The Dig. Perhaps Monkey Island for it's sense of humor, or the frat-boy fun of a risque Larry game.

But while personal fondness can be fickle, there are some games which are so well executed that they become a 'high water mark' to which all others can be (holistically) compared. Not because of a single element such as humor, graphics, or plot, but because they are technically perfect in almost every way.

Note that when I say 'tehcnically perfect' I'm not talking about bugs, though polish might enter into the equation. Technically perfect refers to a game which maintains such a high level of quality in all areas that it can be used as a yard-stick, or standard, for years to come.

A non-adventure example is System Shock 2, which is largely regarded as having set the standard in it's particular (sub)genre.

I'll start:

Indianna Jones and The Fate of Atlantis and Broken Sword: Shadow of The Templars.

While there are other games I really adore (Full Throttle, Longest Journey, Monkey Island, The Dig, etc), those two are the watermark to which I hold up every adventure game I play.

Both had amazing atmosphere, beautiful graphics, moments of real tension, near perfect pacing, logical puzzles, intelligent dialogue, and fantastic music (which is under appreciated, IMHO).

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My standard is Lucas Adventures never played a bad one, but fish to head i would say...

LOOM

the voice acting blew me away( at the time if a game had voice it was almost synthesized like f117a stealth fighter on the NES).

and the story, I spent years looking for "the sequel" and once I got a 33.6 baud modem and found there was no sequel I was crushed.

but really any thing from Lucas adventure years

Phantasmagoria

FMV and 7 discs !!!! need I say more. Yes the game was kinda meh but at the time it didn't matter

or

Kings Quest 7 the graphics were so crisp at a time when things were still pixely

Does Wing Commander 3 count? the parts where your wandering the ship are kinda of adventure.

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Grim Fandango. Rubacava is simply one of the coolest places in gaming, ever. The style is fantastic, too. Art Deco and Mexican Dias de las Muertas go so well together (Deco used a lot of Aztec-style motifs). It's undeniably cool.

The Longest Journey. Because 19-year-old arts students can kick butt and save the world. Worth it alone for Sarah Hamilton's voice acting.

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Grim Fandango is definitely at the top of my list. The art style is spectacular, as well as the music and characters. Absolutely beautiful and tons of fun. I made a good test of my memory with it as well by playing through the game by memory during my lunches at work

As for the other, I think I have to go with Curse of Monkey Island. It was actually the first of the series I played and really enjoyed it! A wonderful cartoon style made for expressive characters and had a very humorous storyline to it

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Myst, for how it changed the point and click adventure world and Grim Fandango for its overall quality.

Both stand out because they are never cheesy and added a new layer of depth to the genre, Myst in terms of puzzle design, Grim Fandango in terms of story design.

Another thing I like about both is that they took a technical shortcoming and turned it into the essence of the story line.

Myst: basically no humans, only trails of humans. Fitting human interaction would have made you feel the technical shortcomings of the adventures, but leaving them out added up to the sense of lonelyness and the mystery. I also think adding mist hid some technical shortcomings while defining the game experience.

Grim Fandango: Characters were characters you could interact with, but either dead or spirits, represented in the form of Mexican paper dolls. This is another way of hiding the shortcomings of 3d animation turning out to work very, very well. Having the story take place in the afterworld made the repetitive aspect of all interaction, which is basically a shortcoming, feel logical and part of the deal.

Looking at the new DFA in terms of turning shortcomings into features, I would say that any story concept has an advantage that would make it feel like the repetitive dialogs that will undoubtedly there again, are a natural consequence of the concept.

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For me, the best adventure game is also my favourite: Gabriel Knight, Sins of the Fathers. The pace is perfect, the writing is top-notch, the characters are memorable and likeable, and the plot escalates brilliantly from a "don't know anything about anything" situation to a "I must do something or the world is doomed" climax, with not one but several tear-jerking moments along the way. Simply brilliant, from a storytelling point of view.

My other choice would be Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, for all the obvious reasons: clever puzzles, good story, everything makes sense, memorable quotes... Basically, not a single line of dialogue or puzzle is out of place, even the famous "nice fez" puzzle feels adequate in retrospective. Maybe it's my nostalgia speaking, but everything seems to tightly vowen together, it's hard to think of something else as "high water mark" in adventure gaming.

