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Red Johnson’s Chronicles – One Against All

[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Lexis Numerique” publishers=”Lexis Numerique” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”September 12, 2012″]

Red Johnson’s Chronicles – One Against All is a detective noir point-and-click adventure game from the developer of survival horror downloadable Amy, Lexis Numérique. A sequel to the PlayStation Network Red Johnson Chronicles (sans the subtitle of the sequel), One Against All stands by itself plot wise and follows the title character on a new case to find his brother. Harkening back to the old school PC style of point and click where you are presented scenes rather than a moving character, does Red Johnson have what it takes to make it in today’s generation of games?

As the opening scene plays, the music and style is reminiscent of the anime Cowboy Bepop, which pulled off jazzy funk meets space western. The similarities unfortunately end with the opening sequence. Red Johnson lives in a fictional city called Metropolis. Metropolis is weird conglomerate of New York noir, debilitated Soviet era industrialization, and 70’s era blaxploitation. It is not clear if Lexis Numérique was trying to create a unique style or this is actually what the French think American cities are like. Red is a laid back ginger private detective that was so awesome at being a private dick (see what they did there with his name and profession?) that the unknown leader of crime in Metropolis has put a price on his head. While hiding out, the bad guys give him a message… his brother Brown Johnson’s finger in his drink. Laughing at the names yet? Then this one will send you over the top. Red later runs into his other brother Black Johnson. The game is filled with silly little things like this to the point that it feels like it was written by a 12-year-old boy.

Plot and environment aren’t the only things nonsensical in Red Johnson’s world. Puzzles are right up there harkening back to the days of old adventure games where everything has a keypad and the combinations are hidden in a clever/frustrating manner. The oddest placement was a shooting gallery game in the torpedo tube of a submarine. While the puzzle types and placement do not make sense in the real world and recent games, they used to be a trope in early PC gaming. Bringing them back should delight old school gamers but frustrate anyone born after 1995… at least until they look up the solutions on the internet.

Voice acting is not “horrible” and that is the best thing you can say about it. Combining a mixture of American and French accents, it lacks a sense of consistency and can be jarring when you go from talking to your friend that seems like he is out of a Shaft movie to the French accented waitress. Any cutscenes in the game are likely to contain quick time events that are strangely quasi black and white as if the developer was attempting an artsy film noir look. The black and white do not translate to the main game though. The graphics are the high point of this title and really bring out the character of the city of Metropolis.

Score: 6/10

Red Johnson Chronicles – One Against All is a game that fans of the genre will love but non point and clickers will be scratching their head at. There is a certain charm in titles made in other countries that appear to represent American culture, and this game is no different. The developers take on an American city is interesting, much more so than the reality. The only thing that holds this title back is the plot, the cleverness of a pre-teen boy, and gameplay from an era gone by.

Brandon Koch

I write stuff. I play stuff. I code stuff.

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