Stranger Than Non-Fiction – Watergate: The Videogame

By Nathan Grayson on May 8th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

A key part of the Watergate scandal omitted by countless depictions.

Watergate: The Videogame is sort of based on All The President’s Men, a book about the investigative reporting that ultimately exposed US President Richard Nixon’s massive Watergate scandal and forced him to resign. Now, I say “sort of” because the game’s about as rooted in true-to-life fact as the concept of Richard Nixon’s honesty – which is to say, basically not at all. Watergate begins as a clunky point-and-click adventure with you in the role of journalist Bob Woodward, but quickly plunges into fourth-wall-obliterating, genre-wire-crossing madness. It’s often silly, frequently dumb, and occasionally educational. I think the best part was when I became Mega Man.

(We are now in SPOILER TERRITORY.)

OK, I lied. The best part was when my boss handed me an Elvin Broadsword at the beginning of a journey to, you know, hunt down sources in the least conspicuous fashion possible. But a Tim-Leary-powered Mega-Man-inspired LSD rainbow explosion trip definitely took second place. Or maybe third. I don’t want to give away everything, but here’s a hint: refuse the Watergate gig right at the beginning. Then watch as magic happens.

Watergate goes off the rails pretty much from the word “go” and looks back only to stare so deeply and awkwardly into your eyes that you begin to feel self-conscious about your eye stalks. It’s impressively packed with gags, too, even if a few of them are rampantly un-funny and far too reliant on easy lowball punchlines. Still though, the number of wacky “Hmmm, I wonder if…” actions that actually prompt results is admirably high, and they frequently result in your vividly described death. Hurrah!

It is, however, also often quite obtuse, and I definitely got stuck more than once during my hour-and-a-half-long playthrough. I imagine it’d have taken half the time if I didn’t encounter a couple total stumpers, but the ending was worth the frustration. So yes, give Watergate a go if you always felt like US history needed more comically out-of-place retro game references and stifling item puzzles. Or if you just want to get your day started off on an exceedingly confusing note. You really can’t lose, unless you value your sanity. And what kind of silly person does that?

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17 Comments »

  1. staberas says:

    So yeah i was reading the article , laughed at some parts and in the corner of my eye i saw this “Valve Drop Hints About Episode Three” ,
    you know how much im pissed again when i realized the article was written in 2008 …..

    Valve WHERE MY EP3 !!!!!

    • luukdeman111 says:

      outbrain is indeed one of the biggest pieces of **** ever created…

      I’ll simply ignore it though since Ibelieve RPS gets payed for it and I like the hivemind to have food on the table as well…

  2. Danda says:

    This game looks like the best thing ever. Is there any downloadable version?

  3. Hodge says:

    I think this has already won me over with that chiptune rendition of Holiday In Cambodia.

  4. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    DAMMIT JOHN WALKER STOP PUTTING POLITICS IN MY RPS I’M HERE FOR GAMES FFS!!!

  5. The Random One says:

    I can’t even get to the Superior Courthouse because I don’t have anything with its address written on it. Bah.

    • Jason Lefkowitz says:

      I’m not sure you actually have to go to the Superior Courthouse. At least, I played through to the end and I never went there.

      To get your first lead, EXAMINE the newspaper on Bradlee’s desk.

      • The Random One says:

        I was actually stuck at the asshole intern, but the way the game was structure made me think I had to do something else before I went there.

        Here’s my review: the only thing worse than ending a point-and-click adventure by forcing the player to win a reflex-based minigame is having an unskippable cutscene when you fail, and the only thing worst than that is nullifying their victory if they fail a glorified QTE.

        • SD says:

          Yeah, wow… don’t “Q” to quit unless you want to start over completely. It’s quite possible that I’ll never see the end of the game now, for sure because of that.

          I’m a pretty experienced point-n-clicker, and didn’t really get stuck anywhere, puzzle-wise, but my choice to quit the minigame, to perhaps see if my other inventory would be useful, was met with the starting animation :-(

  6. killjoy92 says:

    How do you get past the a**hole intern?

    • The Random One says:

      Go to the other room in the Miami Dale county office, punch the lock (make sure you’re clicking the lock, not the door, it’s a bit fidgety), enter and talk to the plumbers.

      I went from being stuck at the beginning to giving out advice! Wow!

  7. haze4peace says:

    OOOooo Shadowgate music. Strange as I just played Shadowgate a week ago.

  8. Bluerps says:

    I realize that this article is a couple of days old, but I just punched Richard Nixon until he exploded, and I felt the need to tell that to someone.