In conclusion, I guess an adventure game sticks with me if it has a compelling story, memorable and developed characters, and no puzzles that seem out of place, and for me, the above games are the best at achieving that. Many others come close, but that would be cheating ;)

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Maybe there's currently a bit too much love for Grim Fandango in this thread.

The controls of that game made me want to shoot myself in the face. :ahhh: It took weeks of recovery time, followed by months of rehabilitation and therapy.

Anyways, Fate of Atlantis and Day of the Tentacle.

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Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness and Grim Fandango. QFGIV was an amazing game, the only problem is that it was/is loaded with bugs. Still, it was so much fun to play and the storyline and characters were great. Three different characters that all have different abilities and see different parts of the game.

Grim Fandango.... nothing much needs to be said. Great game, if a little long, but the characters and story were top notch.

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Return to Zork and Indiana Jones & Fate of Atlantis.

Return to Zork was the first proper Point 'n' Click graphic adventure where you could SEE what it looked like in the Underground Empire. And..

..of course...

"Want some rye? Course ya do!"

Indiana Jones was sublime. I liked The Last Crusade but this one was bigger, cooler, harder and it featured submarines. Some of the puzzles were killing me slowly and graping my soul (just like Return to Zork) but in the end it was worth the effort.

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Just two is quite hard.

I'd have to go with Grim Fandango even if I had to play it with a controller instead of mouse due to the somewhat strange control. Also, like many others, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Probably the most memorable game I ever played and I still replay it. Never gets old.

Edit: Hmm, graphic adventures? Honorable mention to The Dig (although FMV: Gabriel Knight 2 and Tex Murphy - Pandora directive). So many more that deserves to be remembered and played, but that'll have to do for now.

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I would say Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge although The Secret of Monkey Island is a VERY close runner up.

Fate of Atlantis, to a kid that loved Indy, was just the perfect sequel to the movies, it felt like you were in the movie, it had a strong story, was difficult but not frustratingly so, the puzzles made sense, and there were quite a lot of varied environments, and even multiple paths in the Brains, Fists and Team paths giving the game more re-playability than most P&C games, and although it's annoying, it's quite unique in you being able to die, which isn't bad as long as you save regularly, but it meant that some puzzles really could have dire consequences for failure, which is a good incentive to get things right.

Monkey Island 2 was just a great sequel, plenty of interesting characters, funny dialogue, beautiful graphics for the time, fun puzzles, multiple difficulty modes, which meant I could easily play it back when I was 7, but still enjoy the challenge playing it almost 20 years later, having completed it a dozen times in my life or more. the Monkey Island games probably shaped a lot of my sense of humour, perhaps I revere them too much, if that's possible.

Runner up: Monkey Island was just great, my first adventure game, and although it took me a long time to complete it at a little kid, the hours I put into it have had a massive impact on me, it wasn't quite as wacky as MI2, but it was very funny in other ways, such as dialogue and events, it set the schizo environment up, in which there are neon lights and vending machines in the 17C Caribbean, which at the time was unexplained, but it made it so unique, the story is a great coming of age thing with great and memorable characters, and the puzzles are really good too, however it's my runner up because I feel everything that it did great, either MI2 or FoA did better, even if MI1 was a better all round package. there wasn't a lot of variety in environments, you are on Melee, then briefly on your ship, then Monkey Island, then you are briefly in Hell then back on Melee for the final act, Monkey Island 2 had 3 unique islands each with several unique feeling locations, then LeChuck's fortress, then Dinky Island, then the tunnels in the final act, doesn't seem like a lot more, but when each environment was more varied, interesting, and perhaps more importantly, populated by characters and "stuff" to start with it definitely fees like more.

