Free Game: The White Chamber

By Shamus
on Sep 28, 2007
Filed under:
Game Reviews

Earlier in the week someone lamented the passing of the Adventure Game genre. Adventure games were how a lot of us 30 and 40-somethings were introduced to PC gaming. Adventure games once ruled the Earth, and now we’re lucky if we get one a year. (And we’re even more lucky if it actually tells a full story and not a suckerpunch “installment”.)

I think Erik of the now-defunct Old Man Murray pretty much cut to the heart of things with adventure games and what killed them. The genre was really polluted with stupid titles and awful puzzles. For every Full Throttle and Grim Fandango (both of which I sadly missed) we got a half dozen “Pixel Hunt VII: Maximum Save and Restore”. I loved the humor of both Leisure Suit Larry and Space Quest, but those games had some absurd “puzzles” and a penchant for offing your character every three or four clicks. Ugh. Games from LucasArts were better, but they just don’t make them like that anymore.

But here is an interesting nod to the good old days of LucasArts adventure games: The White Chamber, a sci-fi horror point and click adventure game. You can download the full and complete game for free.

The game makes a poor first impression. I was put off by the anime style (even though I like anime, go figure) and the initial room is exceedingly dull. The very first “puzzle” isn’t much to write home about, either. If you can get through the first five minutes, the game gets a lot better and a lot more interesting. I don’t want to say too much more. It’s good to go into this one cold, without knowing too much about the plot.

You can beat the game in under two hours, but the game is designed to be played multiple times. Experiment with how you answer questions and how you solve problems in order to get the different endings.

Very enjoyable.

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20201Feeling chatty? There are 41 comments.

From the Archives:

  1. Jeremiah says:

    Thanks for the heads-up! I’m not quite in my 30-somethings just yet, but those kind of games made up most of my initial collection of games, too. Can’t wait to get home from work so I can download it to my home computer.

  2. mark says:

    One of the first games i ever played was the curse of monkey island. man, i LOVED that game. then i had to play MI1 and 2 then full throttle and sam n max, and all the other classics. Grim fandango was good, but not AS GOOD, and monkey island 4 was a bit pants really…. :(

  3. Carra says:

    If you’re looking for a good, new adventure, I can advise you to try Runaway 1 & 2.
    Game looks amazing, has some fun characters and above all: the puzzles make sense and feel logical (especially in the sequel)!

  4. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    My first adventure was zak mckracken,on the good old c64(I still remember the whole game by hard,every dialog,every object).I was just a kid back then(well,Im not really an old guy now,but am not a kid though).

    Then there were discworld and monkey island.I loved those.Sadly,good adventures are harder to find than hey in the stack of needles(and quite as painfull).

    Thanks for the link shamus,will dive into that one as soon as possible.

  5. Marty says:

    I really, really liked Loom back in the day, even though it was a bit short. It had a lot of potential. They could totally do a larger (more plot, longer) remake with nice graphics and I’m sure it would do pretty well… Not Halo 3 well, but well enough to make decent money if they budgeted correctly.

  6. Davesnot says:

    There are a few good programs to make your own adventure games.. some are just flow-chart text games.. but some allow good ole infocom-style stuff with the game recognizing actions and objects… if ya want more games.. make em!!

  7. Woerlan says:

    Man. Those were the only types of games I played back in the day. Every single King’s Quest, Police Quest, and Quest for Glory.

    My favorite of all time is still Maniac Mansion 2: Day of the Tentacle

  8. The Gneech says:

    Finding “adventure” games that aren’t just “variations on Myst” is a challenge too.

    What we need now is a beautifully rendered, modern-technology remake of “The Colonel’s Bequest”. THAT was an awesome game.

    -The Gneech

  9. fefe says:

    Carra: I played Runaway, and the only thing I remember is that the puzzles really were stupid,sometimes made no sense at all, annoying and trial and error.
    Sometimes you had to do things like freezing a battery to charge it (this would rather cause the opposit effect in reality). But you could only freeze the battery if you dropped a coffeebag in the waste bin. Then again you could only do that if you talked to some guy, for a weird reason. You couldn’t freeze the batteries for charging either if you didn’t find out that they were not charged yet and probably you had to click on it twice or three times too. -_-. The plot was hearty but also stereotype. It’s a pity but there’s no real reason to play the first part at least.

  10. AngiePen says:

    I’m with Marty — LOOM was great, and I remember being blown away by the awesome graphics when it first came out. [grin] I’ve never been very good at adventure games, though. I ran into a few where you either get killed every two minutes, or you make a mistake in room three and discover in room 489 that the mistake was fatal to your hopes of solving the game, both of which make me quit and walk away. Loom was one of the few I ever finished, and I had a lot of fun with it along the way.

