Home / PC Game Review: Secret Files: Tunguska

PC Game Review: Secret Files: Tunguska

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At 7:17 AM on June 30, 1908 a large explosion was seen in the skies over the Tunguska region of Siberia. With a force believed to rival Little Boy (the Hiroshima bomb), the blast felled 60 million trees over a 2,150 square kilometer area. To this day it has never been fully explained.

In Secret Files: Tunguska you take on the role of Nina Kalenkov a young motorcycle mechanic whose father was part of a research expedition to the Tunguska region back in 1979.

Arriving at her father’s Museum office, Nina is shocked to find the place ransacked and her father nowhere to be found. She tries to call the police, but they aren’t interested in the occurrence and refuse to believe that her father may actually be in trouble.

After talking to the Museum staff and finding no clues Nina returns home, but is knocked unconscious by an unknown assailant. As a hangover with no alcohol begins to pound in her head Nina starts to find clues to the mystery of her father’s disappearance.

In the truest of adventure game forms, the plot quickly becomes filled with mystery and intrigue as Nina follows the clues back to Russia and hopefully her father’s safe return.

Puzzles get increasingly complex as the story advances, but remain grounded in logical principals and situations and not in absurdity like most of the genre relies on.

Characters are well developed thought the adventure, although one story arc involving one character’s love for another seems to develop out of nowhere and doesn’t fit with the flow of the story.

Tunguska’s voice work definitely needs a lot of improvement. Nina sounds far too perky for her current situation and seems to be unable to effectively express any other emotions. Several other characters suffer from this problem as well causing the games dialog to sound more like an early read through rather then the final product. However, by no means is the dialog painful to listen to and aside from Nina’s oft comments about various objects, most of it is fairly well written.

Surprisingly for a game comprised entirely of Europeans there are few, if any, proper accents. Like the “American” dub of the Australian Mad Max it makes no sense whatsoever and further breaks the immersion the game could’ve had going for it.

Controls follow one of the standard point-and-click variations and are in no way new or unique. Left click to interact with something, right click to look at it or to skip a cut scene. Items are stored in an inventory at the bottom of the screen, ready for your retrieval whenever you need them.

One brilliant addition to the standard is the inclusion of a looking glass that shows you ever-clickable spot on the screen. That’s right, no more pixel hunting. Nothing bothers a point-and-click fan more then spending 20 minutes trying to find one minute item that was buried under a pile of garbage and barely visible.

Artwork is incredibly rich and detailed with a strong mix of 2-D and 3-D elements forming the world around you. Character models, while nothing special, are at least on par with the standard and feature very smooth, fluid animations.

Like nearly every other point-and-click title on the market you’re locked at one fixed aspect ratio and resolution. It would be nice to finally see developers implement support for 16:10 resolution since not only are widescreen displays gaining popularity, but also because many areas of the game require horizontal scrolling anyways.

Like all adventure titles to come before it, Secret Files: Tunguska is only as good as the sum of its parts. Puzzles are strong and well developed, although because they’re grounded in logic the may be a little on the easy side until further along in the game. Presentation elements however are a bit of a mixed bag that holds Tunguska back from being a true five-star title.

Secret Files: Tunguska is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence and Use of Alcohol and Tobacco.

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About Jason Westhaver