The Eye of the Kraken

2002 Absurdus
Designed by Jonathan Lessard, Noë Cropsal
Reviewed 2002 September 30

Rating -3 Linearity straight, segmented
Reasonability reasonable Connectivity moderate
Difficulty easy Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned menu Real-time none

A powerful object of magic, the Eye of the Kraken, has been stolen from Titien. Titien enlists his friend Abdullah -- that's you -- to find and retrieve it. Titien knows it's on the ship Glutomax, so you board it for the trip. You must investigate your fellow passengers to try to uncover the thief.

The scenario is intended to be humourous, in an absurd way, per the developer's name. There are about a dozen characters, from Hamlet's Ophelia to Rasputin, mostly characters from history or fiction. It takes place in a nebulous age of sail era.

There a good developing plot as various passengers have their skeletons dragged out of the closet. It's well paced by triggers, but with only a few real challenges, and only one or two that require any thought at all. At least they're all relevant and reasonable, no serious missteps. Mostly you just run around and talk to everybody, search everything, do what you're told, and repeat.

Kraken is made with the AGHAST engine. There's no speech, just subtitles, and there's no ambient animations. The background artwork is handsome, and even the characters are reasonably well done, as 2D sprites. It's not cutting edge, but it's effective. There are only 11 save slots.

The subtitles are translated from French, and it shows. The spelling is fine (they obviously used a spellchecker), but the word choice and phrases are sometimes a bit bizarre.

Kraken falls short as a game, with almost no significant challenge. But it has a rollicking story with a good helping of jokes, so it's worth the time.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.
David Tanguay's Game Reviews
Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.