The Moment of Silence
Review by Old
"I Don't Know, Mrs. Oswald, it All Seems Pretty Strange"
Our Hero, Peter
The Matrix, Minority Report, Blade Runner, I, Robotfilms
set in the not-too-distant future; films where the individual becomes
a cipher; films featuring a faceless government; stories of intrigue,
deceit, power, corruption. The Moment of Silence is the best
adventure game ever to deal with this milieu and comes highly recommended.
The year is 2044. We have not yet arrived at Asimov's vision of
the future, but the seeds are clearly present. Our enigmatic hero,
Peter Wright, leads a quiet existence, working as a P.R. specialist
for the government. He hears a commotion in the middle of the night
in his drab and ordinary apartment building. In the morning, he
finds his neighbor, Mrs. Oswald, and her son, Tommy, terribly distraught
over an early morning police raid in which her husband was arrested.
Initial enquires by Peter lead to denial by the police that anything
And thus our mystery begins, with Peter simply trying to help his
neighbor. Of course, he has his own set of problems, it turns out,
plus he wanders into an unpleasant and complicated web of secrecy
"The Conversation Costs Will Be Debited from Your Messenger
Account" Mobile Operator
Let's chat a bit about some of the technical aspects of the game.
The Moment of Silence comes on a DVD-ROM and offers minimum
as well as full installation3.5 GB. A 32 MB graphics
card is required. Orchestral themes, offered while installation
is occurring, beautifully set a mood of mystery and a sense of foreboding.
MOS uses the traditional point-and-click adventuring approach
for character movement. Indeed, everything is managed with the mouse,
except for an "H" key for help with hotspots (exits to
another scene, critical items) and "M" for your friendly
Mobile Messengera cell phone extraordinaire.
Inventory, interface, various settings for graphics are all done
well and smoothly. I must say a word, however, about the now-infamous
StarForce protection system used on MOS. On several occasions,
I was unable to return to the story due to StarForce checking the
disc on my already installed game and saying there was a copy protection
error. Finally, after several restarts, I could proceed. This is
most annoying, and I've never experienced this phenomenon with any
other copy protection methodology.
As with most adventure titles, precise and complete screen exploration
is crucial. And you will have a lot of screens to exploremore
than 500! Sometimes, needed inventory objects will be almost impossible
to spot (one such occurs very early on), but due diligence will
usually bring you there, plus the knowledge that something is really
missing that you might need. The "H" key can be useful
in this regard. I did find that the mouse cursor could be fussy
at times, particularly with another program running simultaneouslyHyperSnap
in this case. Shutting that off alleviated the problem for the most
part. Everything considered, however, the technical aspects of the
game went well, and I don't have any serious complaints.
"Hmm ... I'm Not Quite Sure Where I Should Go" Peter,
The Moment of Silence strikes a particularly good balance
between the linearity needed to move the story along and the opportunity
to explore this interesting society more fullyparticularly
with conversations. For example, if Peter sits in the primary transportation
modality, the SATCAR, without having completed certain tasks, potential
destinations literally will not show on the map. Thus, the securing
of an item or content of a conversation becomes critical for progression.
However, there are "side trips," many of these interchanges
with fascinating characters, that serve to embellish and enrich
Indeed, it has been three years since the team at House of Tales
produced a game, and I think they have used the time extremely well.
This New York City of the future comes to life with stunning graphics
and a sense of aliveness unusual for an adventure title. The 75
prerendered and animated locations are intriguing and, although
your technical ability to wander a particular screen is limited,
you'll wish to explore as much as you can. From apartments to parks,
the design team has gone all out with an obviously loving sense
The production is enhanced by equally attractive and sometimes
lengthy cutscenes, beginning with the opening apartment break-in
scenario and continuing to others of even greater detail and length.
But even though the graphics impress, voice acting, ambient sounds
and movie-quality orchestral themes raise The Moment of Silence
yet a notch higher. I was anticipating a "phone-in"
script translation effort, and instead found wonderfully acted renderings,
from the lead all the way to the crazed park guru (or was he crazed?).
A special word needs to be said about the portrayal of Peter Wright.
This is essentially a story about and told by him, and the actor
brings a sense of believability, compassion, self-doubt, even pain
which is quite remarkable. If awards were to be given for "Best
Acting in a Game," this fellow would be a surefire nominee!
Yet fine graphics, sound, even great acting can all create not
much more than an attractive shell of a game if the story and dialogue
are not worthy. Thankfully, it is this essential aspect of The
Moment of Silence that shines the most. The "Best Acting"
nomination needs to be accompanied by a nod to "Best Writing"
in a game! The futuristic, sci-fi theme, depicting a grey, complicated,
depersonalized world, is articulated extremely well. The story would
make a terrific read as a novel. But not only is the plot involving,
so are the characters (and I do mean characters!) with whom you
interact. You'll meet over 30, and they are a diverse lot, from
the park guru to the boy who lost his father to a fascinating gangster.
You'll want to chat with them all, find out more about what they
think of this society. Sure, you can just try to move the story
along in a linear way and skip some of the embellishments, but you'll
be doing a disservice to your gaming pleasure. The Moment of
Silence is a game to be savored and presents a world in which
it's good to spend time. Plan on a 20-hour, not 15-hour, gameplay
experience. It's worth it!
These days, we succumb to so many game ads about the latest and
most powerful graphics and surround sound, yet we hear little about
story and writing, the underpinnings that support and create the
very best games. Graphics and sound are certainly present in spades,
but it is the outstanding premise, story and dialogue that really
makeThe Moment of Silence such a satisfying, even remarkable
"Everybody Needs a Teddy for a Friend" Peter,
to the Oswalds' Son
Puzzles in The Moment of Silence are primarily inventory
and conversationally based. Inventory items are nicely labeled,
readily retrieved and used. Mostly you'll be figuring out your next
step with direct hints or inferences drawn from conversations. And
you may occasionally have to return to follow up. I found the game
often tough and didn't want to spoil it by consulting a walkthrough,
but since the world and writing were so excellent, I simply decided
to take my time and let things fall into placewhich they did!
"Thank You for Using Our Service" Mobile Messenger
The Moment of Silence is one of the best adventure games
of 2004 and likely the best ever to deal with a futuristic, Orwellian
theme of corruption and conspiracy. Story, dialogue, character development,
settings, artwork, acting, and music are all superb. Gameplay is
traditional and effectively accomplished. There are occasional glitches
in movement or pixel-finding, but these are minor and typically
expected annoyances. They do not take away from an outstanding PC
adventure and one that comes most highly recommended!
What I Liked Most About The Moment of Silence
- A story that could be an entertaining novel;
- Dark, almost oppressive mood;
- Beautiful settings, detailed graphics;
- Fine, professional level voice acting;
- Believable, interesting characters ...
- Who render one of the finest scripts of any game this year.
What I Liked Least About the Game
- StarForce copy protection is a pain;
- Occasionally fussy mouse cursor action;
- Some pixel-hunting becomes obscure.
Release Date: November 5, 2004
Four Fat Chicks Links
800 MHz (P4 1.4 GHz recommended)
256 MB RAM (512 MB recommended)
32 MB DirectX compatible video card (128 MB recommended)
3.5 GB free hard disk space
2X DVD-ROM drive (this is very important!)
Where to Find It
Links provided for informational purposes only.
FFC makes no warranty with regard to any transaction entered into
by any party(ies).