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Tears of Betrayal
Release Date:December 2005
Article Posted:May 2006
System Requirements

Roxanne was casually walking down the street, perhaps on the way to meet her husband James. This town, these streets were no stranger. The small town of Talkstone had been a great home to the young couple. Roxanne arrived at the intersection and carefully started crossing the street. How many times had she walked on this same street? How many times had she crossed at this very intersection? Perhaps the idea of something going wrong did not even cross the young womanís mind. Yet sometimes an entire life can turn upside down in a single moment. A car speeding down the street hit Roxanne with full force. The young woman felt terrible agony for a brief moment. Searing pain engulfed her right before she lost all feeling. Everything was covered in darkness.

James woke up from the terrible nightmare. Climbing out of the bed he was extremely disturbed and shaken. ďIt was just a bad dream,Ē he thought to himself for a moment, trying to relax. But then he saw the letter lying on top of one of the pillows. It was a message from his wife. Reading the letter James remembered all too well that the accident was real. Roxanne was barely clinging to life in a coma. But then how could she have sent this letter? How could it have been delivered to the young manís bed without James even noticing? Nervously James read the entire letter. Roxanne was asking her husband to visit her at the hospital. To Jamesís utter astonishment, the message simply vanished as soon as he finished reading it.

James was confused, disturbed, and maybe even a little scared. What was going on here? What kind of supernatural forces were at play? Was Roxanne really trying to reach him? James was determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. He had to find out what really happened to his wife. With a pitifully small amount of money, no one to trust, and hardly any leads, James stepped out of his apartment. It was time to discover the truth. It was time to give peace to a troubled spirit.

If you miss adventure games where you could interact with the world by typing in commands, you are in for a treat. Tears of Betrayal, the first game from Frixx-iT, gives players a pleasant opportunity to experience a gaming style you may not encounter very often these days. As you search all over the town of Talkstone to discover what happened to your wife Roxanne, Tears of Betrayal can offer an interesting gaming experience, presenting elements of the old in a new 3D environment.

Tears of Betrayal is played from a third person perspective. Players can move James by either using the arrow keys on the keyboard or clicking around the environment with the mouse. Unfortunately, the mouse navigation can be occasionally rather problematic. Clicking on a certain part of the screen may result in James moving in an unexpected direction. Thankfully, the keyboard navigation works significantly better as it is much more accurate. As recommended by the gameís manual, players will most likely fare better if they use the keyboard to move James.

There two ways to interact with objects. Players can click on an object or inventory item with the right mouse button to bring up a list of commands. The list of available commands is quite lengthy and gives players a lot of options. Upon selecting one of the commands, James will either perform the action or let you know that what you are suggesting is impossible. In the original release of the game, players are required to keep holding the right mouse button while selecting a command. However, a patch is available from the Tears of Betrayal Web site that changes this functionality so the menu stays open when you click on the right mouse button. This greatly improves the process of selecting commands. Especially since it improves the mouse navigation and resolves a few other minor problems, downloading the patch is highly recommended before you start playing the game.

Players who do not want to use the available actions list can alternatively try typing simple commands through the keyboard. Combining object names with verbs, players can get James to try performing certain actions. The ability to type in commands gives players additional options that are not available from the standard list that appears when you use the mouse. Experimenting with the various objects in the environment through keyboard commands can be quite entertaining and improve your experience in Tears of Betrayal.

The story in Tears of Betrayal is centered around Jamesís investigation of the tragic car accident that put Roxanne in a coma. The entire game takes place in Talkstone. While the game does not span over an extremely large area, the town does have a considerable number of different structures that James will have to explore. Between his apartment, the hospital, the park, the bar, and a number of different stores, James will have to cover a lot of ground. The game does not have a map feature that allows James to instantly travel between places. However, James can run quite fast and cover a significant distance in a relatively short amount of time. Especially once they become familiar with the layout of the town, players should not waste too much time running between different locations.

During the adventure James will meet a number of colorful characters. From a cryptic fortune teller to a concerned citizen on a quest to save chicken, James certainly runs across a strange cast of characters. Tears of Betrayal also features what must be the flower girl with the worst luck in the history of gaming. Interaction with characters is accomplished through the same command system players will use to manipulate objects in the environment. Players will simply ask James to talk to another character. They will not be able to choose from a list of available conversation topics. However, you can ask James to talk to a character several times to make sure you got all the useful information. Most of the dialogue in Tears of Betrayal is written, but there is a small amount of voice-acting during certain key moments of the game.

