Enter the Story: The Count of Monte Cristo
I will be honest, my familiarity with the novel The Count of Monte Cristo is limited. I remember reading a small portion of it in French class but that was many years ago and it was in French. Still, I did remember the basic plot of the story and was curious to see how Enter the Story: The Count of Monte Cristo handled the epic tale.
For those who aren’t familiar with the novel by Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo is the story of Edmund Dantes, a young man who seems to have it all, youth, health, a wonderful job and a loving fiancé. Then, on the day he is to be married, he is arrested and thrown in prison at the Chateau d’If, where political prisoners are kept and from which no one has ever escaped. Edmund is never told why he has been imprisoned.
Many years pass and eventually Edmund meets another prisoner, Abbé, who is trying to tunnel out of the prison (unfortunately, he tunnels into another cell). Abbé gives Edmund hope and eventually the means to escape and rebuild his life. After escaping, Edmund locates a treasure that brings him immense wealth. With his newfound wealth he returns to Paris as the Count of Monte Cristo to search down those who imprisoned him and, acting as an angel of justice, make them face justice.
Enter the Story: The Count of Monte Cristo is an impressive work. The amount of information that is contained within it is amazing. However, this makes it very easy to get lost, especially if you aren’t familiar with the story. At the beginning of the game you must try to get Edmund to remember what happened before he was imprisoned. You are given access to the entire map and nearly everything can be interacted with. Over and over you are told that you need to focus more or that this item isn’t helpful. This can become frustrating after a time.
Luckily, there is a built in hint system which is wonderful once you find it. By pressing F1 you will be taken back to Edmund and he will make some comments that will guide you to Paris. If you are still stuck you can press F1 again and be given a stronger hint. You can do this until you are told almost exactly what to do. The hints are Edmunds own memories and this works well to keep the player immersed in the story.
There are numerous locations to visit in The Count of Monte Cristo. There is a map system will help you get around France quicker. By pressing M you can bring up the map and also a list of areas you’ve recently visited and you can quickly return to them. You can also set several areas as favorites so that you can return to them quickly.
Enter the Story: The Count of Monte Cristo is not a game in the normal sense. There are no puzzles, no dialogue trees and no inventory. The game is an interactive novel so the gameplay comes from paying attention to the story and moving the plot forward. That said, the game is very linear. You cannot complete things out of order, in fact Edmund will tell you that you can return to certain plot points at later times. This makes the game feel less like a game because nothing you do actually has a bearing on the story. It’s hard to say if this is a bad thing though, considering this is a retelling of a classic novel it would be difficult to change the story itself.
The graphics in the game are mainly line drawings. The art is simplistic but this is done on purpose. The creator of the game states that he wants “stories of raw passion and power. If you get bored and start noticing the art style then I am doing something wrong!” Several of the backdrops are gorgeous though. They look like watercolor paintings and really do spark the imagination.
If you are looking for a game with lots of puzzles The Count of Monte Cristo is probably not for you. However, if you are looking to delve into a classic novel in a new way this may be just the game for you. If the game makes you want to read the novel, don’t fear, the full text is included with the game.