The Moment of Silence

5_1The Moment of Silence from The Adventure Company is a point and click game where the nations of the world are united in a single, powerful global government. It’s a fairly unsettling premise. Mad gurus preach the end of the world, ambitious suits design advertising strategies, gangs and prostitutes loiter in the rundown quarters, terrorists scheme, and old men spin conspiracy theories. Satellite cars, chats and mobile messengers make life easier but also more dependent on technology, not to mention more susceptible to surveillance.

Your alter ego, Peter Wright, couldn’t care less which politician is involved in which scandal, and for whom his agency is devising new campaigns. Ever since his wife and son were killed in a plane crash, he lives in isolation; withdrawn, taking one day at a time. Everything changes when a SWAT team abducts his next-door neighbor, an online journalist, without any explanation, triggering his own investigation into the matter and kickstarting the adventure.

The gameplay is kind of bland, but then again it might be unfair to expect much more from a point and click game like this, it’s a simple process of clicking on items and determining which items in your inventory need to be used at the current time. Now that may not necessarily be a bad thing if you enjoy these kind of games, but it’s when that simplicity is ruined by glitches that it becomes a chore. The game has some clipping issues (at one point Peter actually ran through a desk), and you will often have trouble trying to get the next screen to shift over so you can explore more of the environment. Sometimes the game;’s already slow pace is ruined by Peter’s extremely lethargic run.

The graphics on Moment of Silence dance between breathtaking and brutal. First there are the fantastic pre-rendered backgrounds. From water trickling down from a vacation cruise pool in the middle of some of the most realistic and life-like vegetation to grace your monitor, to watching the gritty hustle and bustle of the dilapidated Lower East Side, complete with burnt-out buildings and broken down cars, the environments do a wonderful job of presenting the developer’s vision of a bleak future. The character models, however, are damn fugly, seemingly imported from the first Sims game. They’re also poorly animated.

Fortunately, while the characters don’t look that realistic, they do indeed sound good. The music is also often entertaining and does an excellent job of setting the mood in the various locations. You’ll visit a space resort that’s accompanied by a soothing yet suspicious tone, and more action-oriented scenes are sure to get your attention with the music alone.

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The puzzles usually fall in middle of the road as far as consistency and challenge. During the early parts of the game they are few and far between, but then later they become obscure and even non-sensical. The game features many inventory puzzles, and while inventory puzzles are usually pretty solvable, here there is a particular order that must be followed to do anything, and the game almost never gives clues about what that order might be.

17_1For example, at one point during your investigation you get arrested, which means that you have to escape from the prison. But before you can leave, you have to remove a tracking device from your body, and you also have to wait for it to be nighttime. If you don’t realize that those two things have to come first, then you can waste a lot of time running around in circles trying to get out of the prison. And it’s not like your character helps you out by saying even cryptic lines like “I need to do something first†or “Maybe that would work better later.†Your character doesn’t say anything.

Players looking for a faster pace of gameplay, even as far as adventure gaming, will probably want to skip Moment of Silence. It’s an old school adventure from start to finish, with a proper emphasis on story, characters, puzzles and few clues to help you along the way. If you like slow games that make you work, then it’s definitely worth considering.

System Requirements: Pentium II 400 MHz, 128 MB RAM, WinXP

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