Fork in the Tale, A Download (1997 Adventure Game)

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Imagine making a simple trip to the store, only to find yourself caught in the middle of a terrible crime. Then imagine a parallel universe, set on an island, teeming with inhabitants that want to see you dead. Finally, imagine that you suddenly find yourself on this island after washing up on its shores -- dazed, confused, disoriented and hurt. Imagine no more -- this is exactly what happens to you in the comedy/mystery/adventure A Fork in the Tale.

As the main character in this interactive movie, you control many aspects that determine in which direction the game turns, all the while working toward a specific goal. In order to escape the island Eseveron, you'll need to react quickly, solve puzzles and unravel a centuries old mystery through the simple expedient of clicking on the proper icons that pop up on the screen during your adventures.

The game has three distinct skill levels that allow you to progress at a pre-determined pace depending on which you choose. The easy level (Visitor) contains fewer navigational choices and fewer steps required to solve tasks and lets you progress through the story without solving puzzles correctly. At the Competitor level (default), puzzles are more complex, more navigational choices are required and completion of tasks must occur before the story will proceed to the next scenes. The Hero level allows no progress unless all tasks are completed successfully and playing at this level gives you bonus scenes not available at the lower skill levels.

Only two keys are used in the entire game, one for pausing/resuming and one to access the main menu for administrative functions (saving, loading, etc.). The aforementioned process of clicking on correct icons during action scenes is integral to your success in moving the story along. A Fork in the Tale uses eight action icons and 19 speech icons, each representing a specific reaction to what's happening onscreen.

Although the game deals with some serious subjects, the level of comedy encountered depends a great deal on the player's ongoing choices -- the more speech icons you click on, the more comedy you will hear. The game contains more than 4,000 lines of randomly selected dialog to further the cause of comedy as you work your way through the adventure. Gameplay in A Fork in the Tale is from a first-person perspective and features the voice of comedian Rob Schneider as your onscreen alter ego.

A Fork in the Tale is a first person action adventure in full motion video. The video is smooth and the action is fast paced. There's never a dull moment in this adventure. Though you do see the dying sequence an awful lot, death isn't permanent In fact, you come to accept dying as similar to the concept of breaking eggs to make an omelet. It just happens, you get over it, you move on. Unfortunately, in order to move on, you have to pass the area where you died, leading to some very redundant gameplay.

It's set in the quaint little world of Eseveron where all the happy inhabitants all want to kill you. That's right, everyone whose anyone wants you dead, even scantly clad jungle women. You meet a girl, who tries to help you by making you chase her around a forest, all the while trying to escape from, you guessed it, people who want to kill you. Am I making my point? If not, allow me to be blunt. The plot is as thin as say your average bouillon broth. You spend the whole game running away from things. This really wouldn't have been bad if it weren't for the fact that you do it over and over in the same places. I mean come on, couldn't they have at least come up with some neat little twists or something.

Fortunately, the plot is just about the only weak link in this game's chain. In fact, the feeble plot hardly hinders the game at all. Because the game is highly immersive, you barely notice that there is no plot. (Kinda like the movie Independance Day) I almost couldn't stop playing until I had beaten it. To put it simply, it's just plain fun.

A Fork in the Tale is one of the best fast paced full motion video game out on the market to date, second only to Hardline. The amazing thing is that the game's video actually runs well. The game never seemed choppy as I would have expected, in fact the frame rate never seemed low at all. Of course, this came at a small price in graphics quality (the resolution was not very high).

As you run away from your pursuers, you constantly have to make decisions on the fly. Most of which have to do with what you say or do. Most of the games puzzles are in the form of completing a number of tasks that allow you to move on. These tasks are often completed by clicking on the right icons before they disappear. This takes a little time to get used to, but after a while you get the hang of it, and it becomes only a matter of quick thinking to determine the right icon to click before it disappears of screen.

Also, this game features the voice of the Saturday Night Live star, Rob Schneider. His comic interludes are what give this game its flesh. Some of the scenes were so hilarious I actually played them over just to hear him again. In fact they even made up for having to go to the same places over and over because he always had new funny thing to say.

In conclusion, this game is good one. The saddest thing about the game was that it wasn't longer. The game took me under 10 hours to finish on medium difficulty and I really wanted more. The average two year-old could beat the game on easy, and the average eight year old would have little trouble dealing with the game on medium. So, unless you're a little slow with the mouse, play on hard because otherwise you really won't get much play time out of the game. I should mention of course that this game is rated at 13+ so you two year olds please stay away unless your parents give you permission (thank you!). This game is not a must download, but between the fast paced action sequences and the witty remarks made by Rob Schneider, A Fork in the Tale offers an appealing package. Though this game gives the word redundant a bad name, I just fell in love with it. It's not very long, it's not very hard, but it is very fun.


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