Monday, October 5, 2015

Hugo II: Whodunit? Review

Hugo II is the second of the Hugo trilogy of adventure games. It's a longer adventure than the first, but unfortunately it's not better for it. It falls into most the same traps as the first, while adding in some of the most frustrating aspects of the early Sierra games that inspired it.

Hugo and Penelope are invited to a mansion. While there, Penelope discovers that Hugo's uncle Horrace has been murdered, and Hugo has mysteriously disappeared. Because of the disappearance of Hugo, Penelope is the playable character throughout most of the game. The location and story of this game also aren't as charming as the first, but there are some humorous references to pop culture to be found.

Like Hugo's House of Horrors before it, Hugo II is controlled much like Sierra's early adventure games. There is a text parser, and the main character is controlled directly via the keyboard. In the Windows version, and the ScummVM implementation of the engine, the mouse can also be used to control the movement of the character. However, unlike Hugo's House of Horrors, mouse control isn't optimal for this game, as there are a lot of areas where precise timing is required since it is possible to die if the character makes one wrong step off of a path. This was one of the most frustrating aspects of Sierra games in the 1980's, and it is just as frustrating here.

Thankfully, there is no puzzle that requires real world knowledge this time around. Every puzzle has a solution that can be found within the game world itself. The improvement of the puzzles is sidelined by another antiquated addition, however. This game has frustrating mazes that are in the vein of the paths that must be traversed by trial and error. Mazes in adventure games can be fun, if they can be solved by in-game items or puzzles, but those which can only be finished by discovering the paths manually just serve to artificially extend game time and annoy the player.

Hugo II: Whodunit?, like it's predecessor, is a hard game to recommend. It falls in many of the same traps as adventure games that came several years before it, including death by stepping off of a path and mazes that can only be completed by trial and error. These just artificially inflate difficulty and extend game time, while making the game less fun overall. On top of that, the setting and story of this game isn't nearly as charming as the original. As this game isn't free to play, it's an even harder sell. Unless you really enjoy the player punishing adventures of the early Sierra era, I'd recommend staying clear of this one.

Final Verdict:

2 out of 5

Hugo's House of Horrors Review

No comments: