I admit it; I love everything about adventure games. I’m especially a sucker for the ones featuring detective elements of any kind. Yet in this odd and twisted world, I have never played a single Tex Murphy title. That’s right, not even Mean Streets or Martian Memorandum. So I figured it was time to break my fast of Tex games by stepping into the world of Tesla Effect. Tex Murphy returns after the events of Overseer, and things have changed in the world of the not-so-famous detective.
Years have passed since the cliffhanger ending of Overseer, and Chandler Street knows Tex Murphy as a completely different person. He became a hard-boiled, unforgiving, private dick who would do anything for a buck, at least until he got knocked on the noggin during a possible kidnapping. Now he has forgotten everything over the past seven years, and his memory remains in line with the events of Overseer.
I won’t spoil the story from here, but I will say that I had a blast getting to know Tex and the gang. Tesla Effect injects a heavy dose of dark comedy move along the storyline. Tex is a bumbling detective with a sly wit, and he always finds himself in the most ridiculous situations. The best thing about Tex Murphy is that it has an intriguing set of storylines designed around multiple choices. The main storyline path focuses on Tex and his memory, but the player can branch off into a lovelorn relationship, and many other pathways.
It all comes down to the way that you’ve been playing Tex as a character. There are multiple choices that appear during conversations with other citizens of New San Francisco. You can find yourself being a witty clown, or a straight up dick to the other characters in the world. Depending on the demeanor of Tex and the choices made, it will change the path and take him closer to an alternate ending. It’s fantastic and gives the player a reason to come back for more.
Tesla Effect doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that it’s from the early days of adventure gaming. It utilizes full 3D roaming similar to titles like King’s Field, and Myst for exploring the world. Tex can walk around freely examining clues, solve puzzles, and explore the rundown city of San Francisco. Conversations are handled in FMV (Full-Motion Video) format. The game will switch to real-life footage and allow the player to choose from a variety of dialogue. It has that throwback feel of the 90’s, and it’s impressive that dialogue was specifically recorded for each comment made by Tex.
Tesla Effect has pretty much advertised itself as a retro title, and that’s incredibly evident in the old-school graphics. Wandering around the city is as smooth as a baby’s bottom, but the city itself looks like it was created in 1998. The aesthetic is obviously on purpose, and it adds a hit of nostalgia of the good old days of adventure gaming. I absolutely love the way the title was designed, with the green screen backdrops behind the actors, and the Blade Runner themed cityscape. I won’t lie though, if you aren’t looking at it through rose colored goggles… it’s just ugly.
The sound design on the other hand is incredibly well-done. The acting is on par with cheesy B movies, and it makes for some entertaining viewing material. Chris Jones is stellar in his role as Tex Murphy, and it’s clear that he was born to play the character – since he’s the designer after all. His deep rich voice lends well to the character, but his wacky antics on screen sell him perfectly as a buffoon who may be in the wrong line of work. A few of the other cast members are great as well, like Louie LaMintz, and Rook Garner. Okay, especially good ol’ Rook Garner, he’s just a guy you love to hate. The remaining crew plays their roles well-enough, but some of them just can’t help but look at the teleprompter during questioning sequences.
I was genuinely shocked at how much I enjoyed Tesla Effect. The hours flew by as I became engrossed in the world of Tex Murphy. It may not be the most beautiful game on the market, but the FMV scenes shot in beautiful 2k resolution more than make up for it. Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure receives four stars out of five from Geek Citadel. This title is an old-school classic created for the modern day, and as soon as I finish beating each path in the game. I’m going to go back and boot up the old Tex Murphy titles.
*This title as provided to us by the publisher