The Moment of Silence

Developer:  House of Tales
Publisher:  Digital Jesters

Preview by Gordon Aplin (October, 2004)
I quite enjoyed The Mystery of the Druids, the previous game by German developer House of Tales, so I was looking forward to seeing their next game The Moment of Silence. And from what I have seen so far it holds great promise.

The Moment of Silence is set in 2044 and it is a darker and more thought-provoking story with a theme exploring issues that, perhaps, have a familiar ring today. Increasing terrorist activity has created a feeling of fear and anxiety amongst the public, a fear that is being nurtured and exploited by those in power, "a global government ruled by massive corporations". These ruling elites are seeking to clamp down on basic freedoms under the guise of combating terrorism.

Painting the picture
The disturbing introduction is very effective as the main character, Peter Wright, peers through the peep hole in his door and observes a heavily armed police SWAT team with laser-sighted weapons break down the door to his neighbour's apartment. As they drag the man away his wife and young son are roughly pushed back and the police depart leaving only the child's teddy bear on the floor outside the broken door.

There is no doubt that a lot of thought has gone into both character and story development in The Moment of Silence as we learn that Peter has been through a hard time and has just moved into the apartment, his previous life shattered. As we move into the game we then learn that Peter has recently lost his wife and son. Still later, in conversations with his work colleagues, more is revealed and the story widens providing more intrigue. Peter's family was killed when a plane was blown up, a plane that he was meant to be on. Food for thought! Added to this he is due to return to work shortly to take part in his agency's assignment to run the Government's "Freedom of Speech" campaign. With conflicting emotions Peter sets out to discover what has happened to his neighbour.

Contrasting pictures
Set initially in New York, the bland middle class ordinariness of his Brooklyn apartment and the secure, high-tech offices of his employer are soon contrasted with the seedy, run down district of the Lower East Side as Peter pursues his investigation. The graphics are impressive and the attention to detail paints a fully-realised game world in which you point and click to walk Peter around. Double clicking causes Peter to run.

So far the obstacles to progress have involved using inventory items and talking to other characters to learn more of the story and, perhaps, open up new locations. Right click on objects and Peter will examine them so you get a 'feel' for the world around you. There is quite a lot of dialogue which suits the complexity of the story although I can't comment on the voice acting because this preview is based on the German release meaning that I had to read English subtitles to follow what was happening. I played for three or four hours to get a feel for the game for this preview and at this early stage The Moment of Silence looks like being an intriguing and enjoyable adventure.

Digital Jesters have announced that the retail version will be DVD only but you will be able to order a 4 CD version from them on-line. It is scheduled for release on 5 November 2004 and I'm certainly looking forward to continuing the story.

Copyright © Gordon Aplin 2004. All rights reserved.

System Requirements:
(Tentative): Win 98/2000/ME/XP, Pentium 1 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB graphic card, DirectX 8.1, 16-bit sound card, 900 MB hard disk space.