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Jazz Faust Preview

Johnny_Liu By:
GENRE Adventure 
T Contains Suggestive Themes, Use of Drugs, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

And you thought adventures were dead...

Year after year, the game industry is buzzing with theories about why the adventure genre has faded in popularity. The one I personally agree with is that the genre hasn't actually died at all, but rather has been integrated into others genres. Ever since Tomb Raider broke open the Action/Adventure category, most games have attempted to include elements of both gameplay styles.

However, classic adventure games still hold a warm place in many a jaded gamer's heart. When a preview build of Jazz and Faust appeared at GR, I was more than happy to take a peek at this little-known title.

Jazz and Faust is an upcoming graphical adventure game from Russian game developer 1C. You have your choice of two playable characters: the crafty smuggler Jazz or the good ship captain Faust. Man, these poor guys must have hippie parents to be branded with such wacky names.

Both characters will have separate adventures, but their stories will criss and cross (perhaps even making you jump, jump). It's still a little early to tell how strong the literary side of the game will be, but the Middle Age universe holds a great deal of promise. The two-pronged character choices should lay the tracks for some welcome replay. With an impressive 86 scenes to explore and a ton of characters to interact with, there's sure to be a great deal of adventure in this title.

The game recalls point and click adventure games of yore - particularly the classic King's Quest series - with expansive, picturesque backgrounds. Use your trusty little cursor to search for the hot zones, and inventory puzzles and clever item usage rule the day.

What I've liked most about Jazz and Faust so far is that despite the lack of cutting edge technology, the artwork is very smart. The backgrounds are epic and seem to reference the scenic backdrops of old Europe. There's a full day and night cycle and the lighting effects are nicely done. It might not be on an engine to rival Unreal, but Jazz and Faust is no slouch.

The voices are still Russian in the preview build, plus it seems Jazz and Faust have been mystically imbued with the power to walk through everything. Chalk that up to beta status. Heh.

Still, I'm interested in what these hippie children on opposite sides of the law will find in their journeys, and if you're a fan of the genre just waiting for another adventure, this might be your ticket as well. Expect it on shelves in May 2002.

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