TGS '07: Professor Layton and Pandora's Box First Look

Level 5 shows off the sequel to its adventure game at TGS, and we take a first gander.

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Professor Layton and Pandora's Box is the second of three Professor Layton adventure games that Level 5 is planning to release for the Nintendo DS. While the first game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, is set to be released in the US this December, the second game is just about ready to be released in Japan. And Level 5 showed off a lengthy trailer for it at its stage show here.

The Professor Layton games are conceptually a bit similar to American adventure games, in that you travel around and attempt to unravel a mystery while partaking in many minigames, as well as puzzle sequences. (The first game apparently incorporated almost 2,000 individual puzzles.) In this game, Layton and his youthful charge discover the body of a dead man early on in the game. Their investigation leads them to board the Molentary Railway Express, where they begin questioning the passengers and eventually wind up in an ancient castle where a mysterious but probably evil lord rules. Layton and the lord eventually wind up in a ripping swordfight, possibly over the fate of the mysterious Pandora's Box.

Obviously enough, all of the text and voice-overs here were in Japanese, so it was a bit difficult to follow the thread of things. Apparently famous people are involved in providing the voices for the game, so that's good. Anyway, in between talking to people, there is also going to be another large batch of puzzles and minigames to get through here. We caught glimpses of a couple of these puzzles; one seemed to involve efficiently packing a bag for your trip, while another had you serving breakfast buns to a few of the fellow passengers.

While it's difficult to judge the gameplay of Professor Layton, one thing is clear: The Japanese audiences at TGS were eager to get their hands on Level 5's latest creation. The line to get into the booth, even with the relatively low population of the media-only day, was an hour and a half long. This was likely due to the fact that Level 5 was issuing exclusive demo DS cartridges to everyone who came through. We got one for ourselves, so as soon as we give the game a whirl, we'll try to update our impressions of the game. Stay tuned!

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