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 Mozart: The conspirators of Prague

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HandsFree
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PostSubject: Mozart: The conspirators of Prague   Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:14 pm

Many adventuregame reviews list the absence of musical/tone puzzles under 'positive'.
Making a game about Mozart must be risky business then, if part of the already small AG community doesn't welcome such tasks.
I've just finished the game, and I'm still wondering how many will actually enjoy this game. At least one though, because I did. But I'm an adventuregame enthusiast, play music, like nonsensical stories, and are forgiving of technical inconsistencies.

Mozart really does try hard to scare you off. After the introduction your first task in this thrilling mystery is to.... make a cup of coffee. And while doing that you will find out that Mozart walks veeeeeery sloooooowly. And if you doubleclick he runs very slowly. Fortunately there isn't alot of backtracking needed, but I'm afraid this unexciting start will set the tone (pun alert) for most players.

The game consists of 18(!) chapters that all take place in a single location, most of them only a few screens big. A next chapter usually moves Mozart to another place, making gameplay strictly linear.
Mozart spends the first few chapters with unadventurous daily routine until he finally finds time to visit the freemasons. It's only there that the actual adventure truly takes off, and by that time you are already in chapter 7. The earlier chapters are shorter though than the later ones.
From there the story wanders into Broken Sword territory and way beyond. Apart from cartoony games I don't think I've ever experienced a story as weird as this one. And I liked the game better for it. I was glad the game dropped all pretense and just told a silly story. But if you accept the premise, that I won't reveal, it all makes some sort of in-game-sense. And you really must work to stop the titular conspirators. Several times I thought I reached the endgame, only to find out there was much more to it.

You work your way through the story by using standard AG inventory management, codebreaking, solving mechanical puzzles (those freemasons have a secret handshake, so you bet they also have a secret mechanism for everything, especially if the clockmaker is also a member), and musical puzzles.
The inventory tasks are straight forward and since you never can walk away further than a few screens, even trying everything with everything will only take a few minutes.
I enjoyed the mechanical puzzles. They are definitely on the easy side but that fits the not-so-serious storyline, I think. Most puzzles occured two or three times, increasing in difficulty a bit.

The manual states you don't need to know musical notation to solve the puzzles, but I'm not sure how that would work.
Several times Mozart needs to correct or adjust a score. You see the score in wich fragments are switched around. If you can read and understand music, it's a nice puzzle to see if you can find out what belongs where. If you don't read music, I guess it will be a test of pattern recognition. I like to know how others are able to solve these.
You also need to tune a piano twice. It's not really out of tune, but the notes are wrong. If you can distinguish higher tones from lower tones it should be easy.
And, also twice, you have to put fragments of the Rondo Alla Turka in order. By ear.

And then there's the conducting. Early on, Mozart finds the Book Of Harmonies (I suppose it will be called in English) that reveales 6 secrets of Freemasonry, but in code. Here you must conduct an orchestra by following a circle around the screen with your cursor/baton. Putting in such a task that requires a steady hand and good eye-hand coordination must be the strangest design decision of all. Somehow I fear that players looking for that type of challenge won't be overwhelmed by Mozart.
And it's not educational either, because the patterns don't resemble real conducting at all.
After the conducting you have to finally decode the secret message by erasing superfluous letters. The better the conducting, the more letters are already erased for you. So if your performance was bad, the positive side is that at least there's some challenge to the codebreaking.
And since there are 6 secrets, you will be doing this 6 times.

I played the Dutch version of the game, but all voices were English and with a few exeptions the voice acting sounded good to me. Subtitles and descriptive labels were Dutch, but unfortunately the codebreaking was also Dutch, so this version won't do if you don't understand the language.
Also it uses Starforce.

With about 14 hours it took me longer than I expected to reach the endmovie, in wich there's mention of 'new adventure'. The game has been criticized very harshly, but here I actually think it might take only a little to improve a lot. It must be doable to have Mozart move around faster, get to the mystery faster and not repeat the same puzzles so often. And skip the conducting.
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PostSubject: Re: Mozart: The conspirators of Prague   Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:13 pm

Than you HandsFree. Very nice review. Is this a point and click control ? And do I understand correctly that the game is voiced in English or is it voiced in Dutch by English actors ? Is it a large or small inventory ? Are the hearing musical puzzle easy to detect the difference in sound ?

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PostSubject: Re: Mozart: The conspirators of Prague   Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:14 am

It's all point & click. The Dutch version is indeed voiced in English by English actors. The inventory isn't very big. Only a few items at a time.
It's always hard to comment on music puzzles. It's the one puzzletype I'm really good at, but others hate them passionately.
But in this game they are easier than in many other games. For instance two adjacent keys on the piano give the same tone, so one of them needs to go one step up or down.
In another puzzle it helps if you know how the Turkish rondo sounds, but I'm sure you do (even if you don't know it).
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PostSubject: Re: Mozart: The conspirators of Prague   Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:24 am

Thank you Hands Free. It is difficult commenting on the easiness or hardness of a puzzle given that one person may be really good at a certain type of puzzle while another person might find the same puzzle difficult. I usually find sound puzzles difficult but these puzzles sound like they are not too difficult.

And it is a conspiracy based story ? Conspiracy stories are one of my favorite type of games.

The screenshots look like it is a beautiful game.

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PostSubject: Re: Mozart: The conspirators of Prague   Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:29 pm

Yes, the story is about a conspiracy, but in a very nonsensical way. That's not necessarily bad, as long as you don't expect a very serious storyline.
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PostSubject: Re: Mozart: The conspirators of Prague   Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:11 pm

No I do not always expect or have to have a serious story line. Sometimes it is a great deal of fun to play a nonsensical game. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Mozart: The conspirators of Prague   Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:38 pm

This game review, and others like it, so meticulously crafted by one of our dedicated members here, is presented in its deservedly elegant format .... here;

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PostSubject: Re: Mozart: The conspirators of Prague   Today at 9:49 am

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