ADAM WOLFE is a point and click hidden object and puzzle solving detective mystery where the main character, Adam Wolfe, specialises in crimes with supernatural occurrences.
You can play it on various settings of difficulty: Easy/Medium/Hard/Customised, each of the first three with various degrees of help and hints and the latter allows you to set your own parameters.
Wolfe is lucky in as much as he can contact the SFPD and speak about the supernatural without being called a freak or a trouble-maker; when he needs help they supply it without question.
He has an ongoing case, his sister Allie went missing, and this is his personal priority, but he also has to continue with "regular" police work and at the moment someone (or something) is setting random fires all over the city. The SFPD chiefs are sitting on the case at the moment and not allowing them to be linked and so Wolfe has to be careful in his investigations; it would be too easy to create chaos and a riotous situation. This investigation is one of four episodes to complete in this game. Of the four The Ancient Flame is the only one not greyed out and so it has to be completed before you can move on to The Devil You Know, Lady and the Painter and finally Zero Hour.
It doesn't take Wolfe long to get into a chase with a major suspect. This chase goes into the labyrinth of the sewers under the city and this is where my frustration with point and click adventures comes to the fore. The scene shows a large underground series of tunnels with green water in the channels. There are lots of various sized pipes and several large tunnels. Natural instinct is to check the larger, man sized or greater, tunnels but as soon as you click near them a message tells you there are no signs of entry. Checking a small grill, by checking I mean grabbing it and busting it open, reveals a small tunnel which you can apparently crawl into and along; at the far end of this tunnel is another grill, this one takes several heavy kicks to bust open. I mention this because we (the players) are supposed to believe that the guy we are chasing went this way. Considering we were seconds (if that) behind him he does amazingly well to pull the grill shut behind him and seal them all while I am doing what ? It's weird because as a role-player I can suspend reality but when faced with supposed logic problems I get frustrated when logic is pushed aside for no real reason other than the game designer thought it would be a good idea.
Chasing this guy gets him hot under the collar
This is what happens when the fire goes out: This whole scene reveals just one clue
Some of the scenes are brilliant in detail but wasted because you can only look at the parts the designer wants you to. I am not a programmer and I do realise that extra code takes extra development time, but it would be much better if the character could move some of the detrious and find nothing and then move a chair or table, pick up an old tyre etc and eventually find the clue. It isn't detecting to come upon a scene roll the cursor over it and hit the hotspot and move on, that's not even playing in my book. I just dislike seeing so much work, as in the detail of the backdrop, being wasted when parts of it could be used.
After miraculously escaping through locked grills, doors and panels and turning into Johnny Flame or Mr Magma the bad guy falls easily to Wolfe's pursuit and pistol. Wolfe gets seriously burned during the confrontation but shakes it off as if it were nothing and shows no sign of the burning afterwards.
Allie goes missing
When searching the screen offers pulsating red circles where you should click and from there you will find clues or be able to collect items for your inventory. Using things from your inventory is easy because it is usually commonsense what can be used and where, sometimes combining items while they are in the inventory ready for use immediately or later. The harder levels of experience do away with the hints (hit the hints button and an object on screen or in your inventory will glow) and the obvious clues, you have to work harder to discover them, but they don't change the inability to interact with the environment in a logical and sensible manner.
One of the puzzles
Wolfe's Office, complete with pet crow
Adam Wolfe, the game, is compelling, interesting, spooky, illogical and frustrating. If you consider yourself to be a bit of a geek or a nerd or pedantic there are lots of things in it that will push your buttons. For example in Adam's office there is a guitar which when clicked on gives the response that Wolfe plays it to relax. It is a solid body electric guitar with volume, tone and pick-up selector switch and yet there is no sign of an amp; it's little things like that which take my mind off the case in hand as I sort of find that more like super unnatural. With today's computer power this type of game should offer more interaction and not just lead the player by the nose from one clue (highlighted or not) to the next.
The website declares that Adam Wolfe features; 53 unique locations sublime artwork tantalizing storyline unique case-solving mechanics clever puzzles four convoluted mysteries! and I cannot argue with any of that, in my opinion as a regular point and click detective game Adam Wolfe delivers, and as a supernatural story it is intriguing and more than reasonably good. I cannot fault it in being what it is and what it's meant to be and for the majority of players it will hit all the right spots; for me I tend to look past what's presented up front to me and wish for a little more thought in the development and use of detail. I want more is what I'm saying, and I'm frustrated because I want to play it and enjoy it not because I want to criticise it and pull it apart but because it has so much to offer and yet doesn't quite make it.