One of these days, I’m going to finish an Adventure Game at a reasonable hour. The final chapter of The Journey Down Trilogy kept me up well beyond my bedtime.
Continuing on from Chapter One, the second and third acts are much more expansive, ambitious, bombastic, hilarious and bizarre. Chapter 2 is certainly the “Empire Strikes Back” or the “Godfather 2” of the trilogy. It is steeped in mist and darkness, as predicted, but the lead characters propel themselves through the fogs with joy and optimism. The blaring jazz of the soundtrack is as much of a beacon as the lighthouse in Port Artue; a worthy tribute to the prematurely departed Simon D’Souza. Nothing is perfect, though, and Bwana is occasionally thrust into some book-based conundrums which should have been frustrated by his antipathy to reading. I found this shattered the immersion briefly. Nevertheless, these interludes were brief cataracts in the misty ocean.
Chapter 3 turns the volume – and the camp – up to eleven. It is bonkers. Have you ever longed for a mashup of The Lion King, Miami Vice, Bladerunner, Robocop, Raiders of the Lost Ark and This is Spinal Tap? Your wishes have been answered! No cliche is left unturned as the Journey accelerates towards its end. It is quite a spectacle, albeit the conflicting art styles and slightly more generic soundtrack do detract from the experience a little. I think the actual adventuring suffers a bit in this one. The story drives through several small interactive silos, many of which seem to have been placed purely to break up the cut-scenes. It feels as if there has been a missed opportunity to expand the scope of the puzzles beyond the rudimentary “find, combine, use” model. The connections between the Underland and St Armando could have been exploited like the time-travelling portaloo in Day of the Tentacle. What isn’t missing, though, is fun and charm. The writers have nailed that to perfection.
Final verdict: charming, expansive, inventive and warm. I would be glad to spend more time in the company of Bwana and Kito in the future. Thanks again to @firstname.lastname@example.org for the recommendation.