    The only other one I remember the title of was Plundered Hearts, an Infocom game with a really cheesy historical romance theme. Tacky but fun, and I finished it, yay! My mom had a couple of point-and-click adventures on her Mac that were a lot of fun and I (along with everyone else in the family in addition to our immediate circle of friends) played through and finished them. I can remember some of the art but don’t remember the titles. :/ I think one set in a castle was Shadowsomething? Anyone else remember those, late 80s or very early 90s?

    Angie

  11. For text-based adventure games, check out the modern interactive fiction (IF) community centered around the Usenet newsgroups rec.arts.int-fiction & rec.games.int-fiction and the IF Archive. A good starting point is the community-organized yearly competition, the winners of which regularly surpass in quality anything published by Infocom or its like.

  12. Rubes says:

    Love those games as well. I’m going back and playing Secret of Monkey Island myself these days…great stuff.

    If anyone’s interested, we’re in the process of taking a great IF game from a couple of years ago and turning it into a full 3D adventure game…complete with text input and output as well. Check it out at http://www.greatgamesexperiment.com/game/vespers3d/ if you’re interested…love to hear some thoughts.

  13. Ferrous Buller says:

    It’s amusing that you link that OMM article, as Jane Jensen is about to return to adventure games – for better or for worse.

  14. Jimmie says:

    What we need now is a beautifully rendered, modern-technology remake of “The Colonel’s Bequest”. THAT was an awesome game.

    Oh absolutely! The follow up to that game “The Dagger of Amon-Ra” was an awesome game as well.

  15. Poet says:

    Strange, I picked this up a couple weeks ago and fell in love with it, but was unsure of pimping it here. Guess I should have.

  16. Knastymike says:

    Wow, that article was dead on.

  17. OldGrover says:

    From the article : Games from LucasArts were better, but they just don’t make them like that anymore.

    THAT’s the question. Why don’t they make them any more? I was thinking about this… what I really want to play is Day of the Tentacle style games. Monkey Island. THAT sort of game.

    Hrmph.

    Maybe I should write it.

  18. Jansolo says:

    For Shamus:

    If you read this posts, pay attention to Carra’s words (3): Runaway is a great game.

    Even though fefe (9) doesn’t agree (he said the plot is stereotype. Well, plots are almost always stereotype. I remember the previous discussion about RPGs, and story was one of the most attractive parts in this kind of games. But plots are always something like dude-girl-evil-goog-and_save_the_world).

    I love day of the tentacle too.

    And thanks for the recomendation. I will try.

  19. Jansolo says:

    I’ve forgotten:

    The white chamber has available English, Czech, French, Greek and Russian text.

    Fantastic, four hundred millions of Spanish speakers can practise speaking a not-wide-speak language.

    Sorry for this comment.

  20. Dave Brown says:

    I think you could make a pretty good case for Ico being an adventure game, actually.

  21. Ken Talton says:

    im in ur internets
    messin’ up ur natural 20

  22. Ryan says:

    This is completely off topic, but I just feel compelled to post this on your site:

    It ain’t 20-sided, but it’s still pretty cool.

    http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-us&from=00&showPlaylist=true&playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:32636870-e652-4314-9c88-06060edebcd7

  23. Matt says:

    Good, recent independent adventure games are actually pretty easy to find if you hunt around for them. For instance:

    Emily Enough by Logan
    new.bigbluecup.com/games.php?action=detail&id=602

    Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy by Alasdair Beckett
    new.bigbluecup.com/games.php?action=detail&id=860

    Spooks by Erin Robinson
    livelyivy.com/?page_id=3

    KnightSquire and The Family Treasure by Buloght
    planetfreeplay.com/game/Knightsquire/
    planetfreeplay.com/game/The-Family-Treasure/

    Apprentice by Herculean Effort Productions
    herculeaneffort.com/index.php?page=games
    and it’s sequel

    the Winter Rose by BaRoN
    new.bigbluecup.com/games.php?action=detail&id=643

    Sydney Finds Employment by istvan
    new.bigbluecup.com/games.php?action=detail&id=827

    5 Days A Stranger by Yahtzee Croshaw, the ‘Zero Punctuation’ guy.
    http://www.fullyramblomatic.com/5days/
    and its three sequels… and pretty much all Yahtzee’s other games.

    Missing by Radical Poesis Games
    studioeres.com/games/missing

    … and that’s just a start. The Adventure Game Studio engine has a huge developer community, which produces sweet games pretty regularly. Of course, their site is pretty much impossible to navigate.

  24. Ben Finkel says:

    Very fun, and very gory. I can’t wait for this group’s next project. Thanks for the link, Shamus!

    And shame on the rest of you for not discussing the game, which is the matter at hand. I rather wanted to see your opinions on it.

