Monday, May 26, 2014

Hanging out on Chandler Avenue & other (less salubrious) places


For the past week or so I’ve been playing the new Tex Murphy computer game Tesla Effect – A Tex Murphy Adventure, and have been wholly engaged by the game to the detriment of other interests.

After a sixteen year hiatus it was pleasant to be back on Chandler Avenue and seeing the old Chandler Avenue regulars again, as well as meeting the new residents and shop keepers. In case you’re wondering, Chandler Avenue is Tex Murphy’s home strip, situated in the mutant section of Old San Francisco in the post WW3 world of the game, where Tex resides, and has his office, in the rundown Ritz Hotel.

Set as it is in a post apocalyptic world, the atmosphere is dark and noxious, very film noir, but a wicked dry humour infects even the darkest moments of the game, a humour that Tex Murphy fans have grown to love. The new game delivers that same vibe. Sixteen years may have passed since the cliff-hanger ending of Tex Murphy – Overseer, but playing Tesla Effect instantly bridges the gap of years as if they had never passed.

Tesla Effect opens, after a fantastic cinematic introductory scene, with Tex regaining consciousness on the fire escape outside his office at the Ritz Hotel, with a bump on his head, strange injection marks on his arm and amnesia.  He is unable to remember his past seven years of existence.  The game takes off from there, with Tex endeavouring to recover those lost years and find out what happened to him and his girlfriend Chelsee who was with him at the cliff hanger end of Overseer. This leads him to several other locations, some quite hellish, as the devilishly complex plot unfolds.

The game has three paths, dependent on choices as you progress through the game, and seven different endings, also dependent on your conversation choices. For my first run through the game I opted for the Chelsee path, though next time I will try for the Taylor path as it will open up more locations, not available on the Chelsee path.

Perhaps the most scary of the locations is the Tesla Institute, an abandoned scientific facility, where not too long ago everyone involved in the Tesla Legacy Society had been murdered by cold hearted hit man Big Jim Slade and his cohorts. At the Tesla Institute you have to overcome giant spiders, energy balls, killer bees and bombs of various kinds. It took me days to get through and I almost gave up several times.

Tesla’s inventions are indeed part of the plot and Tex must save the world from the mad machinations of The Translator who intends to use a Tesla device to purify the world, which will in fact split the planet in two.

Tesla Effect – A Tex Murphy Adventure has the works in terms of plot motifs – resurrection, mind altering drugs, spirit radios, femme fatales, reincarnation, weird sects and of course Tesla devices.

Having played through the game once, I’m looking forward to playing it again with the advantage of knowing its best and worst scenarios and avoiding the situations where you can get killed.

I’m extremely grateful to Big Finish Games for delivering the game that we long time Tex Murphy fans have hankered for over the years.  Perhaps it is not as good as Pandora Directive, which is pretty near perfect, but it comes a close second.

Tex is back!

If you feel inclined to try the game, it is available for purchase for $19.99US at The download is 15GBs.

Aaron Conners, one of the originators of the series, has written a novel based on the game which you can pre-order on his website. He also wrote novels based on the first two FMV games, Under A Killing Moon and The Pandora Directive, which are ripper reads, and will  be reissued soon.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Miracles and other things

race 8_miracles of life 7
Miracles of Life  - Flemington 1 March 2014

I’ve been rather slack on the blogging front of late, being disinclined to write anything. The death of my friend Maureen affected me more than I thought it would and has proved distracting, her sudden and shocking demise being foremost in my brain over the last few weeks.

Even so, I have been following the racing as a matter of course, and was delighted to see Miracles of Life, the fairy tale 2013 Blue Diamond Stakes winner, return to form victoriously last Saturday in a Group 2 race at Morphettville. She is scheduled to be sold very soon in a dispersal sale on the part of her owner, so last Saturday’s race could well have been her last.  She is nominated for the Group 1 Goodwood at Morphettville next Saturday and may take her place in the field, pending a decision tomorrow.

We bid farewell to quite a few stars of the turf after the Sydney racing carnival. It’s A Dundeel has been retired, as has Fiorente, Shamus Award, Guelph and Appearance, so they’ll be missed come the Spring.

However, others will no doubt compensate for their absence, Lankan Rupee for one, who being a gelding will be around the scene for some years, and if he stays sound will be the next big thing in sprinting circles and most likely Australian Horse of the Year for the 2013/14 season.

On the cat political front, the two resident cat masters are still not particularly friendly to one another, but they rarely fight. I did catch them both facing off on the roof of the backyard studio a week or so ago, where Willy had Talya cornered, but I managed to defuse the situation so no blood was spilled. As I write they’re both asleep on the bed only yards apart and unconcerned with the proximity.

Recent photo of Talya curled up on a rug

Clever Willy sheltering from the rain on the front verandah

As Melbourne has been experiencing an early onset of winter, the cold, wet weather has meant that the cats spend more time inside. By the time winter officially arrives we’ll have grown used to it, but the next stretch of chilly months will seem never ending.

Meantime I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the new Tex Murphy game which is mooted to be available on 7th May. A big download (15GB) will certainly take an age to get onto my computer, but after waiting for 16 years for the game, I’m sure it will be worth it.

At least it will be an amusing way to occupy some my time over the winter months.

I’ve got used to my new computer and I must admit that it is a lot faster and quieter than the old one. My only complaint is that the monitor colours are a bit off; something to do with the graphics card I suspect, which I have yet to configure correctly.