And Blackwell Convergence
makes three, wrapping up the first stage of this Wadjet Eye point-and-click quintet. This third in the series is the best so far, to my mind. It continues the story launched in the first game; while they are not strictly linked, and can be played separately, there are links from this game back to the first two that would really twist the whole out of shape for players who don't begin at the beginning. It took me about three and a half hours to finish this game, and another couple of hours to go back and wrap up all the achievements.
This Blackwell is the most sophisticated of the bunch so far. The chunky pixel graphics remain firmly entrenched in the mid-80s, but the ease and flow of the game mechanics show the benefits of lessons learned along the way. This is a consciously cinematic game, if I can say that about an adventure that plays out at 320x240 resolution: it isn't grand and scenic, but it is a story that plays out the way we'd expect to see a story roll out at the cineplex.
My friends Abe Goldfarb and Rebecca Whittaker return as Joey the Ghost and Rosa the Medium (this was actually Rebecca's first Blackwell game; she later re-recorded Rosa's dialogue in the first game, replacing the earlier actress who first voiced the role), and several other Wadjet regulars are back in the other roles. Recording quality is mixed, but the voicing this time is particularly excellent overall.
Banter is easy-going and fruitful, and the puzzles are so native to the environment this time out that I did not get seriously stuck along the way even once. I had to backtrack and experiment a bit, but you know the part of the adventure game when you walk around with, I don't know, a candle and a slice of pizza and a quarter and a boot, and you spam them all over everything in the fervent hope that something will dislodge a clue? This game doesn't have that part. Instead, detective-like, you figure things out, make a few connections, interview all the suspects, and then make it to the end on your own steam. Or you do if you're me, and if you're me, that doesn't happen much with other games, because usually I'm never thinking that if you glue the pizza to the boot with the candle, the cheese will harden so you can use the sticky soles to climb walls. BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE STUPID. And it doesn't happen in Blackwell Convergence.
While ghosting and detective work and salvation are the main scenarios here, it's becoming clear that these first three Blackwell games are also a love song aimed at a certain vanished heart in New York City. We were once a spunky city of incalculable characters, unkempt and idiosyncratic, unvarnished and unpredictable. As the city has been leveled and rebuilt for the rich, some of its famous loose-cannon soul has rolled off the deck and been lost in the waters. Wadjet creator Dave Gilbert still remembers a New York that wasn't populated by the rude crude fratty nouveau riche - where the workingman (or workingwoman) was king, the sawdust was on the floor and the pressed tin was on the ceilings, and most of us were honest good people at heart. My list