Game: EXplore: Alchemist’s Laboratory
Publisher: 0one Roleplaying Games
Review Dated: 13th, December 2004
Reviewer’s Rating: 6/10 [ On the ball ]
Total Score: 6
Average Score: 6.00
Um. This is a tricky one. 0one Roleplaying Games have an unusual product in EXplore: Alchemist’s Laboratory.
This isn’t one of the fabulous battlemaps which 0one are famous for nor is it one of the pre-written adventures. In fact, the Alchemist’s Laboratory reminds me of virtual tours produced by estate agents.
The Alchemist’s Laboratory requires Mac’s QuickTime and the fact that this software is normally used to view movies says something about the product. The Alchemist’s Laboratory is a 3D tour of a medieval lab.
You begin with a view of a large wooden table loaded up with strange shaped bottles and vials. With QuickTime you can zoom in and out and doing so shows just the level of detail that 0one’s artists go in to.
As you click on the screen you’ll change your point of view. In fact there are a total of five views of the single room; of the table and from the north-east, south-east, north-west and south-west corners. You can discover this by hovering your mouse around the screen and watching the cursor change or the Move To code appear I QuickTime or by checking out the accompanying PDF.
It’s very impressive. I’ve always said that 0one’s art quality reminds me of the best computer roleplaying games.
But – I’m not sure what to do with it. I’ve paid US$2.50 so I can’t really grumble about the cost… well, not if I can figure out how to use it. Has the pseudo-movie inspired me? Not really. Could I show this to players? I suppose I could hike my laptop around and show them. We’re a computer savvy group (one of my groups, anyway) and we could even manage to drag the .mov file into each other’s Shared Items folder. I thought about foreshadowing the use of Alchemist’s Laboratory by having the characters prepped to be on the lookout for an item which you can see in the movie. There’s nothing really that stands out as suitable though. I might actually have to use the PDF to print out the screens and avoid the movie in that case.
I think the best use of the product is as an atmospheric point of interest for players to play with over a pizza break.
The Alchemist’s Lab is tricky because it should be reviewed for what it is. What ever it does – it’s quite good. There’s no doubting the art quality, ease of use, stability of software or even price. It’s simply the case that you’ll have to know what you’ll use the movie for. Fortunately there’s a demo.