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Despite the effort to tie-in Tunguska with this adventure game - at least from the instruction manual - you can't help but feel as if the only connection between the two was that a number of the developers were Russian. On finishing Tunguska I am none the wiser regarding the actual event, though perhaps it wasn't clever of me to have put up with the game in the first place.
Jack Riley is sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. As he is sat on the electric chair for his execution, not only does he suddenly find himself in another dimension, but also in this truly lacklustre game (!).
If I was being generous then the opening FMV sequence is okay - the character models are off-putting - but it's not until the transition to the in-game graphics that you realise how ugly this game is. The pre-rendered backgrounds are of a low-resolution, with whatever else which isn't pre-rendered - considering there is never many on-screen at the same time - not looking too good. I would give Tunguska a thumbs-up for the dynamic camera movements even if their execution will leave a lot to be desired, but the problem with switching backgrounds is that it can hinder the already tricky fights, which are far from view sometimes.
Tunguska perhaps gets off to the worst start imaginable. Within the first fifteen minutes it's unlikely that you'll not have had a fight and then had to avoid a trap as the two go hand in hand somewhat predictably. The fights tend to be necessary to progress and are all one-to-one affairs, but with attacks being assigned to the directional-pad its certainly unintuitive.
The traps however, are farcical. Whoever put them there must have been having a right laugh because it is impossible - though it doesn't look it - to run past at least one (I counted two) of the types without getting hurt in the process. Either that or it's extremely tight. I'm not sure what the intentions were, but perhaps the funds weren't available to hire the people to test the game?
Or in that case, people to write music since the only tune found in-game - when you open a door - is sure to grow repetitive. The sound effects are a mixed bag. Not surprisingly there's no voice acting. The fighting sounds are exaggerated as you like complete with a Bruce Lee impersonation, though the lion you come across doesn't quite sound like the king of the jungle should. The health pickup is sure to catch you out in the silence.
Apart from the fighting and dodging traps, there's the exploring that is, finding various items and putting them in the right place which is done through a point-and-click interface over a picture still. It's rather unnecessary since there's usually one way about these things, and while it calls for logic it comes down to hoping something just works. Of course, it doesn't help that there are no written clues in Tunguska; in fact, the only text found in-game regards use of the memory card and a prompt to try again should you die.
What is convenient is that you continue from the last doorway that you passed. You can save the game anywhere you like but as this is to a single file there is the possibility that you might hit a brick wall in terms of progress, thanks to those traps. Their occurrence is low though and the game isnt a lengthy one; I am guessing Tunguska took me about 4 hours to complete and not surprisingly, the ending - the only other FMV sequence - was utter tripe.
While I didnt find this "extraordinary gaming experience" (I quote from the back of the case) to be unbearable, unfortunately the game has almost nothing good going for it. As the gaming tourist I could claim to have been there, but wish you were here? Don't even go there.
Tunguska is a story of inter-dimensional travel and a struggle whose outcome will effect us all. At the centre of it all is Jack Riley. An innocent party (aren't we all!) who finds himself caught up in the battle that could allow the powers of darkness to rule our earth. Only decoding the secret of the castle of the Order of Tunguska will ensure our survival. Facing cruel creatures of the night is only part of the struggle as Riley comes to terms with the side of his inner self he'd rather forget. A custom-made graphics engine and intuitive camera positions make this one slick combat oriented adventure. Puzzle elements will keep you working hard between both barehanded fights and armed skirmishes as you explore the gothic corridors of Tunguska.