gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Secret Files: Tunguska – Wii

Tunguska box art Wii
Review by Ken Bool

Released for the Wii in May 2008, Secret Files: Tunguska is a ‘point and click’ adventure thriller developed by Keen Games and published by Deep Silver. The story centres on the disappearance of scientist at the time of the Tunguska event of 1908.

The game is also available on the PC and DS and offers a rich story with plenty of puzzle solving and is reminiscent of the style of adventures games that you don’t see so much of any more.

When I volunteered to review Wii games for I thought to myself… “Bah! How hard is it gonna be to complete a game and write stuff about it?” I would just like to declare, Boy was I wrong!

On the whole, you never know what game your going to be given to review, so when a couple of games land in your lap, you greet them with excitement and anticipation and look forward to playing them over the weekend and writing reviews up as quickly as possible so you can share your pleasures with all the fans. So when Secret Files: Tunguska landed on my lap I did a quick read up of the game on the web and then off it went to the console!

So, let’s get some background… In 1908, a massive explosion of unknown origin triggers a flaming inferno and leaves death and destruction in its wake. The Location, Siberia – The Tunguska Region. Almost 100 years later, this mysterious catastrophe is barely remembered by anyone except for one man, Vladimir Kalenkov. Vladimir Kelenkov is kidnapped at the beginning of the game which sets up perfectly for the “I’m all that Daddy has left after Mother died” storyline where you play Vladimir’s Daughter, Nina Kalenkov.

As the story unfolds you discover exactly what Vladimir has been getting himself into and why he was kidnapped and of course you find out all the interesting facts about what really happened in Tunguska on that day in 1908.. Bum Bum Bummm!!!!

game image 1
And so the plot begins…

Early on in the game you meet the usual bunch of plot based characters. There’s Max, who works at the same museum as your father but doesn’t tend to have much communication with Vladimir. He assists you through the game, saves the day when required and spends most of the game thinking about how much he wants to assist Nina in that horizontal based action that were not allowed to talk about in reviews!

At one point in the game you take control of Max and have to save Nina, then once you have saved Nina, you have to take control of both characters and make them work together to escape the evil wrath of the games villain – Gatuso. You also meet Oleg, who when you first meet he’s not exactly the politest man on earth, but he soon becomes a close friend and it comes to light that he has known your father very well for a number of years. You find out how they met and learn a lot of plot that could lead to the safety of your father, but beware…he’s a sly one!!

At points in the game you do find yourself sitting watching cut scenes wishing they were slightly shorter than they are, but always bear with them as they are full of plot and important to watch!

The game is your classic point and click style game with the usual number of puzzles, go here do this, mix this with that, create bombs using nothing but a sheep, 7k of gunpowder and a wellington boot style missions. The only difference between this game and Simon the Sorcerer, Discworld, Grim Fandango and other such charming and fun to play games…this one isn’t fun! No…That’s not true!! It’s just lacking the Silliness factor that these other games had.

The one thing that this game has is Plot and a lot of it! There’s a very well written story line to it that unfolds itself as you go through the game obviously you know the basics right from the word go, but the depth they go into is fantastic and the number of minor story lines that are running alongside the main plot is more than enough to keep you involved as the game goes on.

Game Image 2
You can fit a lot of stuff in your pockets.

Right the way through the game you have to complete little puzzles, something which I myself love about these kind of games, giving it a quirky feel and a sense of achievement quite early on in the game. The storyline starts quite slowly but as the game goes through and the plot thickens the storylines become fast flowing and the game becomes more enjoyable to play.

If you read this and think “I don’t like puzzle games, they make me use my one and only brain cell that separates me from and amoeba” then fear not, the first real mission you have to do is very easy and there’s lots of helpful pointers in the game, one is in the form of the Snoop Key, which means when you’re in a room and you want to make sure you have found everything you can you press the 1 button on your Wii Controller and it shows you everything you can look at or use in the room. I tried not to use this as it can take the fun out of the game, but at times they have made the game so it would be pretty much impossible if it wasn’t there.

Secret Files: Tunguska uses the Wiimote in the typical way that most Wii games do, there are no clever actions or missions that involve shaking the Wii remote to do this, or lean it to the left/right to do that, its just simple point at the screen and use the nun chuck to move around if you want to have a good look everywhere. Of course you have your inventory on the Remote’s D-Pad, which can be a bit fiddly when you are trying to scroll through your inventory to merge items to make that super powerful killer item that you need, but you get used to it. You can look at items by pressing the B trigger and to use an item (if it will let you) you press A. Nice and easy!

game image 3
A motorcycle

There is also a 2 player element to the game, but in my opinion it should be called the ‘I’m too rubbish to do this on my own, I’ll get someone to do all the hard bits with me so I don’t have to think too much’ mode. It’s not like there’s a second person on screen, Its just a second hand that can point things out and do all the hard work for you.

I’ve no doubt it comes in very handy when your younger brother has nothing else to do and feels like heading over to say Hi but you desperately have to finish playing the game to make sure you have all aspects of the review covered. Luckily with this game you can save at any point that isn’t a cutscene, so when it does get too much and you decide to take a break to relieve stress on Guitar Hero 3 (Disturbed – Stricken 100% Boo yeah!) its very easy to do!

So you may ask, “Is it a good game?” If your specific flavour of game is point and click puzzle adventure with lots of fun plot, then YES! If not I would recommend you borrow it off of your friend and give it a try, but you may not want to buy it as this particular brand of gaming donut is the kind of game that can cause irresistible bouts of tourette’s syndrome and sometimes can leave you with anger management problems. Personally, I enjoyed it and look forward to another play through in the not too distant future.

Secret Files: Tunguska gets a reasonable 3 stars out of 5.

3 stars

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008, Computer Gaming, Wii.