Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “professor layton”

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (Gamefly.com)

When Professor Layton’s mentor opens the fabled Elysian Box, he dies. Is the myth about whoever opens that box will die true, or did someone murder the professor’s mentor and make it look like the myth was true?

The plot is your typical Professor Layton game. At first, it looks like something mystical is going on. Then the characters explain everything in a way that a raises even more questions. To sum it up, the entire series is one big Voodoo Shark (a term invented by SFDebris). Don’t get me wrong, I love the series but I can’t ignore its flaws. I will say one thing, and I warn you that there will be spoilers in what I say next. Professor Layton is not a fit guardian. He regularly abandons Flora, a girl with psychological abandonment issues to the point where she can’t be alone, to go adventuring. When he discovers that Don Paolo kidnapped Flora, he decides to continue solving the mystery of Folsense and the Elysian Box and treats getting Flora back as an afterthought. At this point, I wonder why Flora’s even in the games anymore. She did serve a purpose in the first game but now she’s little more than the token girl of the series. You could say the same about Emmy in the prequel series but she has actually proven useful on more than one occasion.

The game play is the same as ever. You explore the scenery while solving various puzzles along the way. Granny Riddleton will collect any puzzles you miss. You also have three mini-games you can play in the form of exercising an overweight hamster, repairing a camera and taking pictures, and brewing and serving tea to the citizens of Folsense. For those of you who follow my twitter account, you know that the last one is not only my favorite in this game but in the entire series. You can also collect keys to read an old diary. When you’ve finished the game, you can solve bonus puzzles to unlock a few bonuses in the game.

This game is addictive and intriguing. I give it 8 out of 10; one of my favorites in the series.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Gamefly.com)

Professor Layton has just received a note from the late Baron Augustus Reinhold.  His mission, to discover where the Baron has hidden his fortune.  On the way, he has to solve every puzzle the villagers give him.

This game is actually the very first of the Layton series.  The plot is about Baron Reinhold’s family and you have to figure out the story little by little.  This is also an introduction to the characters and the only one we really get a back-story about is Flora.  So, I can’t really say anything about the game without giving away spoilers.

The game play is the same as any other game from the Professor Layton series.  You solve puzzles in order to collect picarats.  You can find hint coins throughout the game and if you miss a puzzle, you can go to Granny Riddleton.  You also have three mini-games you have to solve and in this one you need to assemble a robot dog, put a picture together and create the perfect inn rooms for Luke and Layton.  When you’re done with the game, you can solve the puzzles in the bonuses section and unlock plenty of hidden content.

This game is addictive and challenging.  I give it 7 out of 10; a good introduction to the Professor Layton series.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (Gamefly.com)

After finding the city of Ambrosia, Professor Layton receives a letter from an old friend to come to Monte d’Or.  It turns out a man called the Masked Gentleman has been using an artifact known as the Mask of Chaos to cause incidents all over the town.  Now Professor Layton must face his past in order to save the future of himself and those closest to him.

The game alternates between playing in the past and playing in the present.  In the past story line, we discover how Layton became interested in archaeology in the first place.  That and Layton has one screwed up past.  I don’t want to give anything away but can you imagine forever living with the knowledge that if you had agreed to leave a dangerous place, your friend would still be alive?  However, I will admit that his friend, Randall, does seem a bit self-absorbed.  He constantly tries to get Layton interested in archaeology despite his repeated claims that he has absolutely no interest in it.  Yes, I am aware that Layton does get an interest in it later on, but the fact remains that Randall tries to push his interests on other people.  He also wants to go on a dangerous mission despite his girlfriend, Angela’s, concern for him.  I’m not saying that he deserved what happened to him.  I’m just saying that if you want to go on adventures you can’t have a family that’s constantly worried for your safety waiting for you at home.  In the present, Layton travels the city with Luke and Emmy looking for information about the Masked Gentleman and trying to discover the secrets behind his dark miracles.  Again, I don’t want to give anything away but I felt that Professor Layton forgave the Masked Gentleman way too easily.

The game play is the same as any other in the series.  You travel around the city solving puzzles.  Each one you solve awards you with a point system called picarats.  The more you collect the more bonuses you can unlock.  You also have to complete three mini-games in order to unlock more puzzles in the bonus section.  Oh, and you can participate in a horse racing mini-game which I actually enjoyed even though it had no point.  There are also these puzzles in the past where Layton and Randall explore the ruins of an ancient civilization while avoiding mummies and giant boulders.  This was my favorite part of the game because we truly get to see Layton in his natural habitat.  Yes, I am well aware that archaeologists in real life don’t avoid mummies and run away from giant boulders but for once, the game came across as less like Sherlock Holmes and more like Indiana Jones.

This game is exciting and challenging.  I give it 7 out of 10; despite a few plot issues, I truly enjoyed it.

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva (Amazon.com)

When Professor Layton’s former student, Janice Quatlane, invites him and his apprentice, Luke, to watch her opera, they end up trapped in an elaborate game.  The rules, solve each puzzle before time runs out and win eternal life, or suffer instant death.

You’re probably wondering when you missed this installment in the Layton games and you actually didn’t because it’s a movie.  Now you’re wondering why I’m reviewing it if it’s not a video game and the answer is simple, I’m expanding my repertoire to include books, movies and so on but there’s a catch.  It has to be based off of a video game because that is my area of concern.  Now you’re probably thinking that since it’s a movie based off of a video game it must suck and you couldn’t be more wrong.

The main problem with video game movies is that during the adaptation process, they tend to remove what it was that made the video game great.  This one only removed the elements of the games that were unnecessary, such as the mini-games and the random people giving you puzzles out on the street, and stays true to the essence of the series, the puzzles.  They are numbered in the exact same way that they are in the games and the timer is the puzzle music that plays in the games.  Just like in the games, they show pictured credits of what happened to the characters and if you’re patient enough to sit through it all, you get to watch the true ending.  Oh, and since this is a flashback, expect to see cameos of all of your favorite characters.

The plot revolves around the game at the Crown Petone Opera House that Layton and Luke find themselves trapped in while Emmy gathers clues on land.  Another element of the movie is a legend about the lost city of Ambrosia where its people await the return of their queen.  I can’t give away too much so all I can say is that the ending wraps everything up in true Professor Layton style.

This movie is a must see for fans of the Professor Layton games.  I give it 8 out of 10; not sure if you’d enjoy it as much if you don’t like the games.

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