Prepare to experience the original man-on-the-run thriller in a completely new way. This is a digital adaptation of John Buchan's incredible book (inspiration to Ian Fleming's James Bond!). Be transported back to 1914 London, where Richard Hannay finds himself framed for a murder he didn't commit.
User reviews: Mostly Positive (738 reviews) - 77% of the 738 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 25, 2013

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December 15, 2015

Steam Trading Cards Now Available!

We are pleased to announce that The 39 Steps now features Steam Trading Cards. The set brings 5 cards, 3 backgrounds, and 5 emoticons. We hope you enjoy them. Thanks for your continued support.

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About This Game

Prepare to experience the original man-on-the-run thriller in a completely new way. This is a digital adaptation of John Buchan's incredible book (inspiration to Ian Fleming's James Bond!). Be transported back to 1914 London, where Richard Hannay finds himself framed for a murder he didn't commit. Now he must escape the Capital and stay alive long enough to solve the riddle of The Thirty-Nine Steps. There are secrets to be discovered, locations to be explored and - above all - an incredible tale to be told in this ground-breaking interactive novel.

Key Features:

  • A new form of entertainment, merging the worlds of literature, gaming and film into one visually stunning storyline.
  • Faithfully constructed using the original - and best-selling - John Buchan text, first published in 1915.
  • Hundreds of hand-painted digital environments, and authentic materials from 1910s Britain.
  • 8 different storytelling mechanics, 25 collectible items and 16 awards to be unlocked.
  • An original soundtrack by Si Begg and theatrical voice performances, including Ian Hanmore, Greg Hemphill and Benny Young
  • Created in Unity4, with a playtime of 5-8 hours.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS:Windows XP
    • Processor:2GHz Processor
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:DirectX 9 512MB card
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
    • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
    Minimum:
    • OS:OSX
    • Processor:2.2GHz dual core processor
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:GPU 128MB+
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
    • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection
Helpful customer reviews
62 of 65 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 7, 2015
Original example of how a novel can be transformed into a game

The 39 Steps is a unique interactive visual novel, developed by The Story Mechanics and first released on Steam in april 2013. The game is based on the novel with the same title by John Buchan, which got quite well-known thanks to its being the inspiration for Ian Flemmings James Bond books. The novel tels the story of Richard Hannay, a bored-to-death gentleman who all of a sudden finds himself in the eye of an espionage storm. Buchans story has its flaws: some plot-turns come across as unbelievable, but the characters are drawn very fine indeed, as is the time period against which the plot evolves.

Buchans novel is followed very closely in the game, which does an excellent job in transferring the overall feel and atmosphere of the period and place during which the action takes place: London, Scotland and the English countryside early summer 1914, just before the outbreak of the First World War. The developers achieved this by using a brilliantly designed and executed visual style, with a lot of hand-drawn images.

Actually, the story is told in several different ways, all with their own level of interaction. The narrative part of the novel is being projected on the screen, with the player having to click through the different lines. But the game manages to introduce variety even in this simple mechanic: the tempo of the clicking varies: sometimes a screen is held onto longer, while at other times clicks has to done much faster. Dialogues are being voice-acted in a very convincing way, some self-contained stories are even being projected as short movies. There is some point-and-clicking too, although this is allways clearly indicated and not designed as a challenge or puzzle. All in all, the variety in interaction between player and game helps a lot to draw one into the story.

The awesome visuals and interesting storytelling are accompanied by a soundscape that mostly stays in the background, punctuating some important actions without drawing any attention to itself. A bit more of these, and a more convincing musical envelopment would have painted the period even better I believe. But this is only a minor quibble. More problematic are the click-and-drag actions one has to perform to unlock doors or achieve other minor tasks. These feel tucked on, and do not integrate well within the overall concept.

Highly recommended to anyone interested in visual novels, in literature or in artistic games in general. It's a real shame this development studio hasn't released any more games yet.
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37 of 38 people (97%) found this review helpful
6.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 31
“I believe everything out of the common. The only thing to distrust is the normal.” ― John Buchan, The 39 Steps

The Thirty-Nine Steps is originally an adventure novel and an ancestor of the spy thriller genre, written by the Scottish author John Buchan in 1915 - the first year of the World War I. It has long been reinterpreted into various other media - including Alfred Hitchcock's famous 1935 silver screen interpretation. But it is the first time we see Buchan's famous action-hero, Richard Hannay in a video game, thanks to Story Mechanics' initiative with a project of reinterpreting literature as narrative video games.

