Bureau 13

snap818Bureau 13 is a top-secret government organization created to “identify, and sometimes eliminate, dangerous paranormal entities.” Bureau 13 puts you in charge of one or two agents (there’s a total of six to choose from) who’ve been given the job of tracking down and retrieving rogue agent J.P. Withers. You’ve also been warned not to draw undue attention to – a surprisingly easy task, even if you have chosen the vampire Alexander Keltin or Delilah Littlepanther, who stomps around in a mechanized battle suit.

You play from a skewed, top-down perspective, switching between your two agents via the mouse or keyboard (though the keyboard command to switch agents was a hit-or-miss affair for me) and using standard commands/icons to Look, Examine, Pick Up, Talk To, etc. Each agent also has special skills — the thief can pick locks, the vampire can turn into mist, the gal in the mech suit can smash things, the computer hacker can “tinker” to create new objects, and so forth. The puzzles range in difficulty from laughably simple (for veterans, anyway) to annoyingly hard. All too often, however, the challenge comes from quirks in programming, rather than clever design.

Examine a door at the Advanced Instruments weapons plant, and the narrator says the door is unlocked — but the text description claims it is locked. The agents under your control seem to have a will of their own, refusing to go where you want them to. Characters sometimes walk through solid objects, and once I saw a character (the police sergeant) completely disappear, leaving only his disembodied voice warning you the evidence locker is off-limits. Aside from your agents, almost nothing or no one else moves, a shortcut that constantly reminds you that this is, after all, just a very static game renderd in God-awful early 3D.

System Requirements:486/33 MHz, 4 MB RAM, DOS

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