The Longest Journey (1999)

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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 811 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 1 critic

April Ryan is a young visual-arts student in Venice, Newport. She's been having some strange dreams lately, but little does she know about the important role she'll have in changing the future...

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Title: The Longest Journey (Video Game 1999)

The Longest Journey (Video Game 1999) on IMDb 8.9/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sarah Hamilton ...
April Ryan (voice)
...
April Ryan (voice)
...
Cortez / Adrian (voice)
Roger Raines ...
Crow / Actor Cop / Vanguard Receptionist (voice)
Ron Foster ...
The Wood Spirit / Tobias Grensret / The Ancient Dragon (voice)
Nicole Orth-Pallavicini ...
The White Dragon / The Maerum Queen (voice)
Helen Stenborg ...
Old Woman / Alatien Teller (voice)
Ron Gallop ...
Zack Lee / Captured Banda / Stickman Woody / Thin Repairman (voice)
...
Emma / Young Alatien Woman / Female Visitor (voice)
Mark Anthony Henry ...
Charlie (voice)
...
Fat Repairman / Lost Banda / Cups Handler (voice)
...
Young April / Alatien Child (voice)
Andrew Donnelly ...
Burns Flipper / Lorhan (voice)
Kevin Merritt ...
Gordon / Male Visitor (voice)
...
Roper Klacks / Brian Westhouse / Jacob McAllen (voice)
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Storyline

April Ryan is a young visual-arts student in Venice, Newport. She's been having some strange dreams lately, but little does she know about the important role she'll have in changing the future...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You are about to take the first steps of the longest journey of your life. See more »


Certificate:

M | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 November 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den lengste reisen  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

As an inside joke, several sentences of the library book's description of the city of Marcuria are taken almost verbatim from the descriptions of Babylon 5 (1994) from that show's first and second season introductions. See more »

Quotes

April: She. It was a girl dragon.
Emma: What you could tell by the high heels and lipstick?
See more »

Connections

References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

Awesomeness, thy name is April
27 November 2008 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Twas the Spring of 2001. I'd not played an Adventure game since 1995's Phantasmagoria, and I'd had enough walking around, clicking on items, solving obscure nonsensical puzzles to last me a lifetime. It was fun while it lasted, but good bye Adventure games. Good riddance. Have a nice life, and don't call me.

By chance (or was it fate?) I ran across a friend playing The Longest Journey. A quick glance at the interface revealed the genre and immediately turned my interest away … and then April Ryan, the protagonist, spoke, "Storm clouds. Even the weather sucks in my dreams. I feel so charmed." Whoa, a cynical smart ass heroine? Okay, okay, April. You have my attention. Let's see what you got.

I began TLJ just to ride along with Ms Ryan so I could listen to her commentary (delivered with style and flair by Sarah Hamilton), but she was just the hook. And soon she drew me into a classical story arc supported by quirky colorful (not to mention frickin' hilarious) characters, environments that provide their own sly social commentaries on our world, and the Adventure game's knack for, um, "creative" uses of the mundane.

The Longest Journey spans two parallel worlds, one of a magic and one of science – a clever device used to bring the realms of science fiction and fantasy together in a single game. April discovers that she is a "shifter", possessing the ability to cross between worlds to embark on the titular journey. Yes, it's the age old tale of a protagonist who, guided by a mentor, is destined for glory. Predictable and overused as this formula may be, I can't help but marvel at the power it still wields when done right.

In Stark, the sci-fi half of the game, April encounters scenery reminiscent of Blade Runner (Metro Circle), a car alarm that informs her "I've just been charged with a *bleep* load of electricity – touch me again, and you're toast!" She gets trapped in a bureaucratic hell of Union rules, mundane paperwork, and secretaries who don't want to deal with her … and yes, she accurately voices our frustration (in an appropriate vocabulary, to boot!). Eventually, the conflict will lead her from her humble beginnings as an art student into a conspiracy involving a megacorporation aiming for world domination. After all, it wouldn't be an epic without an empire in there somewhere, now would it?

Over in Arcadia, the fantasy half of the game, our heroine encounters a scene right out of Hanzel and Gretel, the Venar who exist in all moments of their life simultaneously giving their speech serious grammatical problems regarding proper tense, stickmen who want to follow the cow over the moon, and, of course, an evil Wizard. And every single one of these memorable characters can go toe to toe with April's wit. Facing Roper Klacks, the powerful Wizard (Alchemist, whatever), April, utterly powerless against him, remarks, "Oh yeah? Uh, I can pull a rabbit out of a hat!" Klacks answers, "I can pull a hat out of a rabbit. What's your point?"

Even throwaway characters like the map's merchant makes his mark, giving April the most convoluted directions imaginable like something out of a Monty Python skit.

No review of TLJ would be complete without dedicating a paragraph to the greatest VG sidekick of all time: Crow, the talking bird (a real lady's man, er, bird) who shoots his beak off faster than his small brain can keep up with, which in turn gives us a character who is paradoxically savvy and naïve at the same time (voiced to perfection by Roger Raines.) "We can't help them!" Crow protests, "They're savages! They eat birds!" April informs, "Crow, I eat birds. You probably do too." "Yeah, I do love roast duck in a tangy … okay, I see your point."

Both worlds are deliciously tongue-in-cheek, but not outright goofy. Rather, the humor builds a common foundation – dare I say camaraderie? – between April and the gamer (particularly towards the first half of the game.) But pay attention as the story progresses, watch as the narrative subtly drifts to a more somber tone, and observe how much more deeply these later moments resonate. This allows the game to remain an intimate tale despite its epic scope. April's path, she is told, leads through both greatness and tragedy, and as we journey with April, we learn the price destiny requires her to pay … and we almost don't want her to make that sacrifice. She doesn't deserve this fate. Because we've laughed with her, we'll want to cry for her.

I've mentioned the great voice work by Sarah Hamilton and Roger Raines, but believe me it doesn't stop there. The quality of the voicework is unprecedented, and the consistency phenomenal – Ralph Byers as the eccentric Roper Klacks and the drunk Bryan Westhouse, Andrew Donnelly as crazy genius "the Flipper", Jeff Meller as the Maps Merchant and Abnaxus of the Venar to name a few. To date, The Longest Journey hands down has the best voice acting of any game I've ever played.

If I had to level a complaint against TLJ, I would have to say the prerendered movies leave something to be desired. While the in game graphics and character models are fine – the prerendered backgrounds, stunning in their design and execution (not to mention full of life with little touches such as animated water, characters moving about, signs blinking, and cars zooming by) – the prerendered movies, land in uncanny valley territory (especially in regards to the characters.) Close, but not quite.

I guess I could complain about some of the illogical puzzles, but I knew that was coming from the get go – this is an adventure game, after all. However, April Ryan's feminine charms and no BS attitude made up for the genre's inherent frustrations. Hail to the Queen, baby.


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