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Safecracker Review

Safecracker pack shot
Developer:Kheops Studio
Publisher:JoWood Games
Genre:Puzzle Adventure
Platform:PC
Official Site:http://www.adventurecompany../safecracker/..
Release Date:March 16th, 2007 (UK)
Reviewer:Andy Hemphill (Bandit)
 

Imagine a safe, a safe with an ingenious locking mechanism based around sliding a series of tiles into place to make a picture. Now, imagine a whole mansion full of other safes, each with intricate locking mechanisms that tax your brain and your patience.

Imagine you spent an hour trying to open one of these safes, and finally, it clicks, you have the combination it was waiting for. The door swings open, and the prize you have earned for your hour's worth of time? A small electronic transistor, which you must then take to another room and insert into another safe in order to open that one and get another trivial clue leading to the next safe.

Welcome to the world of Safecracker, a world for those of you who have the patience of a philosopher and the intelligence of Stephen Hawkins.

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Simple put, the entire premise of Safecracker is a linear stroll through a series of puzzles, which gradually get harder the more puzzles you solve. Around this simple game dynamic is a lacklustre 'adventure' storyline, which just about serves as a distraction from the fiendishly hard mental maze presented by each of the safes you need to crack.

The story centres around the recent demise of a multi-billionaire oil tycoon: Duncan Walter Adams, who's sudden disappearance has led to a family quarrel over who should inherit the old gents millions and the company stock. The answer to the conundrum is contained in Adams' will, which is hidden inside his mansion.

The only problem is that Adams, who's passion for safes knows no bounds, has hidden the will inside one of the dozens of safes littered across his mansion, with a trail leading from safe to safe until the will is discovered.

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The family, having no desire to spend their days trying to crack so many strongboxes have called you (the player) in, and, as a safecracking expert of some renown, it's your job to find that will, by cracking your way through dozens of puzzling safes.

But don't dwell on the story; although the game methodically feeds you titbits of information as you make your way through the mansion, it is only really a slight distraction from the true purpose of the game- puzzles.

The range of puzzles the player is faced with is enormous; it's like the Crystal Maze on steroids. You will be faced with everything from laser grid puzzles, to puzzles which utilise marbles, water, a billiard table and even the occasional puzzle which looks like a Nazi Enigma machine.

Now for the technical bit- the game's graphics are adequate for the content of the game, the Adam's mansion is presented in nicely textured screens and you can't get lost as you navigate the mansion as no room looks the same.

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However, seeing as the only things you can interface with in the game are the many safes and the occasional item or piece of paper, the background is mostly useless filler.

To navigate around the mansion you have to click where you want to go and the game shifts screens to match your request. The animation for the change can get a little jerky however, and sometimes it can take five clicks to cross a room that only really requires two clicks.

The sound effects offered by the game are also less than impressive. The game utilises the same piece of music every few minutes, so by the time you have reached the ninth safe you know the entire jingle off by heart.

However, the sound effects as you tinker with the puzzles are pleasantly satisfying, for example, a marble-pushing puzzle makes an appropriate buzzing noise when you turn it on and a metallic clink when the marble hits an object.

The voice acting offered by Safecracker is not as fitting however. The player's character sounds like a blue blood aristocrat who enjoys his job a little too much, and the game likes to offer little titbits of advice in his annoying voice if you fail to unlock a safe in under 5 minutes work- it can get a little annoying after a while when the posh voice comes through your speakers to say: 'I know that pattern, I think I have to move the tiles to match it, but where have I seen it before?' and doesn't bother to give you a clue exactly where he may have seen it before.

Summary

All in all, Safecracker is a simple puzzle game with an adventure game's shell wrapped around it. If you are looking for a series of tricky puzzles that will tax your mind for hours then look no further. Gamers hoping for a more fulfilling adventure experience should look elsewhere.

The bottom line
6.0 / 10

Good stuff

  • Lots of puzzles
  • Enjoyable challenge at times

Not so good stuff

  • A little repetitive
  • 'Adventure' storyline is unnecessary and sadly unused
  • Some of the safes are really mind-boggling!


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