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<  Fatale  ~  My Review of FATALE

celticmystress
Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:27 am Reply with quote
Joined: 23 Apr 2009 Posts: 13
Inspired by Lumino, thanks for the great idea! Find their FATALE Review Here!

As always, I take my hat off to you Tale of Tales. It seems everything you create, brainstorm on, or sketch out hits a home run with me. I don't know how this is consistantly possible, but it is, and I admire you and will continue to admire (and support) you.

One thing that is so appealing to me about you and your games is the obscurity... although I know you often hope for a larger budget to work with, more followers and supporters, more advertizing etc.etc.; both you and your creations radiate with a very professional "home grown" feeling. And to me, you and your games are like the hidden pearl in an internet full of seaweed. A cherished gem.


Please accept this evaluation of this wonderful piece of art you have created, as seen through the eyes of a friend, fan, and admirer.

The Cistern
What I Liked

Immediately you are thrown into the climax of this ancient story, and having known the story of Salome (or rather, the fate of Saint John) beforehand, I have to admit my heart gave a quiver to find myself launched into the very cell where I knew death was unavoidable. I remember wondering what exactly I had to do to advance into the scenic level further, and then I realize the colorful collection of veils was a timer to what I both feared and anxiously awaited. I loved the fact that you could see Salome dancing above your cell, however briefly. The music gradually builds and instills a sort of dread in the heart of the player as they listen and watch.

When the final vision of the ghostly verses appears before you, and the dramatic music finally halts into an eerie silence, you can almost hear Salome's voice answer Herod as he asks her what she wished for... "The head of John the Baptist!" A metallic scraping of the cell door rings in reply to the dancer's wish. I hear determined, steady footsteps before I see the winking of the sharp, curved, silver blade as the executioner advances toward me. His eyes reflect one purpose, as his swift, abrupt motion carries the terrible deed through. Not thinking twice about snuffing the flame of a single life, on the whim of a pretty dancer's word; I see my own blood spatter. Beautiful. And then the introduction, I float upward toward the ceiling to explore the moonlit Terrace.

What I Didn't Like

After reading Lumino's review, I must say I agree with a few things. The sound of the boxes being shifted/kicked out of the way is quite sudden and jarring, and seems to "wake me up" from the overall mood of the eerie, quiet and haunting scene. I did not mind the control system, though it would have been nice to have been able to look around without moving. I also fell in love with the idea of being able to watch the dance that was the hourglass to my death, but was a bit disappointed that I could not see her more clearly/in more detail. Perhaps a puddle resting at the bottom of the grate would allow a better point of view?

Overall

I loved this scene, and after I had played it once, I was terrified and haunted by it enough I didn't want to play it again! After awhile, I purchased the game again, after having bought a new computer, it was just as scary as the first time! But I loved it so much, I could appreciate the brief heart pounding moment. To instill an honest fear in someone with your artwork, writing or any other creation should be quite a compliment.

The Terrace
What I Liked

At first glance, the moonlit Terrace looked like a painting, and the way it was presented gave me the feeling that it should have been a scene well known and recognized by everyone around the world, young and old. Like some sort of forgotten Mona Lisa. I was allowed to interact and explore with this painting come to life, and a certain veil of nostalgia falls over me... Agreeing once more with Lumino, what struck me immediately was the actual layout of the level, you could see everything with a simple turn of the camera. Yet with this, there was SO much more to see as you floated in closer. I have always been a fan of the small details. When I was little, if I was given a choice of a new beautiful teddy bear, or a tiny model of a house with little people in it, I would pick the latter every time. I noticed the skull ring on the bed matching the skull on the door of my cell, along with the tiny pearl (?), and it was these tiny details that made me fall in love with FATALE. The door behind our femme fatale with the window was so intriguing, and I found myself peering into the little window numerous times, and wondering what exactly the open book revealed, regardless of if I could read the foreign words or not... or would they be foreign? The staircase that led down to the water had a stunning texture. The waterlogged, aged brown wood set a new expectation to any other texture in any future game.

The textures, features of the characters, animations and details in FATALE are all top-notch, and they completely surrounded me everywhere, in the shimmering gold grouting in between the turquoise blue tiles, the star shaped ingraved patterns on the silver platter where my own head rests-- aah my head, I found it peaceful and serene not all all ghoulish or frightening. It seemed to make the scene. The texture in the clouds, on the large disc-shaped moon! And when I will the golden rays to circle the candle's flame, I notice the sky turns blood red, symbolic and beautiful. Matches resting on the huge blood smear in the floor of the shed behind the executioner, "Salome" written in a girlish cursive script, along with what appears to be a phone number? Ahhh I could go on forever... And the sound effects, the soft thudding of the heartbeats and breathing of the characters when I get close enough are a subtle but firm reminder that I am no longer among them. I actually enjoyed the controls very much, the feeling of almost being at the mercy of a passing gust to be swept away, and the feeling of floating on the air was magical. I loved the freedom of being able to approach everything at any angle imaginable.

Though I think, if I had to pick one thing about this picture perfect scene the thing that I loved the most would have to be when I choke out the candle's flame next to Salome's mother. Depending on which version I choose to reflect this interactive painting, I can evaluate and justify her reaction. In the book of Mark, Salome consults her mother as to what she should ask for, and it is her mother who says "the head of John the Baptist." It is almost as if Salome's mother is more receptive to the disturbances around her, perhaps through the guilt bearing down on her shoulders of taking my life? She is the only one to react to my invisible presence... I thought this was ingenious. And the red henna patterns on her hand are flawless.

What I Didn't Like

At no point in this Experience did I find anything even close to unattractive or annoying. Though I cannot quite decide if I like the modern elements in the scene, such as the books of matches, guitar, amp, sneakers, ipod... but in a way I could admire and appreciate them, for the creative stimulation they give as I ask myself "what era am I in?" followed by many other questions that I enjoyed trying to piece together and answer (to no avail.(; ). Though I loved how they connected the modern world (the player) and the ancient story, bringing both closer to each other. One more thing I noticed that I didn't particularly "dislike"-- was the repetition of tall square, featureless buildings. I believe there were only two of them, but it was enough to draw unwanted attention, regardless the textures were enough to pass by them without them appearing out of place.

The Sunlight
What I Liked

To be able to watch the dance that was the cause of my death was both haunting and magical. The music and the dance together seemed like some lost traditional ritual of a forgotten civilization. It actually took me until I played the game a second time to realize Salome had been topless whenever I saw her. I was shocked, but glad that it hadn't been made obvious, it seemed much more creative, tasteful (in a way) and artful to make that fact somewhat veiled.

What I Didn't Like

I feel that having to click "Replay" separates the experience in a way that breaks up the flow of the art, as well as confuses the player. I also found the sunlight to be quite sudden and a bit too bright, only because it took away from the detail of the scene. The "zoom" was also a bit hard to navigate and not being able to stop the zoom without it recoiling back to the original view, I found it more of a task than an enhancement.


Overall

FATALE as a whole was an excellent experience, and now that I am past being afraid of being executed, I am sure I will play it over and over again. Though I felt it was too short! Like a tiny slice of the most amazing cake, like a magnified, tiny section of a massive Rembrandt painting, like a thirty second sampler of a stunning symphony. In fact FATALE felt like a demo, a teaser, a taste of what could have been or what will be! Overall I find myself sinking my teeth into too small a bite of cake! Though I give FATALE a 9 out of 10 or higher. Thank you Tale of Tales, for such a wonderful interactive, scenic painting; and keep going!

Emma
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