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Sun 28th Aug 2005
By David Whyld - See all my reviews
I found The Last Hour quite a strange and disturbing little game. I honestly couldn’t say I liked it but then the subject matter isn’t the sort of thing a lot of people are going to like.
Unusually, the character you play isn’t a hero out to save the world from darkest evil, or someone on a quest for a lost sword/treasure/whatever, or even a hero in the normal sense of the word. No, he’s a member of the Ku Klux Klan and he starts the game in a prison cell where he’s accused of murdering a black man during a "hunting trip".
While setting a game from the viewpoint of an evil character might not be original, if well done it can still carry great emotional impact. Unfortunately, with The Last Hour the evil character you play seems to have no remorse whatsoever for what he’s done and often refers to the man he’s killed as an "animal", something which I imagine wouldn’t go down particularly well with any coloured people who might play the game. Worse still is the fact that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, he insists throughout the game that he was hunting an "animal" and doesn’t even seem to realise that killing black people is against the law. Now I don’t know any member of the KKK but I’d imagine that even the more extreme ones realise that what they’re doing is illegal.
On the plus side, it’s atmospheric and there’s a genuine sense of claustrophobia at times as the story unfolds while you’re trapped in your little cell with no apparent way of getting out. On the down side, the subject matter isn’t an easy one to like and there’s precious little gameplay to be found throughout. I played from start to finish several times and got the same end result each time. I was unable to escape from the cell or affect the storyline one bit no matter what I did. And my character being executed at the end, while fitting, nevertheless made the game seem pretty pointless. I’d have much preferred an option whereby the main character could either escape from his cell or see the error of his ways and be redeemed. Or maybe even have the option of convincing the guards that it has all been a mistake and he really was innocent.
Spelling and grammar mistakes left The Last Hour with some rough edges (the author’s native language isn’t English although his English is undoubtedly better than my Italian) but, all in all, there’s quite an interesting game here. If you can get over the often strong language (mostly edited out with asterisks) and questionable subject matter, you might even enjoy it.
Logic: 10 out of 10
There was little to find fault with logic-wise.
Problems: 6 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
One of the main commands that tells the player what is going on isn’t an obvious one that you’d normally expect to find in a text adventure. As such, play through the game without trying it and you might well be left wondering just what it’s all about.
Story: 4 out of 10
Precious little in the way of storyline here: a man in a cell awaiting execution. A little more depth, and some more back story (perhaps told in flashbacks) would have set the scene better.
Characters: 4 out of 10
Several characters show up but they don’t have a lot to do and are hard to interact with beyond the basic commands of the game.
Writing: 5 out of 10
Occasional grammatical and spelling lapses aside, not bad at all.
Game: 5 out of 10
Not bad, not good, this was a difficult game to judge. I finished it for the first time and sat there wondering if I had missed something. An effort to turn it into a more regular game - with definable goals for the player to aim for - would have benefited The Last Hour a lot. In its current state, it’s worth the ten minutes or so that it takes to play, but it isn’t a game that is likely to draw people back to it time and again.
Overall: 34 out of 60