Classic Game Review: The Alpine Encounter

The Alpine Encounter is a graphics adventure game, the first in IBIDS VODAC Adventure Series. Some background information, as well as a telegram from your boss, Freedman, awaits you as you open the box.

You learn that, at the Peking Imperial Museum, two people broke in and stole a vase dating back to the first Ming Dynasty. While, six thousand miles away at a military installation in the Rockies, a second pair of men snuck into a secured portion of the base, broke open a large military safe and removed a large blue envelope, stencilled with “Stealth Missile”. The men escaped from the room of the installation in a helicopter.

Then you are brought back to the present with the following message from your boss. You, Agent 456, must immediately fly to ALPENBERG and check in at the Ski Resort. You are then to contact Agent 487 regarding VODAC involvement in a conspiracy which would give VODAC world domination. Agent 487 is operating under cover as an exchange student at the resort. You have only twelve hours to complete your mission.

As you boot your disk, you find yourself standing in front of the Ski Resort. First check in at the front desk. Otherwise you will not be able to wander through the hotel in search of clues (the hotel premises are only available to paying guests). At various times throughout the game, you will come in contact with the main characters. When you meet them be friendly and ask them questions. For, only by interviewing the characters can you hope to find the clues, solve the mystery, and foil VODAC. To get more background, you might want to go to the hotels’ newsstand and buy a paper.

After you search (map) the hotel, you probably will want to try your skill at the animated skiing sequence (you do need to ski to complete the game). There are a beginners and an expert slope (you can choose either one at the beginning of the run). This was a nice change of pace which was made additionally interesting by the fact that you are being shot at while skiing down the slope.

A short distance down the ski slope, you will arrive at the ski chalet. You can either ski there or be carried there for medical services like I did (I didn’t get too far down the mountain before I crashed into a tree). Search the ski chalet and pay particular attention to the radio room.

A nice feature in this game is that your interaction with the characters will affect in some ways the plot line. The changes appear subtle, and tend to change the timing of certain events, but it gives the story a little of the uncertainty found in real life.

An intermediate level game, The Alpine Encounter has detailed graphics similar to other current graphic adventure games. The animated ski sequence fit well into the story line. I especially liked the character interaction and the ability of either you or the character(s) to follow each other around. It sometimes felt as if there was more than just a computer behind the scenes controlling the action.

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