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Added to the lair: 8/10/20

Genre: Point-And-Click Adventure / 1st person

Developer: Arxel Tribe

Year: 1999

Platform: Windows

Emulator: None

Wikipedia: Faust

Faust: Seven Games of the Soul

Enter Dreamland...

I've said it before and it's likely obvious given a few of the offerings here, but I like weird games. In some cases a game's uniqueness is enough to make it a compelling experience for me, despite - and sometimes directly stemming from - some very fundamental flaws in design or production. Some of my favorite games of all time - games like Anachronox or Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines - are deeply flawed but have so many positive and interesting elements that it completely makes up for it. I can't quite say the same for Faust, but it is unique.

 

Being published by Cryo seems like a good fit as they regularly developed and produced myriad bizarre and flawed titles throughout the 90s, a few of which are so strange that they come across like something made by aliens. Arxel Tribe definitely seem like kindred spirits. The primary contributor to Faust's rather off-kilter nature in my estimation is the writing. It's not that it's poorly written per se, and the voice acting that accompanies it is actually pretty good in general, but more often than not I felt like I was missing half of the story. Something would be said, delivered with appropriate bravado, and then a scene would just abruptly end. The story is told almost entirely through flashbacks, some of which are truncated and are often out of order, and while this makes a certain amount of sense in context, it often makes things more confusing than they should or need to be. I found myself saying "Wait, what?" a lot. It does evoke quite a bit of curiosity though, because it all just feels so... odd. The larger problem, however, is that certain plot elements are just outright abandoned in some cases and things that seem like they should be significant either aren't or at the very least they aren't sufficiently explored. It left me scratching my head on some occasions and disappointed in others.

As far as the gameplay is concerned, it's a rather standard point and click affair with image bubbles to hunt around in. It's very linear (pretty standard for a lot of point and clicks) but that's made more obvious by the very small environments; they're noticeably smaller than a lot of games in the genre I would say. The puzzles themselves often leave a lot to be desired too. Some of them are interesting and sensible but many of them employ some extremely questionable logic or lack sufficient information/clues and just come across as contrived.

It has a fairly unique soundtrack that's actually quite nice, employing a lot of licensed jazz and big band music to good effect. I really enjoyed the music quite a bit.

I found myself vacillating between being intrigued, confounded, and annoyed for most of the game. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. Something about it though, I can't quite put my finger on it... a sortof ever-present oddness I found fairly charming. Your mileage may vary, but if you like your games on the weirder side - and there's probably a good chance of that if you're reading this - you'll likely get something worthwhile out of it, even if that's primarily the old confused dog head tilt.

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