Note: This review was originally posted April 19, 2005
First, how many of you out there took one look at the “Anime” genre and thought, “Oh, Japanese porn!” Well, as a public service, let me provide a quick introduction to Japanese cartoon terminology.
Anime – A Japanese style of cartoon drawing characterized by large European eyes and small triangles for noses. Anime was first introduced to America withSpeed Racer and Kimba the White Lion. Modern examples would includeDragonball Z and Pokemon.
Manga – According to The Urban Dictionary, manga is a style of Japanese story telling which may or may not include graphics. Manga, in Japanese, means "flowing words" or "undisciplined words".
Hentai - Japanese for "pervert." Literally "strange desires." Hentai is porn characterized by women with impossibly large breasts being ravished by tentacle monsters.
So the white chamber is a flowing story told through Japanese style cartoon animation. Notice that the white chamber is NOT hentai. There is no sex or nudity in the game. It is, however, quite horrific with lots of blood and body parts.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's look at the game.
From the web site: “A young girl wakes to find herself inside a strange glowing coffin, in a dark room. Who is she? What is this place? Why is she here? As she explores the warped environment she finds herself trapped within, she must search for answers, all of which will lead her closer and closer to the white chamber and the truth it holds.”
A classic story, and told well.
The Japanese also tend to be into violence and occultism in their stories. We see the violence everywhere and the mysticism is hinted at. If you have a weak stomach, this game is not for you.
Another characteristic of Japanese Manga games is that they ask innocuous questions and, based on the player's answer, will give you different endings. the white chamber does this as well and provides four different endings based on the player's responses.
The story flows well and each time you solve a puzzle you are rewarded with either a revelation or another mystery.
The story is also very consistent. There were no distracting plot holes and it was possible to read between the lines. I remember thinking, “You know, the way she is acting almost implies...” and sure enough, I was right.
The story was completely satisfying and I give it an A.
The puzzles are all of the Inventory variety. They were all logical – a locked door needs a key, not some bizarre contraption. Although sometimes you had to be very clever to figure out how to get the key to the door.
The level of difficulty was easy to medium, perfect for me and I was able to finish the whole game in two days without a walkthrough.
The only wrinkle was the classic “Wow, I can't believe I can actually hold all this inventory.” But that is forgivable.
Hardened adventurers might find the puzzles a bit easy, but the average gamer should love them. I give them a B+.
Third person perspective point and click using the WME engine from DEAD:CODE. The cursors were large and well distinguished. There was no pixel hunting.
A simple right-click gives you the choice of Examine or Manipulate/Take.
You can see from the screen shots how even the cursor was brought into the Anime theme.
I could find nothing wrong with the system and so give it an A for nailing it.
All hand drawn, classic Anime. There are even several cut scene animations which were entirely hand drawn. Even if you don't like the style, you must agree that the artist fully achieved his desired effect and should get an A for nailing it.
No background music. No voice acting. Only ambient sounds, but very effective. Your feet clank as if you were walking with metal boots on a metal floor – no way to hide from whatever is stalking you. Metal groans. Steam hisses. This place just isn't safe.
Sound gets a very nervous A.
Very good. There was always just one more thing to do and I wanted to do it. I never felt frustrated from not being able to solve a puzzle or not knowing what to do next.
Again, they managed to nail it for an A.
It awed me that Studio Trophis was able to capture the Anime style so well.
It awed me that they were able to capture the essence of Horror so well.
It awed me that this was done by only three people; Richard Perrin, Paul Johnson and Zakir Rahman.
It awed me that they are giving the game away as freeware.
This was one awesome game.
I have only two regrets. First, that the game ended. But that is a good thing as it means it left me wanting more. And second, that the next project from Studio Trophis will not be an adventure game, but an RPG.
Get this game.
Final Grade: A
At this point in time, Studio Trophis has not established any minimal system requirements. But I suspect they should be modest. There are no requirements for 3D accelerated graphics cards.