Road to India
Review by Jen
I don't know why I put off playing Road to India for so
long. I've had it since it first came out. I finally loaded it
up because I knew it wouldn't take long and I didn't have a lot
of game time this weekend.
Sure enough, the whole game only took about three and a half
hours, one sitting, not a single hint. It's easy, it's short ...
so what does it have to recommend it?
Well, it's fun.
As the game begins, a bomb explodes in a busy New Delhi marketplace
and hurts a famous Indian actress. Cut to present day, a year
later, and Fred and Anousha are having a lovey-dovey goodbye session
at the airport. Anousha is returning to her home country, India,
for a visit with her family. The TV news briefly mentions that
the Indian actress is still missing, and Anousha flies away. Fred
returns home. About a week later, he gets a "dear John"
letter from Anousha, and he can't believe his eyes. Brokenhearted
and disbelieving, he jumps on the next plane to India to confront
Anousha and confirm her intentions. He arrives at her door just
in time to see her being kidnaped in front of her wailing mother.
And thus begins the game, you playing as Fred (yeah, yeah, I knew
you figured that out already).
As you play, you will come to find out that Anousha was taken
by some modern-day Thugs, members of a sect of Kali worshipers
thought to have been disbanded and destroyed in the previous century.
They want to use Anousha as a sacrifice to Kali, and it is your
job to stop them.
Road to India employs a strange storytelling device; alternating
between dream sequences and reality, sometimes blurring the line.
This proved to work very wellallowing for a cliff-hanger
at the end of each sequence that made me want to continue just
to see what would happen next.
Not only that, but even though you can't die in Road to India,
or make a wrong move, the storytelling was done such that
there was a real feeling of suspense and urgency. Not an easy
feat in a straight point-and-click game.
Some of the puzzles, even in the waking sequences, were pretty
ridiculous, but they did make sense within the game's logic scheme.
My favorite goofy thing (and I hope this doesn't constitute a
spoiler) is that you go around throughout the whole game biffing
bad guys on the bean with this and that, and then when you get
to one of the final bad guys, you even have something to biff
him with ... but then Fred gets a conscience ... sort of. Instead
of whacking the baddie over the noggin like he did to all of the
other villains, Fred has to tempt this particular goon to enter
another area wherein Mr. Bad becomes gassed unconscious. Same
end result, right? Why the sudden scruples on Fred's part? And
then after that Fred goes on to open up a can of whoop ass on
another guy with that selfsame stick he could've walloped the
gassed bad guy with. Only in adventure games, I'm tellin' ya.
Puzzles are all integrated well into the game. There are some
people to talk to for clues or help, and a lot of inventory puzzles.
There is a maze, but there's also a built-in solution ... if you're
paying attention. I cottoned onto it pretty quick and once I knew
the trick of it, it took only about four or five moves to get
In fact, you have to pay close attention to your surroundings
throughout the game. There's a fair amount of pixel-hunting for
inventory itemsactually not so much finding individual pixels
as finding the items themselves. When you do spot one, it tends
to stand out from the background so you know it can be picked
up, but you really have to pan around and around, side to side,
up and down, in some screens to find said items.
Movement is node-based with inside-a-sphere panning on each node.
Cursor is fixed in the center of the screen. I mention this because
I know some people will not play fixed-cursor games, so I consider
my duty as a game reviewer discharged.
Voice acting is fair to poor. The actor playing Fred often sounds
as if he's reading his lines out of context. His cadence and word
emphasis are really off the wall sometimes. In fact, all of the
characters have nice voices but they all sound as if they're reading
through the script for the firstand lasttime. I suspect
the game in the original French is better-acted, but I guess I'll
Music is pretty low-key and stays in the background where it
belongs. Sound effects are sound effective. The graphics are nice
but not spectacular.
All in all, Road to India spins a good yarn, it looks
nice, and it's fun to play ... but it is most assuredly too short
and too easy. I would like to see the same team come up with another
game that has more meat to itthey could probably produce
a gold star effort next time around.
Road to India is a recommended title for you first-person
point-and-clickers, or you first-time adventure players, but don't
pay too much. It amounted to about $10 worth of entertainment.
For that price, it's a little jewel.
Release Date: 2001
Four Fat Chicks Links
Pentium II 266 MHz or equivalent
DirectX 8/Direct3D compatible 8 MB 3D accelerated video card
64 MB RAM
400 MB hard drive free space
16X CD-ROM drive
DirectX 8 compatible sound card