Josep Monrós

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Choices

Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy

It was a great surprise seeing that Fahrenheit would be one of the first titles available to download from the catalogue of Xbox games that Microsoft has decided to put on Xbox Live. Surprising because, despite being an excellent and innovative game, unfortunately it didn’t got a tenth of the acknowledge it deserved back in its days.

Nowadays, with the feeling that in videogames everything has already been invented, it’s quite pleasant to find titles like Fahrenheit (aka Indigo Prophecy in the US), which break with preconceived barriers and remind you that, even in third person adventures, there is a lot of creativity elements to work with.

The beginning of Fahrenheit is as disquieting as promising: Lucas Kane has just committed a crime that he thinks he’s not responsible of. In that very same point starts a double race against the clock of a fugitive and his chasers to unveil the truth behind a new series of strange incidents.

The main innovation of Fahrenheit is the interactivity factor: you get an outstanding leeway to interact with the environment (within reasonable limits), causing that actions that could seem trivial may arise excessive suspicion from others, ending with an arrest, a high level of anxiety which means the end of the adventure... or even an involuntary suicide. The game is full of situations and scenes that you will just see by pure chance if you choose certain actions. Only the most curious and perseverant players will be able to watch the whole range of possible sequences for a scene.

Sadly, a system that has so much to offer is not quite fully exploited, and the majority of variations usually lead to the same point (unless for the different game overs). Anyway, the sensation that your decisions have a truly impact over the evolution of the story carries an incomparable enjoyment.

In that regard, it’s a pity they didn’t make better use of the Mental Health Meter, which has clearly been borrowed from the glorious Eternal Darkness (although it’s a simplified copy of the original sanity bar).

As usual, the plot and situations are far better at the beginning of the game than when approaching the end, probably due to budget shortages in final stage of its production. However, the interest and fun stay in high levels all over the (short) adventure’s length.

Besides, the Quick Time Events, which were made popular by Shenmue, are cleverly used during stages of the game. If you follow the button schemes, you won’t have problems with the dialogues, but if you fail in the most complex ones, you’ll experience some troubles; anyway, that won’t be an obstacle at all to progress in the game. Moreover, the game features some quite spectacular action scenes, thanks to a great work in the motion capture.

The graphics are not the most advanced seen in the last generation, but the characters are acceptable and places have a high level of detail, making clear that those are the ones who got much attention from the overall artistic design.

One of the strongest points of the game is the soundtrack. The character’s main themes have been composed by Angelo Badalamenti (usual composer of David Lynch films); besides, the game features some songs from other artists like Nina Simone of the post-grunge group Theory of a Deadman (we can listen to one of their themes when using Lucas Kane’s hi-fi system). In short, in spite of the minor and forgettable defects, like a clumsy control and camera system, Fahrenheit should be played by any videogame lover for its quality and innovations. It wouldn’t be strange finding some of its new ideas in future graphic adventures... time will tell.

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