“Gemini Rue”

We Are More Than Memories

GeminiRue_wallpaper_1920x1200 Ex-assassin Azriel Odin – who has been working with the police to counter organized crime – lands on the mafia-controled planet of Barracus to meet a friend from ten years ago – and his own brother – who now hope to defect to the police.

Meanwhile, a young man called Delta-Six wakes in a forbidding facility  with no memory. He’s told that his memory was wiped after an escape attempt, and that if he cooperates with certain “tests” he’ll be released.

What can I say? This game’s premise grabbed me from the start, and with the gameplay, puzzles, characters, story, and ending, it delivered an experience that still has me in “game-hang-over.”

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When I clicked to examine the vent on the wall…

The characters were excellent. There’s Azriel, whose gravelly voice and five-o’clock-shadow are classic assassin, but whose underlying character is breath-takingly heroic. His associate Kane Harris is the wary government agent – whose loyalty and common sense in a crisis are indispensable.

Even the people on the street, the mafia goons you plug, everyone is brought to life with the right little detail. It makes the world feel bigger than the screens you’re actually allowed to explore.

Another reviewer noted that the world you’re allowed to explore is not very extensive. This is true, and while frustrating to the explorers among us, it at least lets you know that the solution to move forward is not over there.

Also, the way Azriel refuses to “chase bunny trails” reveals his character, as when you try to enter some stranger’s apartment and he says, “I have no reason to go in there.” I, the player, had a reason to try that door, but Azriel, the defected assassin, is too conscientious to break into random people’s homes for no reason. Can I get an Amen?

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 9.54.51 PMThe gameplay itself was pretty intuitive. Interact-able objects/people/locations light up with their written name when the cursor hovers over them. Then you use a left-click to observe the object (where the player character makes some comment) or right-click (control-click) to interact with it. Interacting can take the form of picking up, grabbing/climbing, or examining with a Hand, simply studying it with your Eye, kicking/stepping on with your Foot, calling out/speaking to with your Mouth, or applying some item from your inventory. That takes a lot longer to explain than it does to actually explore in-game.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 10.05.42 PMAs for the puzzles, they were some of the most intuitive, realistic puzzles I’ve seen in a point-and-click adventure. There were barely any of the “find-obscure-object-and-use-it-on-nonsensical-other-object” puzzle, and very few “hunt-the-screen-for-the-pixels-you-need-to-interact-with” puzzles. Mostly, it comes down to exploring the environment and helping Azriel find his way forward, plus a few verbal-tree puzzles (that are often humorous).

I confess I did use a walk-through/cheat-sheet a little – mostly to reassure myself that I was on the right track. I began to fear that novels have spoiled me. In a novel, all the bad decisions are the characters’ fault, and the reader just sits back saying, “Oh, that was very stupid.” In a computer game, it’s all on you; the player is the one calling the shots and putting their foot in it, so to speak.

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The gun-battle mechanics are realistically taught, and easy enough to master while still providing a challenge.

(On that note, I recommend frequent saving, especially during the first chapter. The game’s autosaves are quite handy, but especially once the gun-battles start you might wish you had a save in a different spot, or a little farther back, etc.)

I do recommend this walk-through if only for their help on two certain geometry puzzles that would have taken a long time and resulted in a lot more frustration had I tried to solve them on my own. I’m usually a fan of the Universal Hints System at UHS-hints.com because they give you just enough to point you in the right direction and let you figure it out yourself, but for whatever reason they don’t have an entry for Gemini Rue. I did the next best thing by having my brother gaming companion read the hints for me, and tell me “warm” or “cold” (excepting, of course, the infamous geometry puzzles mentioned above).

One brief note before the conclusion: GoG.com offers the #DRM-free digital version of the game for Windows (XP to 10), Max OS X (10.6.8 and up), and Linux. I had no issues running the game, and while the graphics are retro-low-def, the character portraits that accompany the dialogue are more detailed, and add to the emotional engagement.

The voice acting is also stupendous.

One thing remains to be discussed: the plot. Oh, good gracious.

If you know anything about me, you’ll know a story about a man seeking to rescue his brother will have me glued to the screen. The rising tension – and expectation – in this tale was glorious. Until…

Until my brother said he thought there might be a plot twist. He said he thought [REDACTED]. I scoffed, until the next scene dropped an inkling that he might be right. And then

Oh, then, my friends. The twist. The drama. The betrayals, and desperate last stands, and the sheer heroism of best friends…!

How I wish I could share it with you all! I am glad I had a forewarning, lest my tender emotions crack under the weight of the reversal, but I daren’t spoil it for any of you. Just know it’s the kind of profound, gut-wrenching climax that has me itching for another play-through.

SO – run out, find it, buy it, play it, love it. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget (see what I did there?!).Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 10.40.49 PM copy

Gemini Rue is a sci-fi/dystopian adventure point-and-click by Wadjet Eye Games. Purchasing it on GoG.com gets you the version for your operating system, plus wallpapers and the soundtrack, which I’ve been listening to obsessively ever since finishing the game. Seriously, it’s a gorgeous soundtrack. (Also, if you wish-list the game on GoG, they’ll email you when it goes on sale!)

The game is also available on Amazon, and on Steam (please note that Steam applies DRM to their software).

All screen-shots were taken by me, and are used for review purposes.

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