Here at the start of his adventures, Richard Hannay is a wealthy and able English gentleman with considerable social standing. He was raised in South Africa, became a successful mining engineer and took part in the Matabele Wars. He also served as an intelligence officer during the Boer War. He is realistic, self-sufficient with a diverse set of skills and means. Just before the events of the game, Hannay returns to London, only to find the routine life of a Londoner to be devastatingly boring. Just as he was about to give up on the capital, he is visited by one of his neighbors at his apartment in London. The neighbor reveals himself to be Franklin P. Scudder, a freelance spy and asks Hannay's help with a dangerous political plot. Finding himself in a web of lies and intrigue, Hannay quickly becomes the target of a manhunt, and starts his escape towards the Highlands of Scotland. Will he ever be able to clean his name and prevent a dangerous plot that would spell doom for all Europe?

The 39 Steps is a retelling of the original novel without nearly any content cut down. The atmosphere is a wondrous success weaved out of water color environments, characters displayed as foggy silhouettes and tales that belong to characters reenacted by shadowy silent motion pictures. The display is wholly elegant and thrilling, appropriate for the tone of the narration. Voice acting is marvelous - with nuances, accents and even vocal exclamations. For the part of the presentation, you are in for a feast.

As for the gameplay, on the other hand, the same cannot be said. Yes, the game is basically a visual novel but the player's participation in the narration is close to non-existent. The game could even be categorized as non-interactive considering all you actually do is some clicking to do to reveal environmental details or some mouse movements to draw certain shapes for Hannay to interact with things now and then. There is nothing you actually do, decide or participate in. You click and watch as the story unravels. On that part, one could actually prefer reading the novel rather than playing the game, but the amount of labor put into display is certainly admirable.

For the last verdict, I'll bite and recommend The 39 Steps, considering newer generations prefer watching the story through a screen rather than actually reading it. You just have to know what you are getting yourselves into before buying it. The 39 Steps is not a game; it is a beautifully arranged digital story book, and one that I can safely recommend if you are unfamiliar with the novel and/or bear no intention of reading it.

Please also check out Lady Storyteller's Curator page here - follow for regular updates on reviews for other games!
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14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 5, 2015
A good story, well told.
This is a very nicely done adaptation of John Buchan's novel. It kept me wanting more the whole way through, in much the same way any good book will. The voice work and music are both excellent and the pacing and interactive elements completely fit the style of the game. The visuals are also very good, especially the fantastic animated scenes. The game is not without a couple of slightly rough edges, though. The audio can cut out noticeably abruptly at times and the quality of the background art is occasionally lacking a little, but neither take away from a very entertaining few hours.
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10 of 10 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 19, 2015
Though somewhat primitive, The 39 Steps is an ok alternative to just reading a book. While more gameplay features would be nice, it tells the story just fine and does attempt to keep the reader engaged.That being said, it certainly can drag on in certain areas. Sometimes the music and visuals are just not enough to brighten up a passage.

It's not the must play game of the year, but if you are mildly interested in Buchan's The 39 Steps but don't want to read it dry, this might help a bit.
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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
9.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 6
Personal Rating: Had a really great experience playing it.
Classic Rating: ★★★★✬

The 39 Steps is a digital/visual adaptation of an adventure/crime novel by
John Buchan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thirty-Nine_Steps .

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=616520995

✓ Excellent story and narration.
✓ Excellent voice acting (even though I'm not a native English speaker, I had a couple of good laughs listening to some Scottish side-character).
✓ Very well curated artworks and visual effects (transitions and animations).
✓ Very particular playing style, common to Visual Novels but original nonetheless.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=616003461

✘ A couple of times subtitles were missing.
✘ Sometimes I had difficulties understanding words and phrases too: I know, this is my fault, not the game's one but it can be a good enough topic for non-English people to think about before buying.

Would you like to read a book while listening to characters voices, ambient sounds and background music? Would it be even better if you were able to watch it like a movie and enjoy like you were its protagonist?

If the answer to those questions is "yes", than you'll understand why "The 39 Steps" is a must to play game.
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