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Recently, two adventure games came out and tried to rekindle a dead genre: Professor Layton versus
Phoenix Wright and Gemini Rue. These are very different games, but they reflect each others’ strengths
and weaknesses and therefore make an interesting comparison.

Professor Layton versus Phoenix Wright is an imaginative game: The premise is that the characters are
thrown into a medieval world of witches and inquisitors, where magic is commonplace, even though
they themselves come from the modern world. Seeing Phoenix Wright, a lawyer become acclimated to
life and the legal system in such a world is interesting, and it makes the experience feel fresh compared
to the original game—I played the first Phoenix Wright, though not the sequels. Gemini Rue’s world
is kind of bland, mostly focusing on two areas. One of those areas is a dull, featureless facility, lacking
interesting sights and mostly requiring monotonous tasks. Its other setting is a city, and though the
place seems to be a nice futuristic Noir city, it quickly turns out to be pretty bland: Everything looks
like a modern city, the only sign of advanced technology is the presence of terminals, a weather
control tower and a spaceship, and very few items can be manipulated. This makes the world feel

Both parts of Professor Layton versus Phoenix Wright are satisfying: One side solves puzzles, the
other acts a defense lawyer in court cases, and though the two sometimes intersect, neither feels
repetitive. These two distinct gameplay styles make the game varied and hold the player’s attention,
and they require thought and versatility. Gemini Rue has two different characters, but only one is really
interesting to play: The other is stuck in a dull facility where he spends most of his time performing
the same actions, riding elevators, performing boring tests and failing to develop a personality. There
is another character who is more interesting, but spending half of the game as this dull cipher is very

Professor Layton versus Phoenix Wright has good puzzles and humor: A variety of eccentric characters,
classic puzzles, and court cases create colorful gameplay for the players. Professor Layton is a puzzle
solver, and there are dozens of brain teasers for he and the other characters to solve, some of which
are tricky. Sometimes poor writing makes the instructions confusing, but the puzzles are usually
explained well. Court cases also function like puzzles, where the player must find the holes in witness
testimony and use evidence to discredit the statements made, and though sometimes logical solutions
are incorrect, they are gripping and exciting. Gemini Rue’s puzzles are ridiculously simplistic: I never
needed more than a few minutes to solve any of them, and when I did, I felt little satisfaction since
the solutions tended to be incredibly obvious. Sierra, Lucasarts and Legend’s games had some weird
puzzles, but they were usually clever and satisfying to solve.

Pacing is the one area in which Gemini Rue succeeds: Professor Layton versus Phoenix Wright tends to
have overlong chapters, sometimes requires the player to scroll through long dialogue sequences after
failing, and can repetitive after a long session. Gemini Rue moves quickly and at a brisk pace.

I am not finished with Professor Layton versus Phoenix Wirght, but I feel I have seen enough to form opinions, though things might change later.

I originally wrote the above before I finished Gemini Rue, but having finished the game--it was about four hours long and nothing about required thought or effort, which was pathetic--I can give my thoughts on the very stupid final chapters. I saw the plot twist coming a mile away: The two characters were the same guy. It was so ridiculously obvious and telegraphed that when I wrote the above, I assumed that it had to be the wrong conclusion, but nope, the lazy writer managed to insult my intelligence even more than the puzzles.

Gemini Rue tries to develops themes, by which I mean that it has no themes or expatiation whatsoever until the end, when a character explicitly tells you what conclusions you should draw. It is like that scene in Crime and Punishment when Porfiry says, "our perception is relative to our reality," and Rashkolnivok replies, "yes, and morality is an idea created by society, which is why I am morally ambiguous and you represent the need to control mankind's destructive naure." Basically, the conclusion we are supposed to draw from this is that self-awareness is separate from memory and consciousness and personality are inherent traits not defined by personal experiences. I guess magical fairies live in our brains and put our souls there, then block off all the neurons around fairyland so that no signal ever touches our precious magic bubbles of perception. This is one of the most ridiculous things I have seen in a game, and I love Nintendo and Taito games.

Review of Flash Player:

One day in 1938, Hitler and Stalin gathered a bunch of retarded monkeys on a broken punchcard
machine and had them bang out programming commands on a telegraph machine. They removed
anything they found to be too functional, and thus a video player was born. Flash Player was based on
this design, but it was made by incompetents who failed to meet the standards set by the original. It
is currently used by sites like Youtube, which were too cheap to get the full version and got the free
one, which lacked many important features. Information is sent to an elaborate Rube Goldberg device
in which a monk writes the code on a grain of sand, attaches it to a falcon’s leg, the falcon flies it to
Adobe’s headquarters and drops it on a moveable type device which slowly bangs out the information
on a stone tablet. This tablet is then chiseled by cavemen until it becomes legible, then typed by a
subliterate grade schooler, and then half a minute of your video loads, then the process repeats.