A French adventure that’s aiming at the comedy end of the market. Things don’t bode well, do they? Ceville isn’t as annoying as you might imagine, but this isn’t a game for those with an ounce of cynicism in their bodies, despite that the main character should appeal to bitter types that like to complain. That’s us down to a T, but sadly Ceville didn’t strike a right chord. Essentially, it tries too hard to be funny.
The game is all about an evil tyrant (the titular Ceville) who’s deposed by a group of bumbling rebels, comedy turncoat guards, his treacherous former disciple, Basilius, and a vain paladin named Ambrosius. Languishing in jail, the deposed monarch plots revenge on those who have wronged him and, with the help of an innocent young girl, he puts his plan into action. As you can see in the screenshots, the game is hugely influenced by Monkey Island. The colors, the characters, the environments, everything oozes Monkey.
The references don’t stop there. Just in the first hour or so of play, we spotted gaming nods to Day of the Tentacle, Legend of Kyrandia (Ceville reminds us very much of the evil Malcolm), and there’s even a scene where Horny from Dungeon Keeper and LeChuck from Monkey Island make cameos. There’s also a nod to Life of Brian in the form of a prisoner hanging from a cell wall, Sergio Leone westerns (jangly music and extreme close-ups on eyes during stand-offs), and Lord of the Rings (the title of the game’s first chapter). We won’t keep on about this, but for the observant, there’s a huge amount to spot if you look carefully enough. Oh, when Ceville says “Alice was chained here,” is it reaching to see a reference to the seminal ’90s grunge band? Perhaps.
Aside from those gaming and cultural nods, this is your standard adventure game. The puzzles are decent enough, though can be a little fiddly about the way you do them, such as knowing what to do but having to do it in a convoluted manner. The voices are hit and miss, especially the main character. Sometimes he works, sometimes he grates, and there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. Ceville is a pleasant enough game that doesn’t demand to be played (and, let’s be honest, is too expensive), but adventure fanatics should get enough joy out of it to warrant a purchase.
Mar 19, 2009