Review - Alfred Hitchcock presents ...

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Trev
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Review - Alfred Hitchcock presents ...

Post by Trev » Sun May 10, 2009 5:19 am

** This game was released exclusively in Japan **


Other than the ludicrous discrepancy between the amount of content on this disc (only 2 very simple mini games) compared to the high cost (triple digits!) this rarity barely gets a mention by the only ones who would, the 3DO hardcore. Only the head scratching pairing of Toyota with Hitchcock :? gets it further note, making it the most bizarre game tie in ever. I thought ‘The Lost Island of Alanna’ was odd (pc Myst clone meets Coca Cola) but this 3DO release tops it. Anyway, here are my thoughts on this far too brief game.

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An admittedly catchy soundtrack will greet you at the opening menu ... although I don’t seem to recall having heard this style of music in connection with ol’ Alfred. :wink: Here you select either game you wish to try. Think carefully … once your choice is made you can’t exit without resetting the multiplayer.

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Game 1 lets you select the length of play (time count) between 2, 1 ½ , or 1 minute. After you decide you’ll see the Toyota logo, followed by classic black & white footage of the master of the macabre. The dubbing is laughable as expected, and the video will continually loop unless you hit a button to exit.

Finally you’ll reach the game … a small matching affair in the mold of ‘Memory’. Flanked by a large timer on the left and a creepy looking Hitchcock on the right, your goal is to uncover hidden portions of video by finding identical pairs. This game is as dull as ever. The footage you reveal never changes, the items are always the same, and the selection of them is quite small.

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One small note, but worth mentioning as an example of stupidity … when a match is made two things occur, a zoom on the item and a comment by the announcer (presumably Alfred) This takes several seconds, yet the timer keeps running. Now this is no issue on the generous 2 min setting or even the 1 ½ one. But I challenge anyone to accomplish this is one minute. :roll:

Game 2 is the ‘Roulette game’, and the only other playing option. As dull as the 1st? Even duller. The nice jazzy soundtrack is the only thing I enjoyed, and once again it seemed out of place. Featuring the same whopping 6 items from the previous game (so much for a little variety) you attempt to land on the same spot twice. That is all. C’mon, at least the memory variant offered footage and a score. Appropriate for a homebrew disc maybe, but laughable for a commercial release. :lol:

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My side note for this game serves the same function as the former. Stupidly, the roulette wheel routinely stops just before or after your item (the far too long a pause is a very obnoxious giveaway) 100% random. 100% not fun. :evil:

Having established that this rarity is not only a gigantic rip-off but also an embarrassingly awful game, I must confess that I am of course glad to own a copy … quite glad actually. :oops: But let’s be honest, who other than the most absolute 3DO faithful would? For my sick brethren, we beam with pride 8) that Alfred Hitchcock is among the list of celebrity’s to have graced the 3DO. To the saner folk … help!

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-Trev
Last edited by Trev on Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by 3DO Experience » Sun May 10, 2009 6:32 am

Triple digits?! I never knew it was worth that much! And what is this Lost Island of Alanna you speak of?
"Wait. You don't have a bag of charcoal in your gaming room???"

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Post by Trev » Sun May 10, 2009 7:49 pm

Triple digits?! I never knew it was worth that much!
Last time I remember, although that was probably like 2 yrs ago or more. This one never seems to show up.
And what is this Lost Island of Alanna you speak of?
Here is where I first read of it ...

http://www.justadventure.com/reviews/Alanna/Alanna.shtm

A pretty game, but far too short. Nice freebie back in the day though.

Dirt cheap to pick up if you are curious. Cost me less than $4 off Ebay & that included s&h costs.

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Re: Review - Alfred Hitchcock presents ...

