Quiet Week-end in Capri
Review by Old
Rooster and Mother Hen
"Twas on the Isle of Capri that I found
Beneath the shade of an old walnut tree;
Oh, I can still see the flowers blooming 'round her,
Where we met on the Isle of Capri."
"Please, please," I beg the wife (Mother Hen), "stop
humming, let alone screechingly singing, that old ballad."
"But," she rejoins, "this is one of the only games
you have that I like; I can help; plus we'll win the contest and
get a free trip to Capri!"
"After all," she continues, "I helped you solve
Sydney Mystery; you promised we would someday go
there and we haven't."
"And there's that nice Italian man, Silvio, helping you out,
who sounds very sexy, and I can't wait to meet him!"
"But you're so bleedingly cheap, you old sod"Mother
Hen is English, a very classy lady"it looks like I'll
have to win the flaming contest to get the holiday, won't I?"
"But don't worry, Luv, it doesn't look very hard, does it?"
Rooster surrenders"All right, my little chickadee, we'll
see if we can figure it out; although, I must confess, the trip
won't be much of a 'quiet' weekend, will it, with you along?"
The Journey Begins
So what is this game causing such anticipation in the Rooster household?
A Quiet Week-end is the creation of a very talented two-person
team with two major sections (the game, not the team). First, we
have a "navigation program," which allows a peaceful and
stress-free tour of the gorgeous island of Capri. Employing over
4,500 still photographs, lovely views, an invisible tourist guide,
and a relaxing soundtrack, this portion of the game leads you on
a comprehensive walking tour of the island. You'll interact with
some of the residents (translations included), have a good map to
guide you, and generally get a very nice sense of why the island
is such a popular tourist destination.
A Quiet Week-end ships on two CDs, one for install, one
for play. With my XP system, there was no problem placing the 700
MB files on the hard drive. Unfortunately, your monitor has to be
manually set to 1024×768 every time you play, and a game start
icon isn't automatically placed on the desktop, but this is remedied
by pulling it from the game file. The interface is colorful and
logical, both in the Tour and Adventure modes, with clear and comprehensive
instructions a click away. Indeed, the game is entirely driven by
the mouse, in the traditional point-and-click adventuring manner.
Faint outlines are available, if you choose, to help find the "hotspots"
needed to move to the next view. There is no rotation or movement
within a particular scene, but transitions are helped by continuing
musical themes and crowd/traffic noises.
"I've Done It; That Wasn't So Hard!"
Breathlessly, Mother Hen wakes me in the middle of the night to
say that, on her own, she has completed the game and wants me to
get the contest entry mailing ready. Groggily, I find that what
she has done essentially is to complete the tour of the island.
She's enjoyed it tremendously, even taken some pictures (included),
and she can't understand why others are finding it so difficult.
Remember, we've spoken of two partsthe Navigation Program
(Tour) and the Adventure Game. It's the latter that needs to be
solved, and, at the point of this writing, the incredible combined
brain power of Mother Hen and myself has been unable to unlock the
final secret(s). Even sexy Silvio, for whom Mother Hen has a soft
spot, won't give us a walkthrough, but he has given some general
hints, to be found here.
The adventure portion proceeds initially much like the tour. You're
a visiting tourist, looking for your hotel. After being given a
map and finding this location, you suddenly think you're either
having a stroke or your monitor is blowing up! Out of the blue,
after some twisted scenes, you're in a twilight zone, almost another
dimension. Initially, the sounds of traffic and people are gone,
and you're left to wander. The hotel is closed, there's no guide
available, and you're left with only your wits, the map, and a trusty
Where Have All the People Gone?
At first, the scene is eerie, with pictures likely taken very early
in the morning when no one was around. From the hubbub of Umberto
Square (the "fulcrum of the universe") and the noise of
cars, we find ourselves in deadly silence. Our initial wanderings
are done in a state of near panic. Let's go here, and here, and
herethere must be someone, some answers somewhere! Finally,
a doorbell is responded to with a request for a favor"Please
get the money for me in the lantern close to uncle Pasquale's house."
In the true spirit of adventure gaming, you need to examine and
pick up everything, read all signs, talk to everyone you can (37
characters available), thoroughly explore the large map, and run
errands. At the point of this writing, in spite of what Mother Hen
initially thought, our game is a "work in progress." We've
done a lot. We, and others (see our Forum
thread), have responded to concerns such as these:
- Why do I need a fruit converter and a plutonium battery?
