Indigo Prophecy

Graphics

New York is the center stage for the end of humanity. Beautiful looking snow falls from the dark sky. Blankets of snow wave through the air, falling towards the water, as the camera continues to fly over the pacific, past the statue of liberty, and into the cityscape. The camera flies past nicely detailed building. Some windows are illuminated with inner light that partially displays the room inside.

Through the maze of buildings, the camera moves downward towards a street corner, bathed in snow. Some oddly shaped cars are parked on the street, as others move down the street. The lighting effects are pretty standard for the Xbox. Being emulated on an Xbox 360 adds that extra crisp touch-up to the hunky models, and makes everything look very clean.

Story

At the wrong place, at the wrong time, Lucas Kane finds himself powerless, and manipulated. In some sort of trance, he watches himself carve symbols into his forearms. His body is possessed and moving on its own accord. He creeps forward, foot by quivering foot. Out of the bathroom stall, and closer towards a man washing his hands at the sink. He can't stop himself. His hand grasps the knife harder and thrusts it into the man, who doesn't see him coming.. despite the fact he's looking in a mirror.. what the hell?

On the man, is in pain.. his left ventricle artery severed from the heart. The knife comes down twice more, severing the other arteries. The sacrifice had been made.

And now you can control yourself again.. You are Lucas Kane. you just murdered someone in the bathroom of a dinner you've never really been to before. Your meal is half eaten at your table. Your fork and spoon lie there with your meal.. but the knife is in your hands. Quick! Gotta hide everything.

Gameplay

That's how you are left at the beginning of Indigo Prophecy. You can freely walk around the bathroom, even hold down the A button to run. But the right analog stick controls your actions. When you come close to something you can do, actions will pop up at the top of the screen and show what right analog stick movements to do to carry them out.

Jesus.. clean yourself up, stash the body, get rid of the murder weapon, and get yourself out of this situation. Halfway through this process, the Cop at the counter, Stanley, needs to relieve himself. He excuses himself from Kate, the only waitress at the diner, and begins walking towards the bathroom.

Split screen.. The widescreen presentation squishes your screen down just a little bit to reveal the steps and movements of the officer closing in on the bathroom on an upper screen. A fuse timer slowly burns away to indicate your fleeting seconds that remain. You'd better hurry up with that body.. He's coming closer!

Looks good to me.. now get out of there. You move casually out the door, past the cop and towards the door, while the cop enters the bathroom. He's not looking, BOLT! "Sir! you forgot to pay your bill... sir!" Crap.. aww, screw it. Better than letting her get a good look at me.

The horizontal split dissolves into a vertical split as you enter the snowy streets. The cop, now on the right side of your screen, searches the bathroom and finds the body, while You, on the left, run as fast as you can to the subway.

Scene..

Characters

You are a murderer.. But you're also detectives. You are Carla Valenti and Tyler Miles assigned to investigate this murder. You arrive at the scene, get out of the car, and talk with the officers. You talk to the witnesses, examine the crime scene, and find clues about the murder you just committed minutes ago.

This is truly where Indigo Prophecy shines. On one hand, you are a fugitive running from the long, trying to keep your sanity. And on the other, you are two cops, tracking down your other character, while their personal lives suffer. This game has amazing character depth, enriched with your own choices that effect interactions through-out the game...

Storytelling

The best way to describe this game is an Interactive Movie.. kinda like Dragon's Lair or Snatcher. It a very modern adaption of that old gameplay style and works incredibly well. You can piss off other characters, screw up the cops, or even screw up yourself.

With so many outcomes for subtle actions, it is Surprising that there's really One ending. Well... technically there are 3 endings, but the other two involve you screwing up the final fight at the end. It's basically a glorified game over.. like when you first get the Epoch, go to year 1999, and lose right away. Technically, it's an ending, but you didn't beat the game. You didn't win.

