Review by MW
Just One Chick's Opinion
"Puzzle mania" is the best phrase to describe Safecracker.
If you are looking for a change of pace from regular story-driven
adventures and really want to see how smooth your puzzling skills
are, then this just might be your cup of tea.
Make sure you get the manual if you buy the game because it contains
the premise of the game in the first few pages. For those of you
who may have the game but not the manual, I'll give you the inside
scoop on the job.
You, my friend, are in search of a job and have been asked to
interview for a position with Crabb & Sons Safe Company. The
interview process is all about your abilities, the ability to
crack the many safes in their mansion, and the ability to do it
within 12 hours. Ultimately your contract for employment is contingent
upon your retrieving the contract out of the master safe. Are
you up for the challenge?
Cracking the Details
For those of you already panicking at the thought of "timed
puzzles," you can breath a little easierthere is only
one timed puzzle at the beginning of the game; the rest of your
gaming involves only the time frame for you to get hold of your
contract. The time you are allotted will allow you plenty of leeway
to investigate and look around the building, which is quite extensive.
There are numerous things to look at and pick up, some red herrings
and others for use in puzzles, but clues are everywhere.
The puzzles were almost always related to safes, and they ranged
from easy to some pretty difficult hair pullers. One of the nastiest
puzzles is a sliding tile puzzle at the beginning of the game,
but those of you who fear to tread in slider territory take heartthe
creators of the game have given the fearful a life rope if you
can't solve it ... but I'm not tellingyou'll have to give
it the ol' one-two before getting out of it. A couple of puzzles
were solved through sheer luck, but most were solved through logical
deduction and a little bit of pen-and-paper work.
One thing that impressed me about the puzzles was the ingenuity
and creativity of their designs. They kept the game from getting
boring, a difficult feat to pull off in a purely puzzle-driven
While working on cracking the safes in each room, I encountered
a host of different music selections that varied according to
the feeling of the room. The game does have a feature to turn
off the music if it is too distracting, but it already stops automatically
when a safe is being worked on. This little detail was a big plus
in my book.
The graphics are pretty good overall, but they don't get a perfect
rating. The designers, while thoughtful in the decor and obviously
well-versed in art history, failed the "gamers need to be
able to see it and read it" test. I felt that there were
times I really could have used a magnifying glass. Additionally,
the game area is framed, so I didn't have as much freedom to look
up and down in certain areas as I would have liked, and at times
this was a source of frustration for me.
The inventory system in the game is easy to access, as it is
visible at all times. Some people may find that they will have
to make adjustments to the graphics acceleration if their processor
is too fast; otherwise inventory-scrolling will zip from A to
Z without stopping for all of the middle stuff. Unfortunately,
my computer was too fast even after adjusting the acceleration
to "none"the alternate technique is to use a short,
quick click on the scroll arrow, which helped at times, but often
I would have to repeat the maneuver to stop the scrolling in the
area containing the item I needed.
Another snafu in the game is that if you open a safe and leave
something inside thinking you can return later to pick it up ...
well, the game has different plans for you. Once an item is left
in a safe that has been cracked, it is permanently lost to the
player. The same goes for safes that have multiple keys that are
needed to open them up. I found this out the hard way. Using one
key in a safe and leaving it there while going on to find the
others results in a safe that will never open. Since you are the
only person in the building, it seems odd that leaving a key in
a safe would cause it to disappear forever, but somehow it does.
This may not totally ruin the game but it certainly does not make
it any easier. Remember, forewarned is forearmed! There are multiple
saves, so believe it when I say you will want to make full use
of them to avoid heartache.
Winding my way from room to room, floor to floor, it was easy
to get lost in the sea of rooms, but getting to my contract was
worth all the hard work. The game even rewards players who complete
the task of obtaining their contract with the option of printing
out a certificate of completion.
For people interested in a story-driven game, this is not the
one you are seeking, but if you are looking for that change of
pace or are just in a puzzling mood, then give this one a try.
I think you'll find it fills that craving for logical fun.
Release Date: 1997
Four Fat Chicks Links
Pentium 100 MHz
15 MB free hard disk space
16 MB RAM (24 MB recommended)
4X CD-ROM drive
Power Mac or faster
Mac OS 7.5 or later
6.5 MB RAM (8 MB or more recommended)
15 MB hard disk space
4X or faster CD-ROM drive
Where to Find It
& Bits 12.95
Prices/links current as of 02/25/03
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by any party(ies).