Other games I love/honourable mentions, Sam and Max hit the Road which is certainly high up there for comedy and puzzle quality, Day of the Tentacle which I played as a kid, however I found it a little too nonsensical at times, Monkey Island 3, which I love, but didn't actually discover it until I was 14 or so, so it has less of an impact on me, although it was my first Talkie, The Dig, which I only discovered 2 years ago maybe, having bought a LucasArts pack on Steam (which I mostly bought for the Talkie version of Fate of Atlantis, which I had never played before, having only had the basic version as a kid) I Loved the Dig because it was a game that had the same plot as a movie or book I'd probably enjoy, which is the same reason I also enjoyed Beneath a Steel Sky and Tex Murphy 2: The Martian Memorandum. Of course there's Grim Fandango which was great for story, but I hated control by keyboard, (which is also the main thing I hated about the not-as-bad-as-they-say Monkey Island 4) and some of the puzzles were annoying. Another one that will always stick in my mind is Future Wars, which I can't actually remember that much of, but it made an impression on me by being pretty surreal. The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes was great too, it had a brilliant soundtrack, and good visuals for the time, it also had some minigames which was unusual, and Watson kept a prose journal of everything you had done so far, which could be read as if it were a novel, which was a novel idea :D another cool one was Bureau 13, it had some good puzzles, and the fact there were several characters to choose from, each with unique abilities (a vampire that could turn to mist, a mech that could smash stuff etc.), and you could choose to play with either a lone character or a team of two, meant good re-playability, even if the game was mediocre in other ways.

More recently, I have thoroughly enjoyed Tales of Monkey Island, Back to the Future: The Game and Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, but Telltale's Sam and Max games have been hit and miss with me (although I only played Season 1, and the demo for the 3rd set, I didn't have the urge to play more), possibly because they just weren't as good as S&M Hit the Road, they were visually unimpressive and muddy looking, and some of the puzzles were overly obscure.

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Mine are without a doubt Gabriel Knight 1 and Day Of The Tentacle. These two games were played incessantly when I first upgraded to a 486 and a CD-ROM drive. I've played them both again in recent years, and they hold up extraordinarily well. I consider myself a connoisseur of ruge adventure genre and I've played most of the non-Myst-type games that others have mentioned. I live seeing the passion for OG adventure games and love the fact that this genre will never truly be dead.

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1. Curse of Monkey Island. It was my first venture into adventure gaming. After that I started to trace adventure gaming back through the other MI series, Maniac Mansion, Sam & Max, etc.

2. Grim Fandango. It was so innovative and the atmosphere was such a departure from anything I have ever seen. I haven't seen a game since that captured film noire like that game did.

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Number 2 for me would probably be Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis. It's not that the story is the best, or the graphics (lol) or the dialog, but it was the first real adventure game I got into, and it was super hard, but super fun and rewarding when I beat it without getting help. And you could play it 3 different ways!

For me, number 1 is a no-brainer, it's The Longest Journey. No other adventure game, in my opinion, could match the story, dialog, or epic-ness of this game. Dreamfall couldn't bring it up to the standard of the first. No question, Funcom needs to finish this, whatever it takes (hint hint *kickstarter*)

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Got to be Grim Fandango at the top.

A comedy adventure about Grimm Reapers set in a film Noire world...cant get any more perfect than that.

This may be sacrilege as its not a Schafer game, but I loved Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars.

The style the story and the dry humour, top of a neat little package.

Also worth a worthy mention Discworld I can't read any Terry Pratchet novels with out hearing Eric Idle in my head.

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Shared first place between Grim Fandango and Discworld Noir.

Grim Fandango for its amazing world, story - and music. I still have some of the background music in my winamp playlist.

Noir for lurking around Ankh-Morpok as a (spoiler alert!) werewolf. I mean, in how many games you can collect smells and compare them to people you know&track; them around gloomy filmnoir city? :D

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Number 2 for me would probably be Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis. It's not that the story is the best, or the graphics (lol) or the dialog, but it was the first real adventure game I got into, and it was super hard, but super fun and rewarding when I beat it without getting help. And you could play it 3 different ways!

For me, number 1 is a no-brainer, it's The Longest Journey. No other adventure game, in my opinion, could match the story, dialog, or epic-ness of this game. Dreamfall couldn't bring it up to the standard of the first. No question, Funcom needs to finish this, whatever it takes (hint hint *kickstarter*)

I totally forgot TLJ. I must agree that it's one of the best ever. They even had a swedish version made and even that was very well done, with one of my favourite female actresses and singers as the lead. Just wonderful.

I agree that Dreamfall wasn't as good, at all.

As some other posters have chosen, Discworld Noir is also incredibly entertaining and with a great setting. Very memorable.

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The DIG, Grim Fandango (but i hated the steering) and Broken Sword I.

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I say LOOM. AND making the sequels that were planned but never done! There were so many questions left unanswered!

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My favourite is of course Grim Fandango, but you guys mention it quite frequently so I will pick different ones.

