Black Friar – Reah review

Photo of Black Friar – Reah
£40

Remember Myst? One of biggest games of all time; an adventure game with fantastic graphics and mind-bending puzzles. Reah follows in Myst’s footsteps, albeit with a more accessible interface and slightly less brain-melting puzzles. Slightly.

Adventure games such as this require a storyline, and Reah’s is about as convincing as that of any other. To quote; “A scientific colony based on the distant, hostile planet of Reah harbours a secret – a transfer portal into a parallel universe. In this alternate world no modern technology will work. A group of explorers from the colony sets out to explore the unknown land through the portal and to establish a scientific base. Disaster strikes [what a surprise]. The portal becomes unstable and vanishes, marooning the explorers without a route to return”. Yup, just as convincing as any other.

In fact, it all sounds a bit like the plot to the film ‘Stargate’, but there the similarities fortunately end, and the developers use the plotline as an excuse to create a totally new and alien world. Well, to be more exact, it’s a totally new and alien world filled with towns and villages that initially look like olde-worlde Turkish suburbs. Luckily the imagination of the developers seems to have increased as the game progresses, with the scenery becoming more and more striking. You can interact with many of the things around you – although some of the scenery is for appearance only – and the same goes for the characters you will meet during the course of your travels, played by actors and digitally pasted into the game.

At its heart, though, this is an adventure game that can trace its lineage back to the old text-base games of Dos and before. The puzzles are fiendish, but not unfairly so: you’ll need to use your brain (mine hurts already), but after completing a puzzle, you can look back and say “Ah yes, that makes sense”, which is not always the case with other games of this type. Available on either CDROM or DVD, Reah will provide days of engrossing fun to the more intellectual games player. And days of frustration to the rest of us.

Company: Black Friar


Verdict
There is a certain type of person who thoroughly enjoys graphical adventure games. A studious, thoughtful and patient type of person. A person who eschews the hectic pace of the rat race in favour of quiet meditation and joss-sticks. That person will love Reah. But if you're the more frantic action type, you probably won't.