MacDirectory Magazine

Summer-Fall 2008 (#38)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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164 MacDirectory REVIEW | GAMES PENNY ARCADE ADVENTURES > ON THE RAIN-SLICK PRECIPICE OF DARKNESS, EPISODE ONE Fans of the Penny Arcade webcomic have been eagerly awaiting this game, set in the fictional city of New Arcadia during the 1920's. Drawing heavily from both PA canon and the narrative-heavy pulp fiction of the era, On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One is the first of four games linked by a common storyline. Those unfamiliar with the webcomic need not fear, however, as the game is written to appeal both to fans and newcomers alike. The atmospheric setting most accurately conforms to the Cthulhu mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft, with its themes of elder gods and urban decay. However, it's clear from the first few minutes of gameplay that this universe is slightly askew from the reality we know. Almost immediately, your character's lawn-tidying is interrupted by a colossal, industrial-looking robot that flattens your house with one step and marches on unheeding. Two strange men chase after it, and this is your introduction to the world of New Arcadia, as you become involved in a mysterious plot involving hoboes, fruit, mimes and the secrets of the gods themselves. After the initial character creation and minor customization, a narrator steps in to apprise you of the situation and give you basic instruction in the game's mechanics. OtRSPoD is essentially a turn-based game, much like Heroes of Might and Magic V (see previous issue of MacDirectory for review), though there are active elements that require you to think quickly. Your party consists of your character, and two members of the Startling Developments detective agency: Tycho Brahe, tommy gun-wielding scholar, and Johnathan Gabriel, devil-haunted pugilist. The three characters grow in strength and abilities with each victory, leveling up in the now time-honored tradition of most role-playing games. You have three meters that fill up with varying speeds, allowing you to use an inventory item, attack, or use a special attack. Special attacks for each character do more damage than normal attacks, and involve a minigame of some sort that usually requires exact timing to pull off. Special attacks may combine with other characters' special attacks, to create an even stronger strike. Additionally, there are bonus characters who use special abilities to aid in combat. Outside of combat is city exploration, and it's here that the true joy of the game is manifest. There are myriad objects in the landscape that reward the player's clicking upon them with hilarious, often extremely silly descriptions. Inventory items can be gained by clicking on trash cans or containers, though sometimes this yields enemies as well. There are also unique items like concept art and music that can be harvested from these containers. Items of this nature can be accessed by returning to the detective agency that serves as headquarters to the team. You can also view dossiers on all the characters, and unlock special bonuses as well. As mentioned, this game is accessible to everyone, but there are in-jokes a-plenty for those familiar with the world of Penny Arcade, and much of the game's denizens are slight alterations of well-known and beloved webcomic characters. OtRSPoD is one of those rare games that have been released with simultaneous Mac, PC and Linux versions. The system require- ments are relatively low, and there are op- tions for increasing performance if needed. The Penny Arcade guys have done them- selves proud with this effort, and we can anticipate the release of the next three episodes, which are said to be on a re- lease schedule of one every few months. WORDS BY KEONI CHAVEZ Product On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One Made by HotHead Games Price $19.95 download Pros Engaging, well-written storyline; colorful, expressive artwork; challenging gameplay Cons Leaves player wanting more Rating HHHHH

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