Blade Runner. As non-linear as it can be, with your choices affecting the story - there are like twelve endings, or you can die like in Beneath a Steel Sky. Packed with strong visual style and soundtrack, this is simply amazing experience.

The Last Express. This is not your ordinary adventure game. You are on a train from Paris to Istanbul. Behind the scenes, game is divided into small segments between each station. Events are independent of you, so you might miss some if you are not in the right place at the right time. If you screw up, game will let you know soon enough by one of many "side" endings. Most often you die, but you can also be arrested or just kicked out of the train in one of the stations. Luckily enough, you can revert the game to any previous state (nearly every action you do has a "checkpoint" so you can return there). Also heavy non-linear experience, original graphics, superb voicing (you'll hear at least six languages), strong characters. Top notch.

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Yesterday comes in at third, I just have to mention this game as, despite it's boring puzzles, the characters are really interesting and the writing is really good. The reason I don't have it my top two is because the game was a bit rushed, and some of the characters could have used some more development, like Sam Cooper and Henry White, who you only play as at the beginning and end. It also seriously needed to be optimized for older graphics cards, the lack of graphic options was really frustrating, as my graphics card is four years old.

As for watermarks, Grim Fandango and Full Throttle.

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The curse of Monkey Island had an amazing look and ambient, the visual was consistent and most of all IT HAD APPEAL

(You know, that thing that Frank&Ollie; talked about so much in that really heavy book that everybody has but very few have actually read through all of it? the stuff that is sooo hard to have in 3D cuz some modelers just like to go to the gym a lot and never touched a pencil? well that is it).

Grim Fandango cuz it had a REAL CHARACTER GROWTH!!!!

I CARED about the character because Grim fandango was the first and only game where I felt like I spent many, many years with Manny. I saw him building an establishment and years went by. Many games feel like I just spent one day with the main hero and the character growth happens in a matter of hours.... I think that people, in real life, change only though long periods of time and it is a slow process. Usually in films and games the evil dude is evil until he decides to be good and from that moment he's a saint... that does not really happens in real life. A cathartic moment is usually the 1st step for a character change but the journey that it begins is the real transformation. Well, to me, Grim had that. It had the feeling that I was with this character for many, many years and not for the usual week or so that it takes, in other games (and many bad films), for the main dude to turn his life around.

And also is cuz I love high-contrast, Noire films with an Art Nouveau backdrop...

these r my 2 cents :D

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I am a huge fan of Grim Fandango, but I'll throw in Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender for the hell of it.

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Discworld Noir.

Not only has it all the comedy and satire you'd expect from the discworld novels it feels just like one (at least if Terry Pratchett had chosen to satirise Casablanca (and/or a bunch of other pulp noir films from that period) but it had some really chilling parts, possibly even more so than the H.P. Lovecraft stories it lampooned.

But better still; the interface was far better than any other AG I ever played. While it still used the conventional inventory we have in almost every other AG it took a backseat to the protagonist's notebook, in which clues were used in much the same manner as the items picked up in any other game. IE, as items could be combined to create new items in most games notes could be combined to form new conclusions or avenues of investigation. They could be used on other characters during questioning (making for some of the most fun & complex dialogue I've ever heard in any game, AG or otherwise) and they could be used, occasionally, on items.

But it got more interesting still, half way through the game (more or less) the protagonist realises he's become a werewolf and gains a new set of abilities that comes with this; he can now 'see' the smells throughout the city, which is useful when you're poking around crime scenes and suspected crime scenes. The smells are listed in a new inventory of their own, you can compare mystery odours you've come across with those of people who've jest left your presence (you wouldn't want them to know you're a werewolf, would you?) to work out who's been where and why simply using their scents to follow targets without risking them seeing you.

If there was a new game modelled on the style and interface of DWN I'd be in heaven.

Right... It said I had to pick 2 and I really can't think of a second one. I think, if I was forced to pick a second, it might have to be Broken Sword (the original). I enjoyed the puzzles so much and it was really funny, as well. I know there are plenty of other funny games with great puzzles, not least being the Monkey Island series, but there was just something about it which made me feel so immersed. It's a something that seems to have greatly reduced in each passing sequal, BS4 being one of the worst games I have ever had the displeasure of playing. I just can't put my finger on it. It's not something I can just expect people to be able to replicate.

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