I'm impressed and pleased by the semi-revival of the dying point and click adventure game genre on the Nintendo DS. 'Dual Motives' is another addition to the console and I have to say that despite it's flaws, of which there are many, I really enjoyed it.
The game takes place during the Second World War, and you are playing as Dr John Russell. Dr Russell is a scientist who is allegedly spying for the Nazis... and your job is to get to the bottom of the mystery and clear his name.
Gameplay is traditional point and click, with the typical long and convoluted storyline, heaps of dialogue, and laterally logical puzzles. No, it's nothing groundbreaking - but it's refreshing to have this kind of game, in mould of the excellent and classic Broken Sword/Lucas Arts adventure games of old.
Mercifully, items with which you can interact are highlighted, which means that you won't spend hours searching for the solution to a puzzle then realise that the piece of chewing gum required is in fact stuck innocuously to the wall you've just walked past 100 times... however this doesn't mean the game is a walkover. Some of the puzzles are really quite bizarre, however I found that although I struggled occasionally I was able to crack them.
The dialogue is to be honest a little bit shaky. In the translation process it seems a certain finesse has been lost (the game was originally published in German) and as a result none of the conversations are particularly involving. Dr Russell's main companion is his receptionist Audrey, with whom most of his interactions take place. In the way that it's written, the dialogue seems a little wooden, and you get the feeling that perhaps more could have been done with this relationship to drive the storyline.
That said, the game goes a long at a decent pace, and the dialogue is certainly acceptable. The graphics are again a mixed bag. On one hand, the pre-drawn static backgrounds are beautiful and varied. The animations are unfortunately a bit stilted and look slightly wrong! This is unfortunate because obviously the DS has technical capabilities beyond this.
Overall, Undercover: Duel Motives is a good/average adventure game, and an ideal dose for lapsed/existing point-and-click addicts. Enjoy!
Undercover: Dual Motives was a Christmas present from my parents and was really looking forward to playing after thoroughly enjoying Hotel Dusk: Room 215, which is a similar style of game. Undercover had me hooked from the moment I picked it up to the point at wish the end credits rolled but I can't honestly say that it is a game that I would whole-heartedly recommend.
Undercover: Dual Motives is a detective style game set in 1939 London that focuses around physicist Dr John Russell and secretary, Audrey alongside the other scientists that work in the compound.
Dr John Russell's office has been broken into and certain mysterious documents have been passed onto him. Due to the time period in question it doesn't take long for the finger of espionage suspicion to fall onto him. Despite his reluctance he is left with no choice but to attempt to figure out what has happened by himself. Ultimately however he is not alone as at his side throughout is Audrey who is just as determined to prove John's innocence.
Undercover: Dual Motives is played using the control pad, the stylus and all the buttons. Both John and Audrey are playable characters and can be utilised throughout the game. The currently active character appears on the bottom screen (the touch screen) and the inactive one on the top screen. Characters are swapped between using the R1 button on the back on the DS. The active character is moved around the screen using the control pad and then the stylus is used to interactive with on-screen objects. When characters are involved in a conversation a profile picture of both parties involved appear on the top and bottom screen respectively and possible questions will appear on the bottom screen to be selected.
The game is very simple to navigate using the control pad and the stylus is used for interacting with everything else on screen. For example double tapping on a door will open it, whilst tapping on an object will give you two options, one to look at it, the other to pick it up. Not all objects however can be collected but those that are move to your inventory which is accessed using the L1 button and can then be used at other points during gameplay.
The graphics themselves are very good for such a small console and great consideration has been paid to light and texture which gives the game a very unique feel. The characters have a generally natural look and their movement is looks relatively realistic.
Throughout the game there are numerous puzzles and activities that must be completed to progress. Some of these games a rather simple such as playing darts, whereas other despite seeming rather simple are ultimately slightly more complex to complete. The overall puzzle of the game is also relatively strong as I didn't find myself having cracked it minutes into the game and was kept guessing about the ultimate outcome until very close to the end.
Despite my praise so far I did find a few bad points to the game. One of these bad points is the fact that the game is rather short and doesn't take too long to complete. This is what disappointed me the most because I was expecting to spend quite a while on this game and that simply was not possible. The second bad point was the fact that the game just wasn't complex enough and although I enjoyed it I just didn't find it particularly challenging which is what I was really hoping for when I purchased it. The final point to note is that the background music can become rather irritating at times but because there is relatively little other sound it is possible to turn the volume of the game off for the majority of the time.
Like I have already said I did enjoy playing this game for the time it lasted but seriously think that it should and could have been made longer and a little more complex.
Undercover: Dual Motives can be readily purchased from most good game retailers as well as online. Bought new it costs around the £20 - £25 mark but can just as easily be bought pre-owned from around £13.
All in all therefore this game is one that I would recommend if you really like mystery games but not one I would suggest you plummet for if you want a quantity of intrigue to be involved in gameplay.
London, 1939. The new game will put players back in the role of physicist-turned-spy Dr. John Russell. This time around, Russell will be investigating a British research facility with the help of a second playable character named Audrey, the secretary of the facility's director.