Game Review - by James Allen
I'm not a huge fan of adventure games. This has become an even more pronounced phobia because I recently reviewed some really poor adventure games. So, it was with some trepidation that I played Road to India, a point-and-click adventure game from our Canadian neighbors, Micro´ds (two dots=French). So, will Road to India: Between Hell and Nirvana be closer to Hell or Nirvana (not the band)?
Road to India, being an adventure game, features the single player story driven mode. Of course, what else could we expect from an adventure title? Multiplayer? So, really the factor which determines the features rating is the quality and quantity of the story. The story in Road to India is fairly short, and I beat the game in about 5 hours of play (with the occasional assistance of a walkthrough). This is generally much shorter than other games, but, as you'll see, this is greatly overshadowed by the rest of the components. The story itself is pretty original, deviating from the normal formulas found in adventure games. Also, it comes on two CDs, so there are fewer to accidentally scratch! So there you go.
All of the actors in Road to India have appropriate voices, which are acted pretty well, and give an overall good atmosphere in the game. The background music also fits the game like a glove. There are ambient sounds in the environments, which, although they are sometimes scarce, add some sort of action and realism to the areas explored in the game. Road to India probably has the least contrived voice acting in any adventure games that I've recently played, and that goes a long way to making the game great.
Thank you, Road to India, because you have restored my faith in adventure games. The one beef that I have with most adventure games is that you are asked to complete tasks that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. In Road to India, you can actually use logic to figure out the puzzles, and what you are to do next! An amazing concept! For example, you can combine a match, rag, and oil can to light a room. Or, drop a vase on a guard. The most important thing that I found while playing this game is that I kept saying, "Yeah, I would do that." This important aspect of realism in Road to India sold me on the game. Plus, you have to respect a game that uses monkeys on several occasions. The game alternates between dream and reality sequences, which surprisingly intertwine in the end (trust me). The interface itself is pretty standard, using the point and click system of moving around and manipulating objects. But, finally, I have played an adventure game worth my time. In the ultimate act of respect, I kept playing well past my bedtime, just to see what would happen next. Who would have thought?
The graphics in Road to India are better than most adventure games, but underneath the level set by other games in other genres. Like most adventure games, the game is advanced through a system of slides, specific areas where you must advance to. You can look around 360 degrees in all of the areas, and each of the "movable" characters are rendered in 3D, with nice detail on each of them. You could still tell that you were playing a game, as you weren't allowed to move freely around the environment, but when compared to other offerings of the same type, Road to India comes out ahead.
I can honestly say that Road to India is the best adventure game that I've ever played. Of course, I rarely play adventure games, and most of the others are The Legend of the Prophet and the Assassin and The Mystery of the Druids, so that's not saying much. Nevertheless, Road to India: Between Hell and Nirvana accomplishes my most important personal goal: logical and reasonable puzzles and sequences. The story is pretty good as well, featuring a twist and then another. So, if you like adventure games (or even have a passing interest in them), Road to India is a smart choice. I just wish that the game was longer, because I actually had a good, entertaining time playing it. Too bad most adventure games aren't as good as this.