"The 39 Steps" is, down to its core, a slightly-interactive-novel. That being said - it's not "bad" by any means. For what it is, it's incredibly well done, and a means in which I would love to continue consume various forms of classical fiction.
Based on the original espionage thriller "The 39 Steps" by John Buchan, you can definitely see where modern day spy stories came from - predating popular fictional characters like James Bond by at least 30 years. This story takes place on the verge of WWI and introduces a character named Richard Hanny, a man on the run after a young American spy divulges sensitive information to him. The game is presented mostly in beautifully painted backdrops, fuzzy silhouettes and the occasional shadow puppet show (of which are quite entertaining). These backgrounds take you from inner-city London, to the moors of Scotland and back again. There isn't much gameplay to be had (to my slight disappointment), but what is present is likened to that of a game like "TRAUMA" - drawing shapes and clicking on things to carry through the cutscene-like chapters.
Simply put - the game is awesome for what it is - but it really needs a bit more interactivity. There is one part that involves the character decoding a notebook. I got really excited, thinking that I'd at least have a mini-game or a puzzle to figure out the code, but alas - the game just carries on like the book. They allow you to zoom in and out on objects you see in the environments - here I am, thinking that I'll have to do some Sherlock Holmes work and pick out clues from the zoomed-in objects, but alas - there isn't much to discover but a few timeline-appropriate advertisements and newspaper articles.
I would love to digest all sorts of fiction this way. From Sherlock Holmes to H.P. Lovecraft to Franz Kafka - I would love to have this sort of artwork and voice acting and sound effects, mood, pacing, attention to detail, and the ease of taking it in via separate chapters (just incase I need to leave and come back to it) - albeit, more interactivity would be preferred.
Posted: December 8th, 2013