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Deadfall Adventures Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Deadfall Adventures takes its inspiration from Indiana Jones and H.R. Haggard. Those are big shoes to fill, and Nordic's newest first-person adventure doesn't even come close. The three large environments are impressive, but the story is nothing new and combat is boring. Gamers looking to solve puzzles will enjoy portions of Deadfall Adventures; however the action gets in the way of its true potential. Rating: 57%
Deadfall Adventures
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  • Review Score:

  • C+
I can see an ancient treasure just out of my reach. It's a golden cup; the kind of rare collectible that would warrant a full hour on Antiques Roadshow. It's right there on that table, mere feet away from me. But I don't dare pick it up, because I know a deadly trap will envelop me in flames or crush me like a bug. If those Indiana Jones movies taught me anything, it's that picking up treasure comes only after thwarting an expertly crafted trap.

This anxiety over picking up a simple treasure is Deadfall Adventures at its best. Crudely described as a first-person Uncharted, Nordic's newest adventure game is more about the hunt than big action scenes. It puts you in a world full of secret paths, hidden areas and out of the way relics. The only thing missing from this treasure hunt is a giant boulder racing after you.

Deadfall Adventures (PC)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Set in 1938, you play adventure-seeking James Quatermain. If the last name sounds familiar, it's because he's the great-grandson of Allan Quatermain, the protagonist in a series of adventure novels written by H.R. Haggard in the 1800s. James is the fast-talking type, the kind of rugged thrill-seeker that likely has no problems picking up women at the club. Much to the relief of the other men in town, Quatermain will spend much of 1938 on a wild adventure that will take him all over the world.

Although based on characters created by H.R. Haggard, Deadfall Adventures is more in spirit with the Indiana Jones films. Not only has the action been ratcheted up, but there are major plot points that are taken directly from Dr. Jones' escapades. This time around we see Quatermain trying to keep a powerful artifact away from the Nazis, who he fears will use it to gain an advantage in an upcoming war. But our hero isn't worried about World War II, because he has his hands full with undead skeletons and supernatural monsters.

Along for the ride is Jennifer Goodwin, who fits nicely into the role of typical love interest. She spends much of the game following Quatermain, only getting herself into serious trouble two or three times. Sadly, her appearance seems to be mostly inconsequential, as she rarely helps with puzzles and stays out of most gun fights. Jennifer is there to give Quatermain somebody to talk to, rescue and flirt with ... not necessarily in that order.

Deadfall Adventures (PC)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Locating all three pieces of the artifact will take our adventuring duo to three extremely large areas. We start out in Egypt, where Quatermain is let loose to unearth treasures hidden away in coffins and buried under mounds of sand. It's here that he is introduced to the German antagonist, along with a group of undead monsters who are only vulnerable to bright light.

When he's not solving puzzles and finding lost treasure, our hero will spend most of his time fighting off Nazi (and eventually Russian) soldiers and the army of the undead. Soldiers can be taken out with the game's large variety of era-specific weapons. The undead army, on the other hand, can only be weakened with the use of a flashlight. Once an undead monster is weak enough, a simple melee will reduce him to dust.

While I initially enjoyed changing it up between the different enemy types, I quickly grew to hate both the monsters and soldiers. The monsters are too easy, while the soldiers soak up too many bullets. It doesn't help that the game insists on padding the story with as many of these shootouts as possible, to the point where I thought the game would never end.

Much is forgiven when the shooting finally stops. Quite a bit of the game revolves around the player trying to decode large puzzles in order to advance the story. These puzzles take many shapes, including a few you've seen in movies. Some are as simple as avoiding certain tiles, while more complicated puzzles require lining up lights with mirrors or solving math problems. This is where Deadfall Adventures shows its potential.

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While many of the puzzles are easy enough to solve, there are a few that will require some outside help. Thankfully, Quatermain brought his great-grandfather's notes along for the ride. In a nod to the source material, Allan has been able to pass down helpful hints through a well-preserved notepad. Sure it's silly, but the notepad proves to be the only support you get. With the exception of a few trial-and-error puzzles, this notepad makes getting through Deadfall Adventures a breeze.

Had the balance been tilted more towards puzzles than action, then this adventure game would have been easy to recommend. Unfortunately, too much of the game is spent on pointless gun battles that seem to drag on forever. There's a big chunk in the middle that felt like it would never end. And the whole thing ends in the most anticlimactic way possible, due in large part to the fact that so much of the story feels like a retread.

To its credit, the three areas Quatermain explores are large and beautiful. They are also incredibly varied, as is demonstrated the moment you go from the sandy desert of Egypt to the snow-covered Arctic. Before long we're off to Guatemala, where our adventurers search through an ancient Mayan temple for the final artifact. All three of these areas are full of unique obstacles and areas to explore. It's easy to get lost in some of the locations, they are that big.

Deadfall Adventures (PC)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Much like everything else in Deadfall Adventures, the presentation is a mixed bag. There are times when the graphics really shine, especially when you see all the detail in the large environments. But at the same time, the game is plagued with all kinds of technical problems, including missing (and delayed) textures. The voice acting is also poor, leading to moments that successfully pivot from laughably bad to cringe-inducing.

Had the game been more about the puzzles, I would have been able to overlook a lot of the imperfections in Deadfall Adventures. Sadly, the game spends too much time on boring gun fights that don't advance the story. James Quatermain is a likeable enough action star; it's too bad the game around him isn't more interesting.
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