First posted on 20 October 2012. Last updated on 20 October 2012.
The premise of Conspiracies (also known as Nick Delios: Conspiracies) is best described as a story about a dystopian future when the planet has been unified under a single totalitarian regime in which cities have lost their autonomy and have become obedient states that must yield to the government's every needs. Even though the production value of Conspiracies may have not aged well since its original release, gamers who are seeking a compelling adventure with a grand conspiracy full of twists and turns will find this game most interesting to play.
The story of Conspiracies is set in a post apocalyptic late 21st century, when overpopulation of the planet is leading the human race to a slow demise. Poverty is common, and lawlessness abound. Crime lords and greedy corporations have take control of whatever is not controlled by the government. Nick Delios is a private detective down on his luck living in Greece, who lost his faith in humanity after his teacher and mentor Dimitris Argyriou stole his breakthrough scientific research and destroyed his academic career at the University of Thessaloniki. This betrayal has sent Nick to live a bohemian lifestyle of drinking and gambling almost every night. In fact, Nick's life is about to spiral further downwards until Thanos Pekas, a police inspector and an old friend of Nick who is investigating the death of a small time crook, asks Nick out of pity to join his team unofficially to help him with the investigation. Nick agrees and soon finds himself in a spider web of lies and conspiracies that will forever change his life and even the world.
Without pretense I can say that Conspiracies is among my favorite detective stories because of its intricate plot that pays a good homage to the genre. The live action inserts in the game's cut scenes also adds to rather than distracts from the storytelling. There are a few technical missteps with the Full Motion Video (FMV) used in this game, such as the bad English dubbing over the original Greek voices. However, most of these technical glitches are minor and rarely detract from the enjoyment of the story. Alas, the game's graphics age less well, particularly when the rendered backgrounds are juxtaposed against the live action characters. Further, the objects in the environment are often blurry and too difficult to find, resulting in endless pixel hunting that is unnecessarily frustrating and time consuming. Some of the models are rendered quite poorly and do not appear at all realistic.
Navigation in this game is fairly simple. The game uses the standard point-and-click interface typical of FMV games. The keyboard is used to control movement, and the mouse is used to control panning. Left-clicking the mouse interacts with objects and characters in the environment, whereas right-clicking the mouse brings up descriptions of them or returns related commentaries from Nick. There is even a map which you can use to travel between locations you have previously visited.
The puzzles in this game are surprisingly difficult. It is easy to get stuck in the game for hours because you cannot locate a needed object. Some objects are well hidden behind other objects in the environment. Moreover, many of the objects you find may turn out to be red herrings. As you cannot carry all the objects in the inventory, you must periodically return to Nick's office and offload some of them to make space for others. This can create a lot of backtracking if you pick the wrong objects to carry around.
Despite the frustrating puzzles and dated graphics, I love the live action filming and the new noir setting in Conspiracies. It may be true that the campy acting can be annoying and that the convoluted storyline can be difficult to follow at times. In the end, however, Conspiracies is a decent FMV adventure game that shows a lot of promise for a series.