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 (302 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 25, 2013

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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

PC
Mac

    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
23 of 27 people (85%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
One thing that I love about video games is how they can take a story I've already heard several ways, and turn it into an entirely new experience that's just as engaging as if I was hearing it for the first time. The 39 Steps by The Story Mechanics is the first in what they call "digital adaptations", which fall somewhere between a visual novel and a radio show. The idea if simple, but the execution highly stylized and the pacing tightly wound to make what could have been a dry collection of text a surprisingly compelling and intense narrative piece.

I shouldn't have to tell you what The 39 Steps is about (as I imagine most should be familiar with the classic novel and numerous film adaptions and spin-offs), but as a refresher it follows Scottish man Richard Hannay, recently retired and now lost in a series of humdrum days and occurrences. All of this changes when a stranger barges into his life and revels a German plot that if carried out could throw the world into a war the likes of which it had yet seen. Shortly thereafter the man, now revealed to a spy known as Scudder, is found dead in Hannay's apartment, leaving him the only one alive with the knowledge of what is soon to unfold, and the only person who could possibly prevent it.

While the narrative of The 39 Steps is as intriguing and thrilling as ever, it's the way that it's told in this instance that makes it worth revisiting (or checking out for the first time) as opposed to numerous other formats you could choose. The Story Mechanics haven't settled for a simple text format in retelling Josh Buschan's tale, instead using a collection of visual tricks and clever insertion of backstory to create an brilliant interactive story that far exceeds the simplistic adaptations that have been experimented with in the past. Fantastic use of camera angles, deliberate placement of text to draw your eye toward parts of the watercolor backgrounds, and excellent voice acting from all parties make it incredibly easy to get swept away in the plot even during the slower, some may even call mundane, moments.

The only real instances where The 39 Steps falls a tad flat are the awkwardly implemented gestures that sometimes accompany moments like opening doors or reading letters. They were obviously intended to make the game feel more like, well, a game, but they're shoehorned in in such a way that feels tacked on an unnecessary. Thankfully they're infrequent enough that they never amount to more than a bit of a bother nor take but a few seconds to complete.

Though some might scoff at the emphasis on exposition and almost complete lack of traditional gameplay, those that can appreciate The 39 Steps for the bit of interactive fiction it is will be rewarded with an exciting and wonderfully paced tale of spies, murder, and more than a few close shaves. Having no real idea what to expect, I was very pleasantly surprised with the end result of The Story Mechanics's first attempt at a "digital adaptation", and it has gotten my mind spinning thinking of so many other books I'd love to see turned into future games. Hopefully this is only the first to come.
Posted: July 16
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18 of 21 people (86%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Alright, just played through The 39 Steps today. Took about 4 hours all told to complete, although there was probably an hour of idle time mixed in there. Anyway, I thought it was pretty stellar. A digital adaptation of a book. They say it was the inspiration for Ian Fleming style of writing, I think it bore a lot of similarities to Hitchcock's North by Northwest (and it turns out Hitchcok did in fact do a film adaptation of 39 Steps earlier in his career) as well. A very good and interesting story set in the early 1900's. Although there aren't branching paths, I thought the game till did an excellent job of immersing you into the story completely. Sort of non traditional from a point and click perspective due to a little twist in manipulating some object. The artwork was very nice, mostly done in watercolors and more traditional painting styles as well, with some silent film style cutscenes mixed in. Definitely recommend playing this one.
Posted: July 1
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15 of 17 people (88%) found this review helpful
7.2 hrs on record
This ain't a game..
This is interactive Visual Novel.. A novel that you watch like a movie..

Truly a masterpiece.
Try it, you won't regret.
Posted: June 18
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16 of 19 people (84%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
The Thirthy-Nine Steps is one of the earliest and arguably most influential novel in the history of espionage thriller. The book by John Buchan, published in 1915, is now public domain which means the devs could get away with anything in this digital adaption. But what surprised me is they were extremely loyal to the plot. This digital adaption is even told in 1st person like the original work. They did not offer any changes, which can be termed as lazy. But a novel that doesn't need change shouldn't be changed anyway. Voice acting is good. Story-telling is done right. The only thing that bugged me is the lack of character "appearance" in the artwork. But that's not a big deal. Anyway, this is a good digital adaption of the novel and I highly recommend it.

Warning - Do not buy if you're looking for a game. This is NOT a game, not even a point and click game. This is basically a audio novel with some relevant artwork.
Posted: May 29
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
4.7 hrs on record
The story is ok although the first part is boring a bit.

Cinematic cutscenes are great. I like that style of this game.

And for the achievements hunters, you must play this game because it's way too easy to earn all achievements. Just play through the end.
Posted: June 8
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79 of 90 people (88%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
The 39 Steps is (as most have previously stated) an interactive novel, and NOT a game. There are some elements of interactivity in the form of mouse clicks and even "drawing" patterns with the mouse from time to time, but that's about it. That said, if you know going in you're going to read and occasionally watch/listen to a story, you shouldn't be disappointed.

For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the story. I would sit down and play one of the 20 or so "chapters" at a time. Having them broken down into 10-15 minute chunks like this helped and allowed me to play at my own pace. The art is very well done, though there is really no actual animation. The voice acting is well done and the ambient sounds and music are a plus.

Being that the story is set prior to WWI (and that I'm American and this is set in the U.K.), some of the dialects and terminology were a bit tricky to follow, but not so much that it detracted form the story itself. Other than that, my only real complaint is that the ending seems somewhat . . . abrupt. I certainly won't spoil anything, but I felt that another couple minutes of gametime could have wrapped it up a little better.

All-in-all, the playthrough was an enjoyable experience and I'm looking forward to The Story Mechanic's next project.

My personal rating for what it is: 7.5/10
Posted: December 14, 2013
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