Released in 2006, Paradise is the first adventure game from White Birds Productions. It's a fairly standard point-and-click adventure game with similar mechanics and storytelling elements to Sokal's previous games: Amerzone and Syberia.
It's the story of a girl named Ann who, after a nasty plane crash in the fictional African nation of Maurania, awakens with a case of amnesia and a lot of questions.
It's obvious that White Birds wanted to play with the Syberia formula a bit - the dialogue system tries to take into account how comfortable the character is talking to Ann Smith, and consequently, whether or not they feel like talking about a particular subject.
Yes, that leering, winking panther (a.k.a. the Black Leopard) will be Ann's constant companion. We'll be taking control of the panther a few times throughout the game to solve a puzzle. I'll say no more on the topic because it is incredibly, INCREDIBLY stupid.
White Birds Productions itself was formed by Benoit Sokal in 2003 after Sokal left Microids to pursue his own projects. The company released two games based on Sokal's stories: Paradise in 2006, and Sinking Island in 2008. They were also involved in a 2010 re-release of Paradise on the Nintendo DS entitled The Last King of Africa. They also released a couple of games for mobile devices, but that's outside the scope of this thread.
Paradise did pretty poorly overall, receiving a paltry 57/100 from critics according to Metacritic. And, it shows - the gameplay is horribly dated, the character models are wooden and unappealing, and the story utterly fails to live up to its potential. For instance, Sokal released four graphic novels (available only in French) in the four years leading up to the game's release. The comics themselves are thoroughly entertaining reads, but tragically they serve only to heighten the sense of disappointment at the game's shoehorned-in puzzles and weak dialogue.
I'd never played Paradise before doing this LP, and it was interesting to see how many themes and mechanics Sokal borrowed from his earlier games, from the book detailing all the weird and wonderful Mauranian creatures and offering hints as to how to bypass them, to Ann herself - she strikes me as Kate Walker Mk. 2.
I also feel this bears mentioning: Paradise is buggy as hell. We're one and a half videos in and already we've encountered a couple of game-breaking bugs related to event flags. Please bear with us as we bend this piece of garbage to our will.
I needed a bit of help getting through this game, so Panzer Skank will be joining me as co-commentator, thread artist, and research monkey.
Unfortunately the game is absurdly linear so there's no real opportunity for audience participation. However, there are a lot of themes worthy of discussion. They may get into some fairly sensitive topics so, as always, we ask only that you be respectful and keep in mind it's only a (very stupid) video game.
This is pretty much going to follow the same format as my LP of Syberia, in video with live commentary.
We'll be referring back to Amerzone: The Explorer's Legacy as well, so why not give that one a read? It's short.
|1. In which Ann Smith lives the high life||Youtube|
|2. In which Ann Smith soulbonds||Youtube|
|3. In which Ann Smith hits the town||Youtube|
|4. In which Ann Smith is a terrible detective||Youtube|
|5. In which Ann Smith can't control her pet||Youtube|
|6. In which Ann Smith goes "fishing"||Youtube|
|7. In which Ann Smith sets a cunning trap||Youtube|
|8. In which Ann Smith nearly drowns... nearly||Youtube|
|9. In which Ann Smith meets Royalty||Youtube|
|10. In which Ann Smith joins la revolucion||Youtube|
|11. In which Ann Smith realizes a lifelong dream||Youtube|
Linked below are posts containing the various documents that Ann Smith comes across during her travels.
For your edification, Panzer played through the terrible and somehow even more broken ios port of Paradise.
NOTE THAT THE COMICS, WHILE AWESOME, ARE DEFINITELY NSFW
|1 - The Season of Storms||Direct Download PDF||Imgur|
|2 - The Desert of the Molgraves||Direct Download PDF||Imgur|
|3 - Zamarat||Direct Download PDF||Imgur|
|4 - The Black Vault||Direct Download PDF||Imgur|
Panzer has kindly hosted the issues in PDF format on her site. The comic is also viewable in an imgur gallery if PDFs are not your bag.
With special permission from Slowbeef, we present Paradise: The Comic! This is the original French comic book that the game was based on. There are four issues, and we'll be posting each one as we play through the content of said issue.
As far as we can tell, these comics were never released in English, or released very widely at all. It is a complete fluke I was able to find scans of these. Fortunately for everyone in the thread, Skippy speaks French, so together we spent several painstaking hours translating and editing this into English for your reading pleasure.
This comic is really very good, it's super beautiful and has a completely different tone from the game. Ann is a fucking bad ass, the story is actually kind of interesting, and the world has logic and sense. Please give it a read if you're following this LP, we've both worked real hard on it and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Edit: If anyone would like the comic in .cbr format for a sequential image viewer, I can make that happen!
Edit edit: Also a special thanks to Ragny for double checking and cleaning up the translations!
Panzer put together some highlights from some interviews with Benoit Sokal along with some really interesting concept art. This is a great insight into just how far Sokal's good intentions fell during the development of this game.
Hawk16zz wanted to know which female adventure game protagonist would win in a fight, to the point where he drew a title card for the fight. Cast your votes!
Silentbrains brought Skippy's most poetic phrase to life. (Holy shit this is pretty amazing)
hawk16zz Illustrates what Panzer's spirit breaking in real time would look like
hawk16zz recognizes that all assets are to be procured on site
gschmidl is far too modest. Pour some bullshit on me...
And a final word from Panzer
I'd really like to thank everyone who managed to struggle through those videos, read the comics and post in the thread! This is my first LP and I had a lot of fun making it despite what a fucking trainwreck the game is.
Here's a special bonus treat for you guys! This is the texture for the treasure voucher in the game:
If you zoom in, here's what (I think) the text says:
"Silly tex that has nothing to do with this shit whatsoever and is placed in this position solely for the purposes of fucking around aimlessly. Some may object the this sort of behavior but they won do shit. I have no idea what this Voucher is for nor do I care. The important thing is that I have to write shit on this sheet of paper. Silly me to thin this will actually"
Goodnight Paradise. Goodnight forever.