The Secret Files: Tunguska Updated Impressions
Looking to solve a century-old mystery? Better have a cat and some duct tape handy.
Secret Files: Tunguska is an adventure game from Deep Silver that deals with the mysterious circumstances in Tunguska, Russia, in 1908, when a huge explosion decimated 830 square miles of Russian forest. Was it a bomb? A meteor strike? An alien invasion? Nobody knows for certain, though conspiracy nuts have been offering their opinions for decades. In the game, you play as Nina, whose scientist father investigated the Tunguska incident and eventually disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Playing as Nina, your goal will be to discover your father's whereabouts in this point-and-click adventure game.
In addition to testing your pixel-hunting skills, Secret Files looks to be a mighty test for your ability to think laterally. Early on in the game, Nina tries to extract information from her father's colleague; a scientist named Oleg. After arriving at his home, she knocks on his door and introduces herself but is rudely rejected by the old man who then goes inside to take a phone call. Nina isn't one to take "no" for an answer, and she immediately starts looking for a way to find out what Oleg is talking about on the phone.
In 1,000 centuries, we would have never independently come up with the solution that the game eventually pointed us to: taping a cell phone onto Oleg's cat (who happens to be hanging out on the front porch) and then making the phone-taped cat go inside the house so you can eavesdrop on the conversation by calling the cell phone from a nearby pay phone. How do you convince the cat to go inside Oleg's crib? By giving it a slice of pizza that's been liberally doused with salt so that the kitty will go inside for a drink of water, naturally. Oh, did we mention that once the cat drinks the water, it runs out into a tree in the front yard? The only way to get the cat down is to create a makeshift basket with a suitcase handle, a plastic bag, and a walking stick.
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While obtuse puzzles might abound in Secret Files, it seems as though a bit of trial and error with whatever items you have on hand in Nina's inventory will lead you to the right solution--you'll also be able to read Nina's thoughts for clues on how to use various items in combination. In addition, if pixel hunting isn't your thing, you can tap a magnifying glass and the game will highlight all of the objects that you can interact with onscreen.
Just how Nina's father connects to the mystery of Tunguska is one you'll have to solve for yourself. Just don't forget to bring your duct tape and a cat. Secret Files: Tunguska is due for release on the DS and Wii in June.