Post by goldenband » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:30 pm

Great review! I just spent an hour and a half with this abomination, and your comments are spot-on.
Trev wrote:An admittedly catchy soundtrack will greet you at the opening menu ... although I don’t seem to recall having heard this style of music in connection with ol’ Alfred. :wink: Here you select either game you wish to try. Think carefully … once your choice is made you can’t exit without resetting the multiplayer.
Actually, you can get back to the main menu at (almost) any time by holding L+R and pressing X. Very intuitive, I know!
Trev wrote:One small note, but worth mentioning as an example of stupidity … when a match is made two things occur, a zoom on the item and a comment by the announcer (presumably Alfred) This takes several seconds, yet the timer keeps running. Now this is no issue on the generous 2 min setting or even the 1 ½ one. But I challenge anyone to accomplish this is one minute. :roll:
Yes, it's beyond unfair that the timer keeps running -- you lose almost ten seconds every time you make a match! The timer doesn't even stop for CD access time. And with only 1 minute to make the matches, it's ridiculous.

I've been able to get 5/6 matches several times, but always ran out of time during the video clip for the next-to-last match. I'd love to see someone make a tool-assisted attempt on the 1 minute game, as it wouldn't surprise me if it's literally impossible to make 6/6 -- and if it is possible, you'll need the luck of the devil and the reflexes of a machine, especially given the slippery controls which erratically decide whether to buffer or not buffer your inputs.

Given the hidden command to go back to the main menu, I almost wonder whether there's a hidden option to disable the video clips. Does the Japanese manual have anything to say?

(And, for that matter, why does this game even exist, exactly? How was it marketed?)
Trev wrote:Stupidly, the roulette wheel routinely stops just before or after your item (the far too long a pause is a very obnoxious giveaway) 100% random. 100% not fun. :evil:
I actually think it's 100% non-random, and that the game is fixed in some way, because the behavior is so predictable. I had a successful spin early on, but didn't get a single one after that, no matter how I tried to time it. I noticed you can choose a number from 1-20 before the round starts; any idea what that's about?

Honestly, I almost wonder whether the whole thing is a Machiavellian anti-gambling PSA, concealed under a veneer of minigames! Make both minigames frustrating and futile, and add some Japanese commentary about the evils of gambling, and the whole thing would make sense...

I'd love to see a disassembly of the game engine, because I don't think either of the minigames is truly random. Certainly I encountered at least one pattern in the Concentration game -- several times in a row I had basically the same item placements, and I almost wonder whether you can somehow "inherit" those (maybe by quitting back to the main menu?).

It'd be really interesting to know whether the item placement is random, determined by the timing of user input, or -- this would be evil -- partly determined on-the-fly by user choices, so that the game can guarantee you'll never have time to win. I even tried comparing item placement across boots, but it didn't match...

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Post by Austin » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:16 am

Wow, this sounds pretty bad. And you say it's uber rare, eh? Interesting..

How is the Alfred Hitchcock title we received in the States?

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Post by goldenband » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:18 am

Austin wrote:How is the Alfred Hitchcock title we received in the States?
Do you mean the PC game(s), or is there another console game? I don't think there's a US-released Alfred Hitchcock title for 3DO (right?).

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Re: Review - Alfred Hitchcock presents ...

Post by Trev » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:55 am

goldenband wrote:Great review! I just spent an hour and a half with this abomination, and your comments are spot-on.
Thanks. :)
goldenband wrote:
Trev wrote:An admittedly catchy soundtrack will greet you at the opening menu ... although I don’t seem to recall having heard this style of music in connection with ol’ Alfred. :wink: Here you select either game you wish to try. Think carefully … once your choice is made you can’t exit without resetting the multiplayer.
Actually, you can get back to the main menu at (almost) any time by holding L+R and pressing X. Very intuitive, I know!
Ha ha, that's good to know. :P
goldenband wrote:
Trev wrote:One small note, but worth mentioning as an example of stupidity … when a match is made two things occur, a zoom on the item and a comment by the announcer (presumably Alfred) This takes several seconds, yet the timer keeps running. Now this is no issue on the generous 2 min setting or even the 1 ½ one. But I challenge anyone to accomplish this is one minute. :roll:
Yes, it's beyond unfair that the timer keeps running -- you lose almost ten seconds every time you make a match! The timer doesn't even stop for CD access time. And with only 1 minute to make the matches, it's ridiculous.

I've been able to get 5/6 matches several times, but always ran out of time during the video clip for the next-to-last match. I'd love to see someone make a tool-assisted attempt on the 1 minute game, as it wouldn't surprise me if it's literally impossible to make 6/6 -- and if it is possible, you'll need the luck of the devil and the reflexes of a machine, especially given the slippery controls which erratically decide whether to buffer or not buffer your inputs.

