The Capri Connection

Posted by Mervyn Graham.
First posted on 15 October 2014. Last updated on 15 October 2014.
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The Capri Connection
A rip in space-time connects the parallel universes.
The Capri Connection
The bikies do not look at all friendly!
The Capri Connection
The crystals are Mariolina's prized possessions.
The Capri Connection
The Teletransportation Cabin and the Automatic Frigo-T Ticket Distributor are conveniently camouflaged.
The Capri Connection
The Amalfi Coast provides a spectacular vista.

The Capri Connection is the third game in the Capri saga trilogy series from Italian indie developer S-G Software, founded by the father and son team of Gey (Guiseppe) and Silvio Savarese. The game is the sequel to A Quiet Weekend in Capri and AnaCapri: The Dream released in 2002 and 2007 respectively. Whereas earlier games in the series have been a collaborative project between father and son, this third game in the series is the sole effort of Gey Savarese who singlehandedly oversees the game's production. Once again, the game makes use of the picturesque and exotic locales of Capri and the nearby islands in the Gulf of Naples as backdrops for its story. According to the developer, the game features over 2,700 photographs of real life locations in Capri, Naples, Positano, Pogerola, Procida, and the Amalfi Coast.

The game plays as a classic first-person point-and-click adventure. You take on the dual protagonist roles of Nico Fredi (who previously appears as Nico N in AnaCapri: The Dream) and Nick Freuds. The game draws from the same sci-fi premise as in previous games of the series that parallel universes exist. This time, a professor named Costanzo Gravitiello has accidentally created a Space-Time Rip after a physics experiment which he is conducting fails. The abnormality causes the minds of some people in the prime universe (Universe 1) to be cast into the bodies of their counterparts (more or less) in a mirrored universe (Universe 3). Likewise, physical objects and architectural landmarks are transported across time and space into their counterparts between the universes. As Nico Fredi (but in the body of Nick Freuds), you are tasked by another professor named Gennaro Gravitiello (Costanzo Gravitiello's counterpart) to repair and close the rip in space-time, in order to restore both of the universes back to normal before they are torn apart and destroyed.

The game installs easily without any glitches. Upon starting the game, you are given the option of playing the game in either center screen or full screen mode. The game supports a native resolution of 1024x768 pixels. Playing the game in center screen mode causes the game screen to be pillarboxed or letterboxed as needed, whereas playing the game in full screen mode rescales the game screen to fit the entire screen. You are also given the option of playing the game in either Adventure game mode or Exploration mode. Playing the game in the Exploration mode allows you to wander randomly around most of the game's locations unhindered. In this mode, there are no puzzles to solve or objects to gather. By contrast, playing the game in the Adventure game mode allows you to visit more locations, interact with other characters, gather objects for your inventory, and solve all of the puzzles in the game. The game is fully translated to English and French languages from Italian. For English speaking gamers, the game can be played with either English audio without subtitles or Italian audio with English subtitles (but not English audio with English subtitles). Selecting the Adventure game mode brings up a menu for Screen, Instructions, Map, and Credits as well as toggles for Hot spots and Scene number. You are well advised to carefully read through the information listed in Screen and Instructions, as it explains in detail the game's interface and controls.

The game's story opens with you as Nico Fredi. While watching television back in your house, you suddenly notice an anomalous ripple in space-time spreading across the room. You soon receive a call from Gennaro Gravitiello, who explains to you the cosmological phenomenon which you have just witnessed and informs you that you have been accidentally transported to an alternate universe where you are now inhabiting the body of your counterpart Nick Freuds. More importantly, he instructs you to seek out his own counterpart, Costanzo Gravitiello, who is responsible for this catastrophic accident and is now believed to be hiding somewhere in Naples. Your unenviable task is to locate and obtain 7 colored crystals and a special projector in order to close the rip in space-time. Only then will the minds of all the affected people be restored and all of the transported architectural landmarks be returned back to their original universe.

Navigation is done entirely using the mouse. Onscreen arrows indicate which directions are available to explore. With Hot spots option enabled, boxed outlines appear to show the available paths. With Hot spots option disabled, the available paths are shown only when you hover over them. The same is for gathering objects. There are some 59 objects that you must locate and use in your inventory. Teletransportation to different locations is done via a Teletransportation Cabin, also named Frigo-T. To use the Frigo-T, you will need tickets issued by an Automatic Frigo-T Ticket Distributor. The game is linear to the extent that the Automatic Frigo-T Ticket Distributor does not operate unless you have completed all of the required tasks in the current location. Once they are completed, the Frigo-T will work to automatically transport you to the next location.

The game supports a maximum of 9 save slots. Saving your game is accomplished by selecting the scissors icon from the system menu accessed by right-clicking the mouse. Later, you may select your last save to resume your progress. There is no autosave feature.

Sceneries in the game are produced using still photographs. Characters are portrayed by live actors and are animated by a series of still photographs in different poses and facial expressions. Some scenes are partly animated, such as ebbing of the ocean and a cascading waterfall.

The sci-fi and fantasy storylines in this game can be a challenge to follow, even for existing fans of the series. At a minimum, the many characters (some 31 of them) you will meet give an interesting insight into the history and culture of Italy, its inhabitants, and its landmarks. As you gather more information from these characters, the ensuing subplots begin to leech enough clues to keep you intrigued in the mystery. Your main adversary is Mata Haprik. Wanting to keep the universes swapped for her own nefarious agenda, she tracks your every move and even hires an assassin to try to kill you off.

The 11 major puzzles in the game range from very simple to very hard. Unique logic puzzles provide a breath of fresh air to diehard puzzle fans, such as a puzzle that tasks you to place 36 colors in a hexagonal lattice so that there is no color repetition in the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal directions. There is also a difficult mathematical puzzle. Other puzzles include matching photos to their corresponding descriptions, balancing scales, and taking a fish quiz. You can skip a puzzle if needed by simply clicking on the white flag icon when it appears.

Although the game deserves credits for its full localization to English, the quality of the English voice acting is uneven at best. This may be explained by the fact that the developer has supposedly recruited many volunteers and collaborators, who themselves are not professional actors, to fill in those roles. Yet, their performances give a level of authenticity and genuine depiction of the lives they live. It is a forgivable shortcoming for a game developed on an extremely limited budget that borders on being a hobbyist production. By comparison, the background music is excellent and varied, ranging from funky to pop and featuring a wide assortment of musical instruments. Sound effects are well done, such as birds chirping, dogs barking, seagulls squawking, and revving motorbikes.

Fans of previous games of the Capri saga series will enjoy The Capri Connection. The game is surprisingly long and can take up to 15-20 hours to complete. With no graphic violence or mature subject matters, the game is family friendly and can be enjoyed by players of all ages. Gamers who are interested in the history of Naples will also find the game quite educational. In all, there is no better way to take a virtual tour in Capri and its neighboring islands, exploring the local environs while soaking up the breathtaking sceneries and exploring the remarkable culture that lies within this region.

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