Now there have been quite a few 3D room-based games since Knight Lore first stunned everybody.
The Edge changed things a bit with Fairlight I and II which took the basic game look and added an extended range of possible options - objects to collect and the like.
But even that wasn't the end of it - now we have Inside Outing possibly the most sophisticated 3D room game yet.
Inside Outing is set in an authentic Hammer horror type mansion. You are a burglar, an expert in the dodgy arts. Specifically you can find things that other people have hidden. Valuable things. This time, though, you're one of the good guys. The lady of the house has actually employed you to search the house, there to hunt out twelve missing jewels hidden by the deranged previous owner of the mansion.
Still with me? Anyway the jewel hider was a mad inventor (some surprise!) and the result of his bizarre experiments provide the principle obstacles in the game. Not bats and vampires in this family ruin but giant canaries and massively enlarged household pets. You may be surprised just how intimidating a canary can be...
Actually the plot is pretty much your standard looky-collecty stuff but here is the awesome bit: virtually everything can be moved and virtually everything has an authentic weight and momentum. You can push and pull tables around, move pictures - perhaps to reveal something behind? You can not only push the snooker table around - you can jump up on it and push the snooker balls down the holes!
This is the closest to a miniature world in a computer I've ever seen. In other games you would try something silly and it would fail. In Inside Outing you try something silly and it actually works!
Sometimes the problems are not dissimilar to Knight Lore or Head Over Heels. For example in one room the way out is made inaccessible by a great pile of furniture. The objective then is to move it all out of the way, the problem being a giant mutant canary which (presumably by its deadly pecks) drains your energy pronto. Attempting to tough it out just doesn't seem to work - your energy never lasts long enough. The solution must be to find something to distract or stun the canary with. But what?
The use for the mysterious lumps of cheese was easier to guess - there are these giant rats you see...
Other problems are in the Fairlight mould - assorted objects just crying out for a use to be found for them or subtle combinations of objects which get you other objects which solve another problem...
The nearest point of comparison with Inside Outing is Get Dexter - a superb game which was just about the only game that ever made me wish I had an Amstrad. The virtues of both games are that they are very detailed, with stylish graphics and utterly ingenious puzzles.
You'll soon learn to search everywhere in this game - leave no picture unturned, no table unmoved.
Without a doubt the best 3D game since Head Over Heels.
Label: The Edge
Author: Michael St Aubyn
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
Astoundingly detailed 3D collect and explore game. The best 3D game since Head Over Heels.