- Who is Graviteillo, and why does his bust have sunglasses?
- Why am I being called Rafele?
- Where is Villa Jovis?
- Why can't I find Anacapri on the map?
- How do I contact the Black Hole Phone Company?
- Did you know there are five basic light types?
- Why am I being followed?
- Is Silvio a fan of H.G. Wells?
One of the pleasures of this adventure is its openness and non-linearity.
Of course, there is one solution at the end, and most puzzles require
certain items or ingredients to solve, but the developers have spent
considerable time and energy to assure that paths to that outcome
may be incredibly varied. As some of us discuss together our explorations
and mystery-unraveling, it's clear that many of the necessary steps
may be done in a different order, as opposed to games where you
can't get to point "C" without first completing "A"
and "B." It reminds me of Morrowind,
a very open-world RPG, in that regard.
Sorry, but I really can't give anything else awaythat would
be cheating, wouldn't it? Largely because of the prize at the end,
there has been considerable secrecy about revealing puzzle solutions,
and even hints, with trial and error, as well as good old logic,
being your only friends. Let me say the underlying story is surprising
and creative, and it has a nice touch of humor. The game is hard,
very hard, but it's also fun!
The settings continue to be beautiful to behold, even when you're
thinking hard and ready to bang the monitor after aimlessly wandering.
The background musical themes are a pleasant surprise, and one can
understand why an audio CD has been developed. And, again, the interface
is very smooth and logical, with the only possible criticism being
that there are only three save game slots available, with old saves
overwritten by new in whichever slot you choose.
Let's Get Serious for a Moment ...
Of all the independently developed adventure games I've played,
A Quiet Week-end ranks as one of the very best in terms of
interface design. Admittedly, it would be nice if the lovely scenes
could occupy the full screen, instead of two-thirds, but the trade-off
for this is an interface and set of gameplay mechanics that is extremely
clear, efficient, and helpful in the facilitation of your mystery-solving
enterprise. The cursor arrow depictions, the suitcase for inventory,
the use of that inventory, the help section, the use of save/return
options, the precise maps and getting around, the notebook that
takes down everythingall of these are done extremely well.
It's hard to believe this is the first major effort of this developing
There Really Is a Contest!
You have until September 30, 2003 to be the first to present the
solution to the developers. Your (my) prize will be a weekend for
two at a four-star hotel, including dinners Friday and Saturday
at acclaimed restaurants, with 100 "second place" prizes
consisting of the audio CD. If you win instead of me, please take
Mother Hen along. She's really looking forward to it, and it would
relieve me of her company for a few days ("stop, stop the hitting,
I'm just kidding, dear"). Also, bring your notebook, because
who knows what adventures may come your way?
I'm pleased to award A Quiet Week-end in Capri our coveted
Gold Star. The game is one of the most pleasant surprises I've recently
experienced. Expecting something of a "Myst clone,"
we instead find a title that resembles or honors Myst, in
that it uses static slide scenes, as well as having a very different
kind of storyline. But what it also adds is a huge number of views
in a real-world setting, accompanied by lovely musical themes and
considerably more character interaction. Indeed, A Quiet Week-end
exhibits not only two of the hallmarks of fine adventure titlesstory
accompanied by relevant puzzlesbut also adds the unusual component
of a real place that can even simply be toured, if you wish! This
dynamic developing duo has demonstrated a talent for game-making
that I hope will not end with this projectobviously one done
with care and love. With appreciation for the difficulty, which
is understandable due to the contest, I would highly recommend you
experience this delightful, charming and unusual way of spending
A Quiet Week-end in Capri.
"Summertime was nearly over,
Blue Italian skies above,
I said, 'Lady I'm a rover,
Can you spare a sweet word of love?'
She whispered softly, 'tis best not to linger,'
Then as I kissed her hand I could see
She wore a plain golden ring on her finger.
'Twas goodbye to the Isle of Capri."
Developer: Silvio and Gey Savarese
Publisher: Oxiana s.n.c.
Game (North and South America)
Release Date: March 2003
Four Fat Chicks Links
700 MB free hard disk space
64 MB RAM
Monitor with XGA real resolution, capable of 1024×768, with
Where to Find It
Game (North America, South America, Israel) $29.99
the Developer (Rest of World) €22,00 (approx. $27)
Prices/links current as of 03/02/04
Links provided for informational purposes only.
FFC makes no warranty with regard to any transaction entered into
by any party(ies).