Tex Murphy Tesla Effect brings back everyone’s favorite video game detective for a new epic adventure.
When I first learned about Project Fedora, the Kickstarter project to bring Tex Murphy back for an all-new game, I kicked myself in the head for being too late to donate. Fortunately, I did get to sign up to a press mailing list and that, fortunately, nabbed me a review copy of the game. If you read my blog or follow me on social media, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of the Tex Murphy games and even put it at #3 in my all-time favorite old-school adventure games, so a new game was just what I needed to keep my old-school video game kick going this year.
So how about a review? I’m going to start off by stating that Tex Murphy Tesla Effect is darn near-perfect. Everything a Tex Murphy fan could want is covered. And even those people new to the series should appreciate the game’s graphics, humor and gameplay.
Story, Story, Story
If you’ve read any of my other video game related articles, you’ll know I’m a sucker for a good story. In fact, I don’t like games that don’t have much of a story and always gravitate towards those that do. A lot of that has to do with my early PC gaming experiences (yes, that includes the Tex Murphy games). So I was thrilled to find myself thrown head first into the story of Tesla Effect, so much so, that I caught myself laughing, holding my breath and nearly crying tears of joy during the course of gameplay. I felt so compelled by the story that I spent several late nights just trying to find out what happens next.
Tesla Effect picks up seven years after the previous Tex Murphy game. Private eye Tex Murphy has apparently become a real douche bag, but he doesn’t remember that because he wakes up one morning with those seven years completely missing from his memories. All he knows is that he was abducted and that Chelsee is probably dead and that he’s caught up in some conspiracy that involves the great works of Nikola Tesla. So not only does Tex have to figure out what’s happened in those missing seven years, but he also has to stop some very evil people from doing something that could drastically alter the fate of mankind. No pressure, right?
It’s a great story, with a lot of twists that left my jaw on the floor occasionally. There are many layers to what’s going on in the game, and figuring out just where it’s all leading is utterly satisfying. Thanks to dialogue choices, you can steer the story in a certain way. I was utterly gratified by the romantic happy ending my game came up with, although I’m assuming there are multiple endings available.
Tex’s wonderfully sarcastic humor is in full effect and throughout the game, you just want to click on things just to see what he’s going to say about them. I did. I clicked on EVERYTHING. I love how Tex has always been part Sherlock Holmes and part Inspector Clouseau, and this is evident in the way Chris Jones still plays him.
Graphics and Sound
Back in the 90’s, when I played the original Tex Murphy games, I always wondered what advanced graphics would do for the game. Well, fast forward to 2014 and now I know. And you know what? Tesla Effect looks amazing. And it should. You’ve got live actors, full motion video and beautifully rendered background scenes that deserve today’s technological advances. I almost wish all the previous games would be re-imagined with today’s graphics capabilities.
Sound, too, is good, with nice ambient music going on in the background. There’s a lot of dialogue and it sounds good, too, but a lot of that has to do with the acting, which I’ll cover later. Special effects sound great.
This is a true point-and-click adventure, but what I love about this game is that it really offers a lot of variety. There is a lot of gameplay that involves dialogue and questioning others about events that have happened. But there are also actual puzzles, things that need to be figured out to open drawers, safes and boxes. There are mazes and areas where you have to watch your step (or get blown up or eaten by a giant spider). There are areas where good old-fashioned detective work and observation skills gets you through to the next scene. It’s all mixed up very well for a very satisfying gameplay experience.
If anything, acting is where Tesla Effect shines. This isn’t just your standard voice acting gig. This is full motion video where real people have been put in front of a green screen and act out all scenes. These people are filmed and inserted into the game, not as animated avatars (like we’re used to seeing), but as real live people. I loved this about the original games.
Chris Jones is Tex Murphy. He plays the detective so wonderfully that it’s hard to imagine that anyone else could even touch the character. He is such a variety of things: from sarcastic to suave to bumbling idiot ,and Jones has no problem being all of the above all at once. Jones still has it in droves and I hope he’ll be playing Tex Murphy for many more years to come.
There are other returning actors to the game as well: those with character we remember like Rook and Louie. All of these characters are as wonderful as they originally were. Yes, they’re occasionally cheesy, but that’s the point. That’s always been the point.
If you haven’t figured it out, I loved this game. But as a reviewer, I have to cover the bad with the good. Fortunately, the only bad was a weird fluke with some save points that occurred when the game updated on Steam. However, this won’t be a problem with anyone who downloads the game now. So the bad actually isn’t bad at all.
Earlier, I said that this game is near-perfect, but what I meant to say is that it’s perfect. If you’re a fan of Tex Murphy, you will want to play this game. However, even if you’re not familiar with the series, I think you might enjoy this as it’s something different from anything else out there right now.
My final thought on Tex Murphy Tesla Effect? Please, please, please let there be a sequel.