John Sinclair - Evil Attacks
Finally risen from the crypt: The game to the pulp novel series. After Perry Rhodan the second German conversion of low-price novels.
Here he is. At last, one would like to proclaim, because John Sinclair is not only a simple detective from Scotland Yard, but also a professional ghostbuster and the hero of over one thousand novel booklets. One even rumors that he is the reincarnation of different light shapes across history. Which fate led him to this eccenetric occupation - we do not know. We can only hope that this multimedia conversion of the eternal fight of the light against the darkness can clear this up a bit. This time we have the unique opportunity to participate, not only passively, as in the novels or the TV-movie, but actively with mouse and keyboard.
The story begins in a solitary monastery, somewhere in sleepy Germany, where the evil likes to breed in secrecy. John is called when terrible things happened there and the dead come out of their graves. So we take with us faithful companion Suko and drive hastily to the Eifel. Suko, Chinese without surname, not only blessed with significant body strengths, but also possessing a demon whip, a terrible weapon against the creatures of the night. All people you could find in the monastery are questioned in every detail first. After that the monestarial property is intensively searched, what brings to light several objects. We pouch everything, because you could never know, where you could need a key or a pry-bar. As soon as we collected information and tools, it is possible for us to face prowling skeletons in order to receive a mysterious book. Our Beretta is a valuable help for us in doing that.
Is this circlet the key to hell?
Also here at home in London signs show that the powers of the darkness bear in mind evil. To clear up such activities we visit the "Centennial Fair". This time we are not accompanied Suko, but by our old friend Bill Conolly. The Porsche-driving journalist owns the golden pistol, which could spray the death fog - but will this help him? On the fair we examine all booths exactly, so that no absurdity escapes us. At last we visit the Freakshow, are involved in hallucinations there and make in the cellars under it some more or less pleasant encounters. There we meet a dimension traveler beauty named Kara, an old acquaintance of John, who presents us a magic artifact from the sunk Atlantis. But beware of the fat woman! We can only face her with the suitable weapons.
Even in the bubbling metropolis New York horror has moved in. We have to go down into the sewers of the city, again accompanied by the faithful Suko. Here we are immediately mugged by the ghouls. But with our Beretta and its legendary silver ball ammunition the slimy-green shapes clear up thoroughly, at least with the second hit. If the gun is empty, we should immediately use the not less legendary ghost whip made from demon skin, in order to be able to continue our mission. Because at the end one of these muddy canals you will find a dead body with an important bunch of keys... Even to historical pregnant Egypt the journey takes our salvation bringer from Scotland Yard. But before we have the chance to transfer our conceptions of mummies and magic graves, we first have to deal with Arab shop owners and bus drivers...
With the means of mind and a tranquil hand it should be possible for you to pass through all four parts of the Sinclair adventure. But you should always keep in mind the abstruse ghost world of cult author Jason Dark alias Helmut Rellergerd, in order to find out about the correct use of magic items and other tools. That doesn't mean that someone, who hasn't learned all Sinclair booklets by heart would not have a chance. One only has to imagine this special concepted world. So you don't have to know that Sinclair is a reincarnation of the crusader and founder of the order of the Templars, Hector de Valois, who can now be found as silver skeleton in the cathedral of the fear in Alet-les-Bains. Although Hector returns again and again as apparition to the present, since he had been killed with a choking iron. Besides he was transformed by the strength of the Holy Ark into a liquid mass, when he saved the life of John Sinclair. Sinclair is not only known as the heir of the cross and the son of the light, but also lived one of his previeous lives as Hector de Valois, king Salomo and as Richard lionheart. But even if not aware of these basic facts of the Sinclair universe "Evil Attacks" can make a lot of fun.
Behind this idyllic monastery walls horror is lurking
The graphics are not on top despite hardware acceleration, but however provides atmospheric pictures and partly frightening camera drives. In contrast the Shooter elements - how to say? - considerably raise the trash factor. Not only that they are actually not 3D but two-dimensional, one is moving within a moderately complex maze, from all sides approached by skeletons, ghouls or other monsters. Furthermore you are busy to manage to turn around in slow-motion to get the attackers despite the rather slow graphic engine. Also special fun is caused by the two-dimensional objects such as gravestones and trees, which fold up in the suitable angle to nothing, to pop up to full size again with the next movement. However we not really expected a Shooter of id-software-level, because these parts are only entertaining extra to a pure adventure-game, else prevailing the proven "use this object with that object-model".
Additional fun became the developer's confession to trash cult by the scattered mini-games. Already in the main menue the possibility is offered to play a bone man version of the primal-game Pong ("Bones") and a head and gravestone version of the not less archaic Breakout ("Scully"!). And look around on the fair. You will find objects, which you would only have assumed otherwise with Monty Python.
Die Rätsel sind teilweise durchaus knackig, die eingestreuten Shooter-Teile schön trashig und teilweise zum Brüllen komisch, etwa wenn Ghoule und Skelette auf einen zuwackeln und erst nach energischem Schießen von ihrer Absicht ablassen. Der Jahrmarkt mit seinen kleinen Zwischenspielchen und der Palmtop im Spielmenü ermöglichen noch etwas Entspannung zwischendurch...
Sure, ther are no render-milestones set, and the shooter parts are rather exhilarating than impressing. But this does not disturb at all in this special context, because the game has to live up to the trash level of the novels. I even suggest that it is quite difficult to tinker such a reasonable game from such a scurrile material. Nevertheless topics from several original novels were used and converted in a style-safe adventure, which will enjoy not only pure horror fans, but also all those with a sense for scurrile humor.
The puzzles are quite difficult sometimes, the interspersed shooter parts are beautifully trashy and partly amusing. The fair with its small intermediate mini-games and the palmtop in the main menu still allow some relaxation occasionally...
Graphics: 69 %
Fritz Effenberger, PowerPlay 6/98