While exploring the town, players should bear in mind that there are a couple of ways in which James can die during the adventure. First of all, the car accident that put Roxanne in a coma by no means seems to be an isolated incident. You will not see any cars driving around the streets as you explore the town, but the only safe way to cross the street is to use the pedestrian crossings. If you randomly step into the middle of the street, James will be instantly hit by a car that appears out of the blue. You will be forced to resume from a save game. Especially since the car accidents are not the only way James can die in Tears of Betrayal, it is recommended to save often.

Frequently recording your progress can also prevent a lot of frustration if James gets stuck while you are exploring the town. The 3D environment does have a number of corners where you may inadvertently lead James only to realize that you are stuck in place. Clicking on a different location on the screen or struggling with the arrow keys will typically get you out of these situations. However, it is possible for James to become irrevocably stuck and you may have to resort to resuming from a saved game. Fortunately, players should not encounter this navigation problem very frequently. Especially after you become familiar with the structure of the town and figure out the kinds of places where James might get stuck, you should be able to explore safely.

Tears of Betrayal does feature a good number of jokes throughout the adventure. Some of the comments you will encounter when you ask James to perform certain impossible or illogical actions may bring a smile to your face. A couple of the phone calls James can place throughout the course of the game are pleasantly whimsical. However, the overall atmosphere of Tears of Betrayal is rather dark and gloomy. Between the dim lighting of Jamesís apartment and the gray, misty skies of Talkstone, Tears and Betrayal sets a sorrowful tone from the outset of the game. The atmosphere successfully reflects Jamesís mood and serves as a reminder of the tragic accident.

There is also a strong emphasis on the supernatural in Tears of Betrayal. The letter that vanishes at the very beginning of the game hints at mystical forces at work. Throughout the adventure, James encounters strange visions that help with his investigation. Sometimes these visions deliver strong emotional moments, but they can also be downright disturbing. Players will soon realize that there is more to Tears of Betrayal than Jamesís desire to understand the truth. The game is about a spirit seeking solace. Tears of Betrayal is about a young manís quest to find justice. The mystery behind the car accident may not be incredibly deep or unpredictable, but the game certainly manages to keep players interested in unlocking the truth.

Some of the puzzles in Tears of Betrayal are inventory-based and centered around obtaining the right items to gain access to a location. At other times players will simply have to enter the correct action words to successfully interact with an object. The items James has to find are generally placed at locations that are fairly easy to spot. Careful observation and thorough exploration should easily lead players to all the items they will need. When you do have the correct items to solve a puzzle, determining how to use them should not be too much of a problem. The solutions are generally logical and fairly obvious. The game usually clearly communicates where James should be headed next. Hints can be found throughout the town to aid with the puzzles.

It is worth pointing out that money plays an important role in Tears of Betrayal. Many of the items James needs throughout the adventure have to be bought from stores. The young man starts the game with a humble twenty dollars in his wallet. In order to make any kind of progress, players have to earn more money. Having to buy certain items rather than just finding them lying around does arguably add a sense of realism to the game.

Unfortunately, the process of earning enough money to buy the items required to solve the puzzles can easily become frustrating. Besides the initial twenty dollars in Jamesís wallet, players will find a couple of ways to earn extra cash. However, the amount of money that can be found around Talkstone is rather limited and will not be sufficient to complete the game. Sooner or later, players will have to resort to playing one of the three mini-games featured in Tears of Betrayal. These mini-games involve James betting a specific amount of money for a chance to double his investment. The game is designed to make sure James cannot lose or spend the last of his money and become irrevocably stuck. However, since all of the mini-games depend on luck to a certain extent, players should expect to spend a fair amount of time just trying to earn enough cash to buy a required item. Especially given the fact that James will lose the games fairly often, players may have no choice but to use the old trick of saving their progress before attempting a mini-game and reloading if they lose.

While it has several problems, Tears of Betrayal is still quite an enjoyable experience. Players might get frustrated as James gets stuck when you are trying to explore the town. Having to play the mini-games a considerable number of times to earn enough money can be tedious. However, the mystery behind the accident manages to keep players interested as they search for the truth. The game creates a gloomy atmosphere that not only fits the storyline, but also reflects Jamesís emotional state. Especially the young manís visions create a number of memorable moments. Tears of Betrayal may not be perfect, but it is still a commendable first effort from Frixx-iT. The Belgium-based development company most certainly has a lot of promise. If you are interested in a pleasant adventure game to revive the keyboard command system, and if you are willing to look past its problems, consider giving Tears of Betrayal a try. The game can be purchased from the official Web site at www.TearsOfBetrayal.com.


PC System Requirements:
Windowsģ 98/ME/2000/XP
1 GHz processor
128 MB RAM
32 MB 3D accelerated Video Card
800 MB free disk space
1x DVD Rom drive