    Ben

  25. axcalibar says:

    Maniac Mansion Deluxe
    http://www.gamershell.com/download_5988.shtml

    Now if only someone’d put out a new Rex Nebular game.
    I joke.

  26. Zaghadka says:

    Thanks for the heads up. I’m currently playing Full Throttle in ScummVM, but it’ll be nice to check out something recent.

  27. Dangerous_Jade says:

    Ooooohhhh, adventure games, my favorite.

    Day of the Tentacle still holds my all-time number one slot, although the original Maniac Mansion is an extremely close second.

    I think my very first adventure game was Hugo’s House of Horrors. I spent hours playing that at the library before we had a computer, learning TRUE meanings of frustration, sadistic game designers, and a few words my mom didn’t know I knew. =D

    I second the poster who mentioned Yatzee’s games (5 Days a Stranger, etc). I find most of my adventure games these days on Abandonia and it’s sister site, Reloaded. Right now I’m playing “Hotel Dusk”, a title I was excited about as being an adventure game for the DS, but – meh. It’s extremely limited in its interactive-ness.

    Thanks for the link, Shamus. I’m always on the lookout for a good adventure game. Even a bad one, I’m not too picky. =D

  28. mark says:

    just got around to playing this. Personally, i thought some of the puzzles were rather obscure, and the ending was just rubbish….

  29. brashieel says:

    I’ll have to give it a shot. A free game is a free game, after all. Also, this one sounds interesting.

  30. Miral says:

    I recommend Yahtzee’s games too (http://www.fullyramblomatic.com/). They’re well designed and a lot of fun.

    I also recommend Linus Bruckman (http://xiigames.com/linus) — it’s only one room, and basically one puzzle (or three puzzles, depending on how you look at it), but the concept is simply awesome and the execution is flawless. (At least I think so.)

  31. Mrs. Peel says:

    Shamus, this game is scaring me. How about a “Not for wussies” warning next time? *looks nervously behind her* Dude, I’m totally going to have to read Heidi for like an hour before I can manage to fall asleep.

    (I just got to the chasm part, past the passageways with the eye. I ran like hell, not stopping to examine them!)

  32. Stranger says:

    Well, I fell in love with “The Journeyman Project 2” and the third game . . . the puzzles were NOT that arcane, though it did take some searching. Everything you should do . . . you COULD. And very rarely could you “die” unless you did something rather wrong. The THIRD game took away your ability to kill yourself, far as I know, but the puzzles were slightly better documented.

    I loved playing the King’s Quest games . . . but I mostly fell in love with them for games Five and Six; seven was too random in places for my tastes and the text parsers didn’t work properly for me earlier than Five.

    I also liked Myst and Riven. Why is there such HATE for them?!

  33. Needs a Mac or Nintendo (Wii or DS, I’m not picky) port ASAP, I’m giving up on PC gaming. The last straw was Oblivion releasing a “hotfix” to let you /INSTALL/ their new Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion (http://nwvault.ign.com/fullstory.php?id=33470).

    From now on, I’m only playing games on platforms that don’t make me want to become a luddite hermit.

    – Taffer

  34. lost chauncy says:

    Commercial Adventure games are indeed rare..er these days. But even the occasional decent title is better than none at all. If you haven’t tried any of the newer ones (since the classic days) I recommend Syberia 1 & 2. Great story, voice acting and a thoroughly cinematic score.

  35. Talus Perdix says:

    Stranger, I can’t understand the Myst/Riven/etc. hate. I loved those games, the rich worlds, the quiet almost Zen-like revealing of the plot.

    Another game I liked was Below the Root. I’d kill for a PC version of that game.

  36. Jacen says:

    Are you thinking of Shadowgate, #10? I played that on the NES, and it was pretty awesome back then.

  37. asterismW says:

    More text-based adventure games can be found at http://www.rinkworks.com/adventure/ . Not only are they fun and interesting, but the games will let you undo a move if you do something that will prevent you from winning. It auto-saves the games as well, so when you come back to the site, you start from where you left off.

  38. Alan De Smet says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. I got around to playing The White Chamber this weekend, and it’s the best graphic adventure game I’ve played in a while.

    I found the theme of humanity versus achievement and amusing comment on how adventure game players approach problem, an idea reinforced when the protagonist finishes assembling something and comments that it was pointless and why did she do that.

  39. Kizer says:

    Another great, free point and click puzzle/adventure game is the Submachine series. You can find them at any free game website, though I recommend http://www.armorgames.com

  40. Spider Dave says:

    Gee, thanks Shamus. Now I can’t walk into my kitchen without being afraid my face is going to melt off.
    This game is excellent! I very much enjoyed playing it, as scary as it was at 1:00 AM with no lights on.

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