Outcry (video game)
|Publisher(s)||The Adventure Company|
Outcry (known as Outcry: The Dawn in Europe) is a first person psychological thriller point-and-click adventure video game developed by Phantomery Interactive, released for the PC by Noviy Disk May 22, 2008 in Russia, and by The Adventure Company September 3, 2008 in the US.
You receive a letter from your brother, a scientist, who invites you to his home so that he can show you the results of his project, and you can get some ideas for your next book. However, once you arrive you find that your brother has mysteriously vanished, leaving all his material possessions to you - including a large, strange machine and a message telling you not to reproduce his experiments.
Disregarding your brothers warning, you start looking for clues that will help you find your missing brother. You discover that the machine he has created is an instrument for making a person disconnect the mind from the body. Recreating the experiment as best you can, you travel to a surreal, dream like place your brother calls The Shimmering World to save him.
Explaining the storyline
There are no clear indications of the nature of The Shimmering World, of the identity of the main hero, of the place and time in which the events of the game take place. The ending is left rather obscure by the developers, which leaves the player free to interpret the storyline as he wishes. There are 4 main versions of "what actually happenned":
- The Professor's brother died when he was a child. The Professor, suffering from a devouring feeling of guilt, constructed a machine that was capable of bringing the childhood memories back to life in order to "save" his brother - in his own mind, at least. However, his experiment failed and the Professor died. The Professor's house, as well as the protagonist of the game - the Brother, - are parts of the Shimmering World and, therefore, of the Professor's conscious, and the game ends with the Professor's death: the "products" of his conscious (the world of the "Outcry" and the protagonist) die as his brain stops working.
- The Professor, suffering from the feeling of guilt for his brother's death, explores the "other side" scientifically and finds a way to get there. Once there, he names it "The Shimmering World" and tries to travel back in time and to change the past, which will affect the actual reality. The Professor succeeds, his brother is now alive and is following a writer's career. However, the Professor has never seen his resurrected (or, to say precisely, always being alive in this reality) brother again: the Professor dies, trapped in the Shimmering World. His brother follows him, witnessing his last memories in the Shimmering World (some people claim that he also dies in the end, like the Professor, incapable of going back to reality and being stuck in the Shimmering World forever). According to one of the versions, the Professor gives his own life in exchange for his brother's, which explains his death in the real world and the reason why the two brothers have never met - they simply existed in different realities (the Professor's sacrifice in the Shimmering World allowed his brother to exist in the real world: the death of the Professor was, in fact, in the same time the "resurrection" of his brother).
- The Professor didn't die, but returned to the real world successfully and stopped his experiments. The protagonist, as well as the Professor's house, are just parts of the Shimmering World which stabilises the disturbances caused by the Professor's intervention by rewindind his memories back in time, with the protagonist being rather a simple witness than an active person.
- There is no Shimmering World and no brother, they exist only in the Professor's imagination, who has lost his mind after the childhood tragedy. Thus, the events of the game are no more than the products of a dying conscious, and the truth is revealed in the very end, when the Professor gains his sanity for a short period of time before dying and realises that there never was a live brother: he died as a child, which is shown in the ending.
The game is played through the eyes of the main character, in first person perspective with a 360 degree panoramic view and point and click interface. Controls are set up to be as easy to use as possible. Clicking the left mouse button will move the main character to the next area, pick up items, read books and notes, etc. On the other hand, right clicking will bring up a list of notes and books that you've already read, a list of items that you carry, and a button for showing the menu.
Throughout the game you will encounter several puzzles that must be solved by searching for clues in journals and other writings, listening to sounds, traveling back in time, or by pure logic.
The game has received very mixed reviews, from lowest grade to top marks. The average sits a bit above average, however, with 62/100 average from MobyGames, 61.77% from GameRankings, and 63/100 from MetaCritic.