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Staying Alive: Still Life 2

Sultry and pre-rendered.

I’m a little bit surprised to hear news of Still Life 2. It’s reasonably likely that you missed the original – an adventure game that should, were it to have been finished, have been almost okay. But instead it was hopeless, a murder mystery with no ending, no resolution, and littered with the most ludicrous puzzles imaginable. I have faint memories of needing to use a crane to move some crates so some dogs wouldn’t bite me, but the crane required I solve a peculiar puzzle to be able to move its levers, as it was apparently designed by a mad sadist. And a gingerbread recipe in code. And in the game.

(Oddly, the developers, Game-Go, are reluctant to admit the game exists, not mentioning it anywhere on their website. Further, the revived publisher MICROÏDS deny all knowledge. I’d love to bring you some screenshots, but, well, it’s tough. So instead I’ve decorated the rest of this post with shots of Ship Simulator 2008: New Horizons.)

A boat on the sea, yesterday.

It was left unended because MICROÏDS completely ran out of money and went under. Some extraordinary bollocks was then spouted about the game being a prelude to an online ARG (alternative reality game), as if to justify just sort of stopping midway through the story, but still being able to sell it. Of course there was no ARG. There was no point.

MICROÏDS are back from the dead. Oh, the unbridled joy. And so, it appears, is Still Life, which is rather generously receiving a sequel. For those in the Adventure Games = Heroin camp, any fix is a fix, and Still Life’s having decent graphics and writing was enough to herald it as the greatest achievement of mankind. Despite having the most idiotic puzzles in the most ludicrous circumstances (it even featured the 3 litre/5 litre jugs to make 4 litres puzzle – ultrasigh), and the small matter of just randomly stopping when it ran out of money, fans demanded more. Poor junkie fans.

The deck of a ship, literally.

Witness the new rip-roaring trailer!

Despite focusing on a new serial killer, it’s promised that Still Life 2 will get around to finishing the first game’s story. In the first game where you played FBI agent Victoria McPherson, and also as her grandfather in flashbacks based on his diary entries, apparently pursuing the same killer. Of course, this was never explained, but it did feature the rather nice idea that the grandfather’s version of the incidents might not have been entirely true, but rather his embellished perspective. That’s all gone now, with McPherson chasing after the East Coast Torturer – a killer who apparently cleans his victims after death – as well as playing as his current hostage, Paloma Hernandez. Who knows, maybe it will have an ending? Preferably without a series of disingenuous tile puzzles and lifts operated by Rubik’s cubes.

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John Walker

Senior Editor

One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and general hero of humanity.

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