There are two types of games I enjoy. First of all, we’ve got your basic run of the mill, relatively transparent games. Loosely speaking, I’m referring to platformers, beat-em-ups, shoot-em-ups and mindlessly pawing at the controller- em-ups. The type of game where I don’t need to ponder over a storyline or empathise with a character’s mindset. What’s that? Ryu just whooped E. Honda and now we’re going to have an hour-long workshop on how that makes us feel? Count me out!
Don’t get me wrong, games like this are great! They have their own unique charm. They’re not going to be taking home gold when it comes to my emotional investment in them though. I like it when these games spoonfeed me simplicity. I want to joyfully jostle the pretty shapes and colours on my controller. Sometimes though, I love to indulge in the complete opposite. I also love games with rich, beautifully composed and imaginative stories. Games with three-dimensional characters, aesthetically pleasing worlds, and kick-ass drama. Stack all of that together and there’s a game which blows my mind and rocks my world. When a game leaves me more intrigued over what’s occurring in its fictional universe than my own vanilla existence, it’s a winner.
Introducing Fahrenheit or is it Indigo Prophecy?
For me, Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy in America) captures the essence of what makes a narrative-driven, action-adventure game great. It has an intriguing story from the get-go, which doesn’t falter as time goes on. Instead, it becomes wilder and larger than life. More so than I anticipated.
Fahrenheit is the early handiwork of Quantic Dream. These same developers would go on to bring us games such as Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human. Published by Atari, it was first released for the PlayStation 2, original Xbox and PC. Since it’s release, there are even more avenues available for players to experience this game. Most recently, it was given a remaster and release on IOS and Steam.
Simon Says With a Story
If you’ve played any of the aforementioned titles from Quantic Dream, you’ll know their games are somewhat unique. For those that haven’t, Quantic Dream games are best described as interactive movies. Yep, that means quick time events! If QTE’s aren’t really your thing, don’t shy away from Fahrenheit just yet. They do play a big part in the game though, so I do need to address them.
The QTE’s in Fahrenheit are driven through the use of analog sticks. This attempts to recreate certain movements in a vaguely realistic manner. The whole concept was certainly refined in later Quantic Dream games, but it works here for the most part. In particular scenes with a higher intensity, you’ll be presented with a mini-game which runs over the top of a scene that plays out. If you fail the mini-game too often, you’ll fail and will need to start over.
These mini-games are reminiscent of the early handheld Simon Says games. Remember those? Instead of having to remember a particular pattern, however, you simply need to push the analog sticks in the correct direction when prompted to do so. Don’t worry too much if you do fail though. You have a maximum of six lives which can be accumulated through light exploration. As basic as this may seem, I enjoyed this mechanic. I also quite like Simon Says though.
The game starts by introducing its protagonist. A possessed Lucas Kane is self-harming in a diner bathroom cubicle. He’s carving strange symbols into his bloody wrists and is about to commit an unprovoked murder! There’s no easing you in here. Kane stabs some poor unsuspecting sod to death in a bizarre ritualistic fashion. You the player are then left to cover Lucas’s tracks and get the hell out of dodge.
This for me is where the games sheer brilliance comes in to play. The way you choose to cover your tracks effects how quickly the police catch up to you. You could always choose to cover up nothing and make a quick getaway. You’re more likely to escape the scene unnoticed this way, but it might not bode well for you later on. Alternatively, you could choose to cover your tracks, clean up the blood, hide the body and most importantly the murder weapon.
Fahrenheit has multiple playable characters. The aforementioned Lucas as well as detective duo Carla and Tyler. When playing as both detectives at the murder scene you’re probably going to remember where you hid the murder weapon. To me this isn’t a flaw though, it just creates further opportunities. Do you decide to find the weapon or do you not? Who will you side with? The end result makes you feel like an omniscient superbeing. You’re playing a game of toy soldiers in an overall scenario more satisfying than Morgan Freeman whispering softly into your ear.
Despite its achievements, Fahrenheit does too have its flaws. Fahrenheit’s main problem, which can be relatively infuriating is the camera. The multiple, fixed camera shots can at times impose on the practicality of gameplay whilst exploring. As the camera doesn’t track your character, expect multiple changes in angles whilst roaming the environment. These angle changes can at times lead to frustrating complications when your character transitions from one to the other. You’re likely to trace back on yourself when holding the analog stick in a particular direction. This can become quite disorientating, however, you’ll get used to it eventually.
Give Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy a Try
I don’t plan on spoiling Fahrenheit’s storyline for anybody. This is something which needs to be experienced on a first-hand basis. I still envy anybody that hasn’t yet played this game yet. They have the opportunity to experience its compelling story from a fresh mindset. For me, the story never fell short. Not once was I left feeling disappointed and wanting more as Lucas, Tyler, and Carla attempt to unravel the mystery behind a series of gruesome murders.
An original copy of Fahrenheit can be picked up for next to nothing nowadays. If you don’t own the hardware to play it, as mentioned before, Fahrenheit has been remastered and rereleased on IOS and Steam. There’s plenty of ways to play Fahrenheit, so I recommend you give it a try. When you find the time, pick up a copy, make yourself comfortable and thank me later; I’m sure you won’t regret it.