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ECOQUEST 2 / Sierra / PC
The second Ecoquest is more of a "legit" adventure game than the first was - it's composed entirely of actual puzzles which you aren't given the answers to, though you still can't die or get irrevocably hung up by missing an item, making it significantly easier than most Sierra offerings. It's also closer to the length of a typical Sierra adventure, at roughly ten hours of gameplay all told.
This one sees hero Adam a couple years older and sporting a rad mullet. He and his dad are off to the Amazon rainforest for some eco-mission or another, but the animals hijack Adam en route to complete some quest involving saving a giant tree that is the mother of all jungle life or something. Some logging company headed up by Liquid Snake in Panama Jack gear is gonna cut the shit out of everything and Adam has to run them off to save the day.
You'd think this would be a better overall game given that it actually has a challenge level now, but unfortunately the puzzles are really not well-designed. They mostly consist of "item chains" and fetch quests, and the difficulty is generated solely through pixel-hunting and clicking on obscure and random things. There's also some rather goofy leaps of logic required.
Accompanying the obnoxious pixel-hunt puzzles is, unfortunately, an obnoxious soundtrack. This is especially bad because the beautiful music was one of the main qualities that made the first game worthwhile, and here it honestly just kind of sucks. The backdrops aren't nearly as impressive either - I'd venture to guess Sierra farmed this one out to one of their Korean art studios rather than keeping it in-house.
The final point that kind of rubs one the wrong way about this one is that it gets into the whole "white savior" territory. This wasn't an issue in the first game since it was almost entirely undersea and dealing with animals, but Adam is actively trying to save a rainforest tribe of people now. For some reason, no one in the village is competent to save the World Tree or whatever, and they can't even solve their own basic problems of losing their tools two screens away or asking the shaman to make a healing salve without the Chosen Honky Child of Destiny coming in to do it for them. It's just a little ridiculous and hard to swallow, and probably a little condescending to boot.
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