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Gray Matter (2010)
While reading several reviews of Gray Matter which were less than flattering, I decided I simply have to add my 0.02$ and review the game.
The story of magic, lost love and mystery is up there with the best works that Jane Jensen wrote so far. It would be a crime to reveal too much, but let's say that the unlikely duo of a young, somewhat naive, street magician, and a famous but deeply scarred neurologist works, both in terms of the story and the game play as well. During the course of the game we thus get to play as both Sam - a magician who by chance becomes the personal assistant of a once famed, but now reclusive Oxford professor - and as the prof - Dr. Styles - himself. Sam is at first mostly focused on getting membership at the Daedalus Club, an elite London magician's club, but strange things start happening in Oxford... are they the work of a fellow magician pulling a "Great Game" to impress the Daedalus Club, or are these strange events somehow connected to an ongoing experiment by Dr. Styles (which is, by the way, being conducted in order to connect with the spirit of his deceased wife, who died in a car accident some years before)? The stage is set for a fantastic adventure.
The story itself flows beautifully, the music is excellent and haunting, and the writing is top notch throughout. The atmosphere is enhanced by real-life Oxford locations being used in the game. Despite this, Gray Matter likely won't reach the legendary status of the Gabriel Knight trilogy - admittedly, the game is rough around the edges (choppy animation, cheap-looking cut scenes) which might frustrate some players. I think it all boils down to your personal preference - can you forgive some purely technical flaws and let yourself be immersed by a beautiful story, or not? I could, and trust me, once you start to connect with the characters on screen, you won't even notice any of the minor flaws.
The one complaint that I personally have with the story (SPOILERS ahead!) as such is the somewhat abrupt ending, which fails to completely tie up all the loose ends. Yes, we get to find out that Angela was really posing as Dr. Style's dead wife, but that's it. Will he continue trying to bring her back? One would assume so, but it's never stated clearly. Considering the fact that her spirit does manage to send a message through to him in one of the last cut scenes, it would be safe to assume the search isn't over. But we don't know. The role of Angela's father isn't really explained either, and in chapter 8 the game assumes the player is informed about him, but that's not really the case (not counting the few lines of dialogue about him when Sam notices his photo in Angela's room). The ending does imply that there might be a Gray Matter 2 in the works, and I for one can't wait to see where Jensen will take the story next.
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
Utter, complete dreadful mess of a movie.
Much could be said about Manos. But I won't say much. Just that it is an absolutely horrible movie, trying to be a horror movie, but ending up as some sort of a half-finished, utterly non-watchable movie. Check this one out only if you want to torture yourself. The Acting is wooden, most frames are out of focus, the dialogue is extremely cheesy and sometimes makes no sense whatsoever, voices are done by four actors for all the characters, oh yes, and there are the guy and girl constantly making out in a car, which have no connection to the plot whatsoever. And the snake is from a Disney documentary.
Stay away, stay far away!