The Forgotten: It Begins ...

Review by Jen

A bit in the way of background: "It Begins ..." was the first in a planned series of seven The Forgotten games. According to the information at the start of the game, you are just supposed to get your feet wet and get a feel for the controls, the basics of the story, etc. The designers said they have already begun work on parts 2 and 3, "The Collection" and "Anasazi," and they said the games will become progressively more difficult and more technologically up-to-date. Supposedly, you would find items in this first installment that you won't need until subsequent installments. It later came to pass, since this review was originally written, that the series was cancelled, i.e., "It Ends ..."

Story

"It Begins ..." with you trapped in a study. Whose study is it? Where are you? Who are you? How come you can't leave? You look around a bit and do some reading, find a gun and a pocketwatch, poke around some more, and finally find a mysterious card. You click on the card, and suddenly ... you are traveling through time and space. "Huh?" you say, "what gives?" Well, ever the intrepid adventurer, you look around your new surroundings, literally a road to nowhere, lined with buildings. You turn around in an attempt to see where you came from, and there is a gate with spots for three cards. You put the mysterious card from the study in one of the spots, and voila! it fits ... but nothing happens. You figure you need the other two cards to return to wherever it was you came from, so you take your card back and go exploring. There's not much you can do in any of the buildings except an old, dusty, abandoned, slightly creepy apothecary shop. What do you find there? Where to next? Where are those two other cards? Who are the Forgotten? Who are the Collectors? Enough clues are scattered around that by the end of the game, I was totally sucked in by the plot, but the game ended extremely abruptly, in an attempt to leave one salivating for the second installment, I guess. It's kind of like that Stephen King series, The Green Mile, where instead of buying one moderate to large paperback, you were supposed to buy six slim volumes, all at near full price, just to read one stinking story (which I never did, by the way). And then on top of that, since I couldn't go buy the second game right away, there's no way I would have remembered everything from the first game anyway even had the second one ever been released. The plot would have been great had it been fleshed out more, and fully realized, and stood alone, but as it is, it engendered a state of sheer pissiness on my part.

Graphics

The graphics are nice but slow-loading. This is a Quicktime game; I am beginning to hate Quicktime games. You always have to click to see something or move and then wait for a long time (we're talking entire seconds here, not microseconds, and they add up quickly, especially when there's a lot of backtracking) to see whatever you're aiming at. The scenery in "It Begins ..." is all very nicely drawn. There are not many animations, but they are also well-done. There is one in particular that was spectacular. You are at the end of a sewer tunnel wading in the muck, and you look down at the water and get your finger-pointing cursor. You can touch the water as many times as you want, wherever you want, and get little ripples that overlap each other wherever you click—it is totally realistic and totally pointless, but I wanted the designers to know I appreciate those little touches.

Sounds/Music

The sound effects are sometimes annoying but mostly well-placed and effective. There are a couple of spots where there is a clock tick-tick-tick-tick-ticking, ad infinitum, to no discernable end, and that got on my nerves in a big way. There is also a squeaky sign flapping in the wind that was too realistic—I wanted to oil my computer—but that was mercifully short. That was the annoying stuff; the rest of the effects were just there to do their job. The music should have been left out altogether. The introductory and ending music was lovely, but the in-game music consisted of as few as two or as many as ten notes repeated over and over again, slowly, so as to sound dirge-like.

Interface/Gameplay

This is a standard point-and-click interface with inventory, but additionally there is an area called "collection," which is where your more permanent items go, for example, the card that carries you out of the study. The onscreen inventory gets filled up with about four or five items, and then you must move it to the offscreen inventory to get room for new items, but I rather liked this feature because of the lack of clutter. The "collection" works the same way, but I never got more than two things in it, so I suppose the designers were planning for the future installments with that one. There are a lot of red herrings. There are inventory items that never get used, like the original pocketwatch and gun, and I never did find all three cards to return through the gate, all due to the incompleteness factor. On the plus side, this is one of the very few games where I never needed a hint. You never die, there are no mazes, and there are no sliding tile puzzles, all of which are good for brownie points in my book.

Overall

I feel gypped by dint of not getting a full game. This series idea would have been okay if each game stood on its own merits and subsequent games simply built upon each other to fully flesh out the game world; however, here it results in an incomplete game. I certainly hope future game designers chuck the serial concept for the next game in favor of a series. Despite all my criticisms, The Forgotten was fun and interesting to an extent.

I am unsure whether this type of an easy, short game is a good way to attract future adventure gamers; on the one hand, they may find they really like adventure games, the slower pacing, the cerebralness, the (usually) strong stories, but on the other hand, they may wonder whether all adventure games leave you hanging in such a rude manner. The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Ransom Interactive
Publisher: Dreamcatcher
Release Date: November 1999

Available for: Macintosh Windows

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System Requirements

PC:
Windows 98/95
Pentium 133 MHz
16 MB RAM
8x CD-ROM drive or faster

Mac:
PowerPC 133 MHz
24x CD-ROM drive
32 MB RAM minimum, 64 MB preferred

Both:
130 MB free disk space
Requires QuickTime 3.0 or higher (Quicktime installer included on CD)

Where to Find It

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