Evil Days of Luckless John PC CD
Published by: Playlogic International
Developed by: Cinemax and Centauri Productions
Release Date: Out Now
I’ve always been an adventure game enthusiast and to a certain extent I enjoy action adventure games too. When Evil Days of Luckless John arrived for review I have to admit to being a little baffled. The reason was because I hadn’t heard of the game before and it’s very unusual for a game to arrive that I know nothing about. Sometimes though, ignorance is bliss and having played Evil Days of Luckless John I can honestly say it’s a game that won’t live long in the memory. Let’s take a look at the current favourite for the worst game of 2007 award.
The story is set in the 1920s US and revolves around Johnny, a door-to-door salesman who inherits a casino from his recently deceased uncle Leopold. Unfortunately his new found wealth doesn’t last long at all as the mafia decide to move in and claim the casino. The story then switches to Johnny being in prison. After solving a puzzle in your cell, you’re asked what went wrong by a fellow inmate. Johnny tells of the events that occurred from the moment the Mafia moved in to take the casino and naturally, you’ll get to control him during this flashback.
There are so many things wrong with Evil Days of Luckless John that it’s difficult to know where to begin. The first thing you’ll notice is the hideous control system. You can either use a gamepad or the keyboard and mouse (which is the better option). You’ll move forward by pressing the W key, backward with the S key, turn to the left with the A key and turn to the right with the D key. You can turn around simply by using the mouse. To interact with an object you’ll simply move up to an object that can be interacted with and click the mouse button when an icon appears. If all you were doing in the game was walking around and solving puzzles the controls wouldn’t be so bad but when it comes to the action and platform elements, the controls are woefully inadequate and the frustration is enough to make you throw in the towel, especially when you consider in these sections that you have a health bar and it’s easily depleted by mobsters shooting at you. Should you be killed you’ll have to go back to the last checkpoint.
The puzzles are also pretty poor and for the most part illogical. You’re not allowed to explore your environment and apply those tried and trusted techniques that you’ve honed playing adventure games for the last so many years. Johnny will simply refuse to interact with items unless he wants to. Ever had a game call you an idiot? Well the Evil Days of Luckless John could certainly be one of the first to insult the intelligence of the gamer. One of the early puzzles involves you finding a combination number in order to open a safe. Make a mistake or two and Johnny will get all condescending, solve the puzzle for you and then comment on how he hopes your brain has warmed up (or words to that effect). I don’t mind a bit of humour but I certainly don’t like being insulted by a game, especially one as bad as this.
The game looks quite good in a stylized way, although the graphics are far from being technically impressive. You aren’t able to control the camera and at times this can lead to problems as you don’t have a clear enough view of the action. To make matters worse Johnny will occasionally become stuck on various objects forcing you to reload and hope it doesn’t occur again. On a positive note, the game is subtitled, albeit in a simplistic manner (without any character names or portraits placed alongside the text so you won’t always be aware of who is saying what) and the system requirements are fairly low by today’s standards. Still, that’s not much consolation when the game isn’t up to much.
Christmas is just over forty days away but this year the turkey, in the shape of Evil Days of Luckless John, has arrived early. Priced at just £19.99, fans of adventure games might be tempted to give the game a go. If you can resist the urge, spend your cash on a decent game instead. Evil Days of Luckless John is one heck of a mess that even the most forgiving gamer will not be able to forgive. Avoid at all costs.