Tell-Tale Heart

Tell-Tale Heart is actually one of my favorite short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. I cannot say I have read his poetry but I did read a lot of his short stories. So seeing this being made into a game was pretty exciting for me since I was curious how faithful it would be to the story. It was actually developed by students (OneBlueEyeStudios) although it is not stated what they are studying. I suppose it is safe to assume they are studying game design based on the game.

I found his short stories to be intriguing and fascinating to read, even if they were somewhat macabre at times. My personal favorites were: Goldbug, Tell-Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado.

My impression was that I would be playing literally a recreation of the story. From the beginning to the end. I was surprised that it actually focused on towards the end of the story, with some changes.

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For those who have not read the story, I really recommend reading it. It is a very well-written mystery. A very quick synopsis is: it revolves around the narrator who eventually kills an old man (possibly his landowner) because of his vulture-like eye becauses it causes him (the narrator) so much distress. Police are called in when someone reports a disturbance after hearing a scream. He (the narrator) confidently allows them entry and even invites them to have a chat, in the same room where the body is concealed. However the narrator suddenly breaks down and confesses to the murder, as he is plagued whether from his guilt or hallucinatory- of the old man’s beating heart from within the floorboards.

The game seems to take place towards the end when the police arrive to investigate the report of a disturbance. I am not very sure what you are supposed to do since I was still exploring around the house and randomly collecting items till they showed up. I had assumed I was going to be doing a recreation of the story from the beginning, like I mentioned earlier. So having the police show up was a little surprising.

It was rather slow-paced since it consists of you mainly waiting as the police wander around and asking questions. You have two dialogue choices between confessing to the murder or explaining things away to the cops to hide the murder.

However, throughout the entire time you are hearing a voice in your head. A constant heart-beat between your ears. The voice appears to be the old man’s voice who is taunting you and reminding you of the fact you have murdered him, in attempt to break you down and confess to the cops. I must say that whoever was acting as the old man’s voice actor did an excellent job.

The art style was interesting as well since it mixed 2D graphics within a 3D environment. It just seemed to add to the tension and creepiness of the game. Although the dark environment and lightning storm affects helped with that as well.

The whole system of showing you the officer’s face when they want to talk to you, then having the glowing white line to guide you to the correct officer was a nice touch. Since both officers looked the same, having that guide system was really useful especially if you did not know which room they were in.

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Based on what I seen, they seem to be working on fleshing out the game since there were some issues. The mouse was a little too sensitive that made it awkward at times to try interact or look around the scene. I also noticed that the logic of the game did not make sense since you tell the officers that you live alone, yet they mention the missing room-mate. It seems they intend to rectify that in future where the officers answer more appropriately based on your answers. Wasn’t sure if I was supposed to get away with murder in the game or stay true to the story. I suppose you could go either way since both are an option. I went with the first since I wasn’t able to “confess” to the murder.

I really need to replace my gaming mouse.

Still an interesting experience to play. Would definitely keep an eye on it, I want to see how the updates change the game.

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