Reviewed: November 20, 2006
Released: October 31, 2006
On June 30th, 1908 a huge explosion occurred above Siberia that remains a mystery to this day. The Secret Files: Tunguska is the adventure game using this mystery as the backbone to a pretty good story. The Adventure Company, Deep Silver and Fusionsphere Systems take advantage of a real life event that has confounded scientists and sparked controversy from the scientific community. It also inspired an episode of the X-Files.
The story line of Secret Files: Tunguska is a very good background story while the added mystery of her missing father adds understandable depth to the adventure game. The cause of the explosion has some pretty good explanations from current scientists as a meteor that didnít quite impact the earth but did level 2,300 square miles of forest and could be heard from 600 miles away. Ninaís father has been studying this occurrence for years when Nina comes to visit only to find his office and apartment a strewn mess with no sign of him.
From here you follow the clues of the item combining and puzzles along with the hints and clues from other characters in the game to find out what happened to Ninaís father and maybe the entire Tunguska mystery. The variety of the several puzzles, clues and item combining make for a good diversity for your gameplay that makes Tunguska interesting. You play mostly as Nina but you also do some two person item combining in an unusual way.
The menu sections of your screen and the item combining are along the bottom with your inventory and the buttons to enter the main game screen, the other character or a help button. For the help button you click on the little magnifying glass or the space bar and any items or spots on your screen that are clickable will pop up with the spot to click on as a little magnifying glass. Just click on each to use the item or have the game tell you about it without having to search the whole screen with your cursor.
Tunguska is a very well planned out game with no part of the game relying to heavily on one gameplay feature. This variety means that the game does not have too many puzzles and not enough clues or the games cut scenes taking most of the game time. Tunguska has its share of cut scenes and videos but they are very well rendered and do not take up too much of the gameplay from the player. You can hardly tell the difference from some of the videos and the regular still scenes.
Secret Files: Tunguska has some very well rendered still scenes and the action sections blend nicely into the gameplay to create an almost seamless story. Although not absolutely perfect the graphics in the game add very much to the story line and fun of the adventure. The cut scenes are rendered using the same textures and graphics as the still scenes so that the movies you watch of things happening look almost the same as the still scenes. Although some of the action and movement of the characters or other objects are a bit jerky or not lifelike it added to the seamless gameplay overall.
I believe this is one of the best adventure games I have played in the area of graphics. The still scenes looked almost identical to the cut scenes and the objects that they do have moving in the stills did not look out of place. Too often in adventure games I have seen the objects that move do not look like they belong with the objects that do not in the scene. This makes some games easy to play while others it just looks like two sets of different textures have been used to create each scene.
In Tunguska the scenes had additional objects that meant nothing to the story but added so much to the games style and appeal. Birds that would fly off or the wind turbine blades slowly turning in one scene made it look like you were seeing a cut scene and not a still graphic. The scenes with things moving in the breeze or weather like snow and rain were not so cartoon like or out of place in the scene.
They also added shadows to the characters for even more realism, which you donít even notice that other games do not have until you see one that does. It was all these visual additions to Tunguska along with the well-rendered graphics and use of good textures that made the graphics so good.
On one hand there was some pretty good voice acting and on the other hand some of the voice actors were from the wrong country. There was one scene in Russia with Russian soldiers; at least they looked like they were supposed to be Russian guards. They spoke with an accent more at home in Midwestern America instead of Middle Siberia. The scene is a Russian military train depot and the guards had no Russian accent but that was about the extent to the odd sounds I heard.
Some of the accents and voice acting was very good and spot on to the characters while others sounded more like the actor they paid to do the voice never showed up so they tossed in someone at the last minute. This was not the case with all or even most of the voices but it was something I noticed more than once and thought to mention it.
Other than that the sounds were pretty good but nothing really outstanding. The background music and sounds were good and the noises for things like creaking doors or animals sounded realistic. The sound as well as the graphics has a few basic settings in the options of the main menu.
Secret Files: Tunguska is a pretty good adventure game that is entertaining and enough of a mystery that you will want to finish the game if for no other reason than to answer the question ďWas it aliens?Ē In adventure games it is so hard to tell readers how long it will take for someone to complete the game so I just wonít. I will say that I had help in the form of a walkthrough for those tough spots but often I did not need it.
The games puzzles and object combining are not so hard that you canít figure them out with some trial and error. The object combining and other mysteries you need to overcome throughout the adventure of Tunguska are fun to work on or if you just canít quite find that silly clickable area you can use the help buttons. This is the first adventure or point and click game I have seen that makes use of this feature and I think it is a good addition.
Secret Files: Tunguska is a pretty good value and for anyone that enjoys adventure puzzle type games one that is definitely worth the cost.
The Secret Files: Tunguska is one of those rare gems in the adventure genre that shines for what was put into it. The developer worked hard not only on the graphics and making the scenes look good but on taking a good basic background and creating a believable story that you do want to find out the conclusions to.
Although I do groan a bit when starting an adventure puzzle type game I do look for those that peek my interest and give something more than just a collection of silly puzzles with no link from one to the next. Tunguska is one of those shining stars that even though it could have been better it is about the best that you can get for a game that you will only play once.