The main plot and ending cannot be changed, but the game is divided into chapters where each has a main character. Several chapters have multiple endings that aren't simply glorified game overs. Depending on your actions, it will unlock or prevent other scenes in other chapters to come... but never anything that will result in an eventual unavoidable game over.

This is my major problem with the game.. Despite having complete control over conversations and actions, you are still restricted to the linear plot and its devices.

Tangent

Drakengard, or Drag-on Dragoon, is a very overlooked crappy game that has a great essence of splintering the story into multiple endings. It is also divided into chapters that have specific events required of you to complete. However, you can find hidden events within a chapter that will end it differently. This will split the story into 2 continuums that you can follow and result in 2 separate endings. The whole chapter storytelling system is linear in the first place, but this offered a way to change it and follow a different linear path.

Just a little bit of infraction in a linear world can make all the difference. It certainly ups the replay value. Anyways, i wish Indigo Prophecy did something like that early on in the game, rather than the last chapter only.

Too many Matrix parallels (spoilers)

That's not all that Indigo Prophecy misses the mark on. There are many points in the story that take you out of the whole "i'm a normal guy trying to figure this out" type thing. Lucas Kane seemed like a normal guy at the beginning. A guy that you could relate to, but throughout the game his physical prowess just gets more and more ridonkulous.
The first half of the game is kinda like Matrix 1, but the second half is more like Matrix 2.. Kane starts doing karate moves, flying through the air, dodging bullets (exactly like in the matrix), and fighting 'bosses' with super strength and speed.

When you get into the it, the story begins to resemble the Matrix as well. The all controlling beings are really controlling everyone. They've always been around, invisible to the masses. The send out an agent of sorts to retrieve 'the one' who possesses enough powers to resist their power and eventually overcome them.

Hell, the agent they send after Kane is called 'the oracle'.

That's not all

There are two other things that annoy me about Indigo Prophecy, the action gameplay and the overall length.

When you find yourself in a position of dodging a bullet, the police, or just simple questions, it's time to play Simon. You must press the blue button when it lights up, or press the green button when it lights up, and two separate Simon games representing the two analog sticks. Up, down, down, left, right, right, down.. Red, blue, green, green, blue, yellow, red. ugh.. At the least the controls in Dragon's Lair made sense. :/

The length is very disappointing considering there is only one ending. I finished this game around the 6 1/2 hour mark, just a little bit ago. Two casual nights of gaming was all it took to beat the boss and win the level. The only replay value is replaying chapters to see alternate events.. There are also some mini-games of Simon replaying Key action sequences through the game, and a new one or two.

The length does make sense though, considering this game is really just a movie.

Right on

Despite all the bad: the length, the dumb gameplay, the references, the goofiness, the linearity.. I love this game and would recommend it to anyone. Hell it won't take too much of your time anyways. The story is very intriguing, compelling, and suspenseful. It contains a lot of detective clue finding and discovery as to what is going on with Lucas Kane, and how to understand from the psychopath side of the things, as well as the investigation side of things.

One of my favorite scenes is when Carla meets Lucas for the first time to 'ask him a couple questions'. You sort of play as both characters. Carla puts on the pressure and ask inquisitively while Lucas keeps him calm trying not to freak out, while asking the questions, and trying to get through it. It's an amazing point of view.

Indigo Prophecy is definitely worth a look-see. ^_^ If you can find it....

Late to the Party

Indigo Prophecy was released in September of 2005 for the PS2, Xbox, and PC. I prefer the Xbox version, since i'm not a fan of playing PC games and the PS2 version had inferior graphics. I went to a local Shopko one evening, and per chanced upon a copy for a modest price of $20. I think $20 is a bit much for this game though..

I missed out the first time around, but with the December 2006 update to the Xbox 360's backwards compatibility library, i was set to go. I put it in the 360 at our place.. I took seconds for the 360 to read the game, download the patch, and be ready to go. I'm actually pretty glad I waited.. Slightly upscaled graphics and a much better controller. huzzah!

If you own a 360, and haven't played it, definitely find yourself a copy of Indigo Prophecy..




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