Japanese influence on western pop culture seems to me to have been subtle, yet profound. At one time you heard about all these, supposedly, awesome comic books and animated series, then you actually saw some of them at a shady basement comic book dealer. Fast forward a bit and they're in main stream book stores and showing on national television. The times when manga and anim' was for underground fan boys is long past.
So what distinguishes the Japanese style? I'm sure you'll all recognize the oversized doe eyes that most characters are gifted with. Other than that, you can never go wrong with spiky hair, exaggerated physiology (either extreme) and a colorful palette. Graphical elements that you will also see in this freeware adventure game, The White Chamber.
While the graphic style is clearly inspired by Japan, the game and its interface is more along western standards. Owing to the wave made popular by Lucasarts (though they were not the first) the game controls are point and click. However, the interface has been 'dumbed down' to two simple commands, look and use. Obviously, this means that all puzzles can be solved with these rather simple commands, though care has been taken to still offer varied situations that call for unexpected actions.
Adventure games live by two things: Plot and puzzles. While the plot of this game initially may seem a bit non-sensical, things generally start to take shape during your first playthrough. When you approach it the second time, all the little things fall into place, and you're in for a rich story. The plot itself revolves around a young woman waking up inside a dark chamber, reminiscent of a tomb. As she starts exploring her surroundings, not only does she make some grisly discoveries, she soon comes to question her sanity as 'impossible' events occur. All of this seems to lead towards the secrets of the mysterious 'White Chamber.'
When it comes to puzzles, this is not one of the hardest adventure games around. Most puzzles are fairly obvious, though sometimes you can only proceed by revisiting certain locations, which is a bit of a shame, since that is not the most intuitive thing to do. To make you think a little harder, there are also items in the game that apparently serve no function, or serve to lure you into doing something you shouldn't have done. That is not to say that you can inadvertently get stuck, but you can lose points and it is possible to die (though for the most, it takes a little work to actually do so). Thankfully, the regular inventory juggling puzzles are broken up by small sequences that require you to think outside the box.
All this might make it sound like The White Chamber is just another run-of-the-mill adventure game. That, however, proves to not be the case. First of all, the quality of what we have here is very, very high. The game is graced by having larger than average characters and items, which saves you from the dreaded 'pixel hunting.' While the graphics may appear somewhat jagged, this suits the atmosphere perfectly. Since this is a very dark and gruesome game, you should expect buckets of blood, severed limbs and disturbing situations. Also, on top of everything else, the game has a few small movie sequences that are very well made.
As for sound and music, The White Chamber is blessed not only with a great sound track, but with excellent voice acting to boot. Every line in the game is spoken by a very good voice actress. There is a little male dialogue as well, and while the voice actor is good, unfortunately there seems to be a problem with the sound volume in these sequences, so it's sometimes hard to hear.
If there's a bad thing to be said about this game, it must be that it's not very long. If you're a seasoned adventure gamer, you can complete this well within an hour. Thankfully, to extend interest, The White Chamber comes with a number of different endings. While some of these are premature death endings found during the course of the game, at least three are distinct ending sequences. Your progress in the game is scored, and depending on your final score you will be treated to the ending you deserve.
To top that off, it's also possible to find a number of easter eggs. You will gain clues to them by reaching the different endings, giving you more incentive to play through the game a few times. While these easter eggs are nothing particularly special, they are a nice touch.
If you're looking for a short, but sweet adventure game, and you're not averse to graphic brutality and gruesome themes, The White Chamber is definitely for you. I recommend turning down the lights and turning up the volume.
Playability 6 / 6
Idea 4 / 6
Technical Implementation 5 / 6
Game Graphics 5 / 6
Game Musics 6 / 6
Game Extras 4 / 6
Overall Rating 5 / 6
Let me start with the developer's description: "A young girl wakes to find herself inside a strange glowing coffin, in a dark room. Who is she? What is this place? Why is she here? As she explores the warped environment she finds herself trapped within, she must search for answers, all of which will lead her closer and closer to the white chamber and the truth it holds. Studio Trophis' debut public production, the white chamber, is a point and... (read more)
CWF Crew rating:
(4 of 6)