Genre: Historical Adventure
Release Date: 2006
Platform: PC, Mac
Note: Originally published July 19, 2006
The Agon Codex is what the music industry refers to as a “remix.” That is, it is material which has been published before, but is now packaged differently and might have a few changes thrown in.
The original material is Agon episodes one through three. How good are they? Well, I spent my $10 on the first and after playing it went right out and paid $10 for the second. And then again for the third. I am anxiously waiting for the opportunity to spend money on the fourth. They are worth opening your wallet for.
And, if all goes well, there will eventually be a thirteenth. The Agon is a serial in which our hero and avatar, Professor Samuel Hunt, travels the world in search of twelve hidden board games. Each game is won when Professor Hunt finds the game and beats the caretaker at it. Once complete, the game is ours to play as often as we like, either against the computer or on-line against others. A very nice concept and the first series which actually has a chance of being completed.
The disk autoboots to the wonderful trailer for the game. The folks at Private Moon Studios are talented artists and the trailer is sure to hook you. In fact, they are so good that the fourth episode was delayed while they create a video trailer for their city to help attract the tourists. It is one thing to be a talented artist. It is another to be able to sell your work.
With the trailer behind us and the adrenaline still fresh in our system, the first game starts with a narration by Prof. Hunt. While he brings us up to speed on just who he is (scientist at the British Museum) a lovely watercolor of a horse and carriage is created for us in the background. The monologue and the painting finish at about the same time and the picture morphs into the opening cut scene. With two strong effects together like this, I was totally won over from the start.
The first episode acts as an introduction. No surprise there. Our night-owl professor has just received a mysterious letter from a “W.K.” It encourages him to solve the mystery which has been placed in the lap of the British Museum. The letter also contains a page form an ancient manuscript – medieval in style and possibly illuminated. This codex tells of a demonic influence called the Black King which takes the hearts of men and stirs them to a passion for war. To counter this influence, twelve board games were created to take the competitive nature of man and channel it into peaceful pursuits.
For some unclear reason, the original inventor is not able to release these games and defeat the Black King. He is, however, able to take these games all over the world and entrust them to different families to guard until someone comes later and declares that they “have come for the Agon.”
It is now several hundred years later and the British Museum has just come into possession of a large granite statue of a Black King. This statue contains the clue we need to find the first family.
The game is well made and ends with the professor off to find the first board game in Lapland. We see the professor board the train, fade and cut. That was when we had to stop and order the next game. But now the first three episodes all come together and instead of Windows, we are taken to the Professor's desk, sometime in the distant future.
At the desk we find several old letters written back and forth between the Professor and his associate, Smythe, while the professor was traveling. There is also a biography of the Professor and we get to read one of its chapters. All of this goes to tell us more about the Codex, which Smythe is researching, and about what is so special about Professor Hunt. This acts as lead-in for the next episode.
At the end of the second episode, we return to the desk again for more letters and another chapter in the biography. Then on to Madagascar. At the very end it looks as if we are finally going to exit the game and wait for episode four, when a surprise letter arrives from Smythe telling us...
So what do you get with the Agon Codex? Three delightful adventure games nicely packaged together with several layers of plots to keep you intrigued.
I would encourage you to go back and read individual reviews of each game and then go out and buy this disk. It's a keeper.
800 Mhz Pentium® III or equivalent processor
128 MB RAM
32 MB DirectX® 8.0 Compatible 3D Video Card (GeForce2 or equal)
DirectX® Compatible Sound Card + Stereo Speakers