Out of control
Do you remember all those early adventure games in which you couldn't talk to anyone without walking right up to them and you couldn't manipulate anything unless you were standing right beside it? If you do, welcome to Red Hell. You can't do anything to anything in the game unless you're all but standing on top of it. You can't talk to anyone unless you're well within head-butting distance of them. Even if you only want to look at something, you first need to ensure your head is firmly buried in it. I've lost count of the amount of times I tried to examine something in the game and was greeted with the dreaded 'move a bit closer' message. To make matters a zillion times worse, moving the main character around is a profoundly frustrating experience. Go where you want him to go he will not, go everywhere you don't want him to go he will. Even simple stuff like trying to get the silly sod to walk around a desk is a complete pain in the arse. You can't simply point and click to the spot you want him to move to, you have to guide him there and it usually takes several attempts before you are successful. By the time I had discovered all these problems (for instance, before I'd even started playing the game properly) I was more than just a little pissed off and not exactly excited at the prospect of spending a day or two playing it. However, I did play it. Crap control system or not, I was determined to find out if there were any strong elements of gameplay waiting to be discovered to make up for all the game's bad points, if only partially.
Something from nothing
It's a shame the graphics and control system are so crap, it really is, because as an adventure game, Red Hell is actually quite good. The puzzles are difficult but logical, the plot develops nicely as you go from one location to another and you get to speak to the different characters. At the start of the game you discover your son, Philip, has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. As the plot develops, you receive messages from Philip which help you to piece together all the clues, which in turn, reveal how the Soviets invented the atomic bomb and won the war. Most of the story revolves around an ancient piece of machinery called the Salokrys: a sort of makeshift time machine. You have to find the two crystals needed to operate the machine and go back in time to kill the mad Nazi before he has time to invent the atomic bomb.
For the most part, the story is engrossing and the puzzles are tricky enough to challenge most people, but even in this area the game has problems. Firstly, it suffers from the old 'get something wrong and you die' problem. Walk into the wrong room or do the wrong thing and you're history. Secondly, there's a maze which needs to be negotiated before you can complete the game. To successfiilly make your way through the maze, you have to jot down on paper every single move you made that didn't end with your untimely death. This is time-consuming, boring and frustrating.
Would I buy it?
No. Most definitely not. Red Hell just has far too many problems for it to be any fun. Despite the fact it has tons of digitised speech, 70 locations to explore and lots of fiendishly clever puzzles, 1 still wouldn't give it the time of day. The control system will drive you berserk, reloading every five minutes because you're dead will frustrate you to the point of distraction, and messing about in the maze for ages will introduce you to some extremely colourful language you didn't know you were capable of uttering. If you're attracted by the idea of playing an adventure game with digitised characters and speech, take a look at the other games listed in the 'In Perspective' panel before you even think about buying this one. There are plenty of excellent adventure games around that look and play miles better than Red Hell.
Download Red Hell
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP