Bureau 13 is a perfect example of a good idea gone wrong. The premise of a secret federal agency dedicated to the investigation of paranormal activities conjures up visions of all sorts of delicious possibilities. Unfortunately, Bureau 13 doesn't deliver on the potential of this premise. For starters, the very makeup of your band of federal agent investigators from this secret agency stretches credibility -- a vampire? a witch? a priest skilled in exorcisms? It's no wonder your fellow agent, J. P. Withers, has seemingly become unstable and tried to eliminate the sheriff of Stratusburg. Your mission is to select and use one or two agents to investigate the unusual circumstances surrounding this rogue agent's activities. How you go about this investigation is where the real problems begin to appear.
The game doesn't follow any logical progression in the actual investigation techniques or prowess of your agents. Frustrations and plain old glitches pop up at every turn as you fight your way through the morass of unhelpful clues and clueless agents. Find an item, pick it up and put it in your inventory. Wait. That can't be. The item is still there in place on the screen where you found it. What's that you say? Can't talk to the person who seems most logical to have pertinent information? That's odd. Once you do uncover a vague or obscure clue, your agents act as if they've never heard of it. They'll doggedly pursue a line of investigation that's already been covered. Movement of your characters can be nightmarish. It may take multiple attempts to circumnavigate a simple trash can or position yourself to talk with another character. The biggest complaint other than the lack of reasonable control response lies with the total failure of the game to steer you in any logical or comprehensible direction. Why are you here? What are you looking for? Well, agent, you're on your own there.
Mercifully, the game designers give you the option of turning off the incredibly bad voice acting and sound. Unfortunately, when you invoke that option there are times you can still hear the sound effects. You must use a combination of "action verbs" to accomplish tasks but this doesn't always work smoothly. There are locations to explore and puzzles to solve, each having several solutions based on the character you are using. All too often, however, they don't advance the story or contribute much to the investigation, or if they do, it's in a disjointed and puzzling way.
Bureau 13 requires a great deal of patience and blind acceptance of flawed logic to get to the heart of the story. For the most part, it just isn't worth the effort.
Graphics: Probably the highlight of the game. Unfortunately.
Sound: Really bad. The best feature is that you can turn it off.
Enjoyment: Frustration and lack of logic create a nightmarish excursion into what could have been a decent story. Weak interface controls exacerbate the problem and leave Bureau 13 out in the cold.
Replay Value: Only replayable from standpoint of using different agents to solve the puzzles. But with the bad interface and program design, most gamers won't even finish the game let alone replay it.
This is a puzzle, adventure game about an ultra-secret organization called Bureau 13, whose operatives investigate paranormal phenomenon. After one member of the organization draws unwanted attention to himself, the Bureau decides to neutralize him by sending two agents on his trail. The game offers many characters to choose from such as thief, priest, mech and vampire etc. Since each character has different skills, each puzzle can be solved in a number of ways, leading to different endings.
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