Gemini Rue

Posted by Jenny Rouse.
First posted on 15 February 2011. Last updated on 22 February 2011.
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Gemini Rue
Azriel, a former assassin, now works as a detective.
Gemini Rue
Delta-Six is imprisoned in a mysterious facility.
Gemini Rue
A diverse cast of supporting characters help to flesh out the game's story.
Gemini Rue
Gemini Rue is world filled with danger.
Gemini Rue
Azriel confronts the mob.

About the game

Published by Wadjet Eye Games, Gemini Rue will be available as digital download and a Limited Edition CD release.

The classic period of film noir stretched from early 1940s to late 1950s. These films—usually psychological thrillers and crime dramas—generally involved conflicted antiheros (private eye being a common character type) and their struggles against an nihilistic world. In the 1970s, the genre moved into the neo-noir period, which often focused on identity crises and the ramifications of a relationship with problematic modern technology. Finally, in the 1980s, the rise of the cyberpunk period borrowed heavily elements of neo-noir films, while adding themes of advanced technology, postindustrial dystopias, and mega corporations.

These genres make for very compelling literature and film, but not much has been done with them in video games. Such omission extends to the adventure genre. Now, indie developer and newcomer Joshua Nuernberger aims to change this by drawing in gamers—veterans of old school adventure games and novices alike—with his neo-noir sci-fi thriller, Gemini Rue. Originally titled Boryokudan Rue, the game won the Independent Game Festival Student Showcase competition in 2010. Recently, I have been granted an opportunity to play and preview a mostly complete developer's build of the game, and I will say this: Gemini Rue is not your average adventure game.

Gemini Rue takes place on the planet Barracus and tells the story of an ex-assassin-cum-detective named Azriel Odin, who is on a quest to find his missing brother. Intertwined with the story of Odin is that of Delta-Six, a test subject and prisoner of an undisclosed facility, who has had his memory erased (and more than once). Meanwhile, a criminal syndicate known as the Boryokudan rule with an iron fist, and they are well aware that their former assassin is trying to take them down.

The gameplay in Gemini Rue is fairly standard point-and-click fare, though it is interrupted by some awkward moments where gunfighting—controlled by the keyboard—is necessary. Fans of Full Throttle will quickly recognize the action and inventory menu in Gemini Rue: though not revolutionary in the base design, you will have no trouble slipping into the game quickly and playing it immediately. Most importantly, while the trappings of nostalgic adventure games of the early 1990s are present—pixelated graphics, along with somewhat choppy walking animations—Nuernberger has wisely integrated a sort of Personal Digital Assistant device into his game which stores mundane information such as addresses and phone numbers. As such, you are no longer required to keep a notepad next to your computer, for fear of forgetting some bits of vital information when playing the game.

The sounds in Gemini Rue blend seamlessly into the game. In a sort of (welcome) shock, the game has voice acting to complement its pixelated characters. The voices I have heard so far sound fitting to their respective characters. The music is atmospheric and mostly piano based, and when combined with the ambient sounds such as rainfall, they blend nicely together and draw you deeper into the game's dark world.

Gemini Rue is a game that aims to please seasoned adventure game fans but also tries to draw in a fresh audience. The game features an engrossing story. Though the action scenes seem somewhat out of place, the game stays smoothly on course mostly from start to finish. If you are looking for a game that combines Blade Runner and Beneath a Steel Sky, then Gemini Rue will probably appeal to you.

Gemini Rue is scheduled for release in late February 2011.

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