‘Indigo Prophecy’ lets gamer decide

By Brian Thoman

The term “cinematic gameplay” has been used before, describing shabby cut scenes and letterboxes in between gameplay, never really meaning much to the average gamer. Never has it been used in the way Atari’s new game “Indigo Prophecy” does. The game uses unique gameplay and a gripping storyline to make the player feel as if he/she is actually in a movie – a movie about a murder committed by Lucas Kane.

Lucas Kane is most certainly not the murderer stereotype. He is a typical tech support guy for a large bank who is an honest, hardworking man that has good values. However, in one dark night his whole life is twisted to the point of no return. In the opening scene we see a diner bathroom where Lucas convulses in a stall while carving odd symbols into his arms using a knife. Another diner enters the bathroom and Lucas, seemingly against his own will, attacks the man and kills him by stabbing him three times in the heart. After the murder has been committed, Lucas seems to regain control of his body and looks at the atrocity he committed in horror. Remembering the police officer sitting at the diner, Lucas has to make a decision: should he hide the knife and body, wash the blood from his hands, clean the floor and calmly exit or make a break for it? The choice is up to the player.

“Indigo Prophecy” is a game of choices, making its gameplay and story very closely intertwined. Different actions at certain points in the game result in different effects later on as the game progresses. Hide the body and wash the floor? It will give you precious seconds to escape before the police officer goes to the bathroom and spots the body for Lucas to escape but what if someone enters the bathroom while you hide the body? Pay your bill before leaving? Maybe you should because the diner gal behind the counter claims she always remembers the face of someone who doesn’t pay the bill, but the cop is on his way to the bathroom now and if you pay you might not have time to make a break for it. Should you take the cab or subway to flee the scene? The cab can get you out of there faster but is traceable by the police while the subway may take time before the next stop. Choices like these make “Indigo Prophecy” not only completely addicting to play, but frustrating.

Lucas is not the only character played in this game either. Carla Valenti and Tyler Miles, two NYPD detectives, are put on the case of what seems to be a

murder committed by a man in a bout of psychosis. That’s right, “Indigo Prophecy” is a game that makes the player try to elude himself!

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In your game with Lucas you must find out what really caused you to kill a man you never met before, why you are having visions of the future, and how to get the police on your side. With Tyler and Carla you have to find out who the killer is, why he did it, and how to catch him if he seems to know your every move before you even make it. All the while, you must keep all characters’ mental health high. In this game the players’ health bar is not the traditional health bar most think of. If your mental health bar drops too low and you go into depression your character can go insane or even commit suicide. Making the player often have to make choices on how much he can afford to give to the police to find while still remaining at large.

On the other hand, those looking for high-energy action scenes will find themselves disappointed. Scenes where you dodge cars and fight others are directed by a simple reflex game utilizing the analog sticks where the colors that flash on screen represent a direction you must press an analog stick in a given time. While the action is intense to watch, the player can’t help but feel a little disappointed that he is not performing the action himself.

Nonetheless, the game is not intended for action! “Indigo Prophecy” is a game of puzzles and logic and should not be downplayed for what appears to be its weak gameplay. Those who can get their head around the poor in-game action will be rewarded by the best video game plot this year. I wont give away any of the areas this fantastic story guides you through, but why is the city constantly getting colder each day? Why was Lucas the murderer? The police files tell of similar murders being committed each month in the same way by different people. Are they connected? The twists and turns this game takes will keep you asking questions and wondering what you must do next.

“Indigo Prophecy” is a work of art. While its weak gameplay action will keep most gamers at bay, the plot will keep you enthralled until Lucas, Tyler and Carla find out exactly what has been going on in New York. A must have for the puzzle gamer and worth checking out even if you aren’t into puzzles. Can you find out the truth behind “Indigo Prophecy”?

Final Score: 7.5/10