Given the hidden command to go back to the main menu, I almost wonder whether there's a hidden option to disable the video clips. Does the Japanese manual have anything to say?

(And, for that matter, why does this game even exist, exactly? How was it marketed?)
I've never seen a manual, so I don't if the vids can be disabled. But yeah, with them running it's essentially impossible! :roll:
goldenband wrote:
Trev wrote:]Stupidly, the roulette wheel routinely stops just before or after your item (the far too long a pause is a very obnoxious giveaway) 100% random. 100% not fun. :evil:
I actually think it's 100% non-random, and that the game is fixed in some way, because the behavior is so predictable. I had a successful spin early on, but didn't get a single one after that, no matter how I tried to time it. I noticed you can choose a number from 1-20 before the round starts; any idea what that's about?
Not sure. :?
goldenband wrote:Honestly, I almost wonder whether the whole thing is a Machiavellian anti-gambling PSA, concealed under a veneer of minigames! Make both minigames frustrating and futile, and add some Japanese commentary about the evils of gambling, and the whole thing would make sense...

I'd love to see a disassembly of the game engine, because I don't think either of the minigames is truly random. Certainly I encountered at least one pattern in the Concentration game -- several times in a row I had basically the same item placements, and I almost wonder whether you can somehow "inherit" those (maybe by quitting back to the main menu?).

It'd be really interesting to know whether the item placement is random, determined by the timing of user input, or -- this would be evil -- partly determined on-the-fly by user choices, so that the game can guarantee you'll never have time to win. I even tried comparing item placement across boots, but it didn't match...
Sounds like you spent more time with it than me. :wink: I don't know what this "game" hoped to accomplish, but fun certainly wasn't part of the agenda.

Thanks for the great comments. :)
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Post by Austin » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:44 pm

goldenband wrote:
Austin wrote:How is the Alfred Hitchcock title we received in the States?
Do you mean the PC game(s), or is there another console game? I don't think there's a US-released Alfred Hitchcock title for 3DO (right?).
Yikes, disregard.. I had a serious brain hiccup. Apparently a US Hitchcock package doesn't even exist. What the hell.. I could have sworn there was a different game with a longbox release.. D'oh!

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Re: Review - Alfred Hitchcock presents ...

Post by Martin III » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:57 pm

Trev wrote:
goldenband wrote:I actually think it's 100% non-random, and that the game is fixed in some way, because the behavior is so predictable. I had a successful spin early on, but didn't get a single one after that, no matter how I tried to time it. I noticed you can choose a number from 1-20 before the round starts; any idea what that's about?
Not sure. :?
Hmmm...

Number of players? (Since the multiplayer would be non-simultaneous, you wouldn't necessarily have noticed the difference.)

Bet value per spin?

Sound volume?

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Re: Review - Alfred Hitchcock presents ...

Post by goldenband » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:40 pm

Martin III wrote:Hmmm...

Number of players? (Since the multiplayer would be non-simultaneous, you wouldn't necessarily have noticed the difference.)
I don't think so, it kicks you back to the main menu after a winning or losing spin. Plus it defaults to 20, which would be insane (though this game is insane).
Martin III wrote:Bet value per spin?
I didn't spot a UI for any kind of money tracking...
Martin III wrote:Sound volume?
Now that could be. Or it could just be a seed value for the RNG, who knows.

BTW I got my fiancée to play this game for 5 minutes so she could share my pain (and share it she did, albeit with much laughter). We also tried various inputs into controller 2 to see if it was possible to skip the Concentration cutscenes that run down the clock, but no dice.

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Re: Review - Alfred Hitchcock presents ...

Post by Trev » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:09 pm

goldenband wrote:BTW I got my fiancée to play this game for 5 minutes so she could share my pain (and share it she did, albeit with much laughter)
A risky move ... she must really love you to agree to play this game, lol. :P
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Re: Review - Alfred Hitchcock presents ...

Post by goldenband » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:40 am

Trev wrote:A risky move ... she must really love you to agree to play this game, lol. :P
You ain't kiddin'!

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