Moment Of Silence
February 27, 2005
German developers House of Tales are
best known for Mystery of the Druids which
achieved mixed reviews in 2001.
Four years later and they are back with The Moment of Silence.
The Moment of Silence (TMoS) is a
huge game, spanning 75 rendered locations and about 500 screens, so
thankfully in the UK it was released on DVD.
Published in the UK by Digital Jesters it has been backed by an aggressive
TV marketing strategy where it sponsored Battlestar Galactica.
It’s refreshing to see a publisher actively promoting adventures games
in this fashion.
So sit back listen to the orchestral music while it installs 3.5 GB of fun
onto your hard disk.
The Moment of Silence is a conspiracy and espionage thriller set in New
Step into the shoes of Peter Wright, a communications designer currently
working on the Government's 'Freedom of Speech' campaign. Peter is
currently on hiatus from work after a “luddite” terrorist bomb blew up
the plane that was carrying his wife and son.
His mourning is interrupted when his neighbor's apartment is stormed by a
SWAT team and the Journalist husband arrested with no explanations.
Peter offers to investigate and is drawn into a world of corruption, power
and global domination which will see you travel the globe in pursuit of
The plot is one of the games main selling points and although not entirely
original, the Orwellian storyline kept me hooked right until the end.
It is a storyline that echoes current trends in today’s technological
society and one that Science Fiction authors have used on several
The interface is standard mouse controlled Point and Click that most
adventurers know and love.
Left click is used to move the character around the screen or interact
with the hotspots. Right click the mouse to examine items or hotspots.
The inventory is located along the bottom of the screen and appears when
you move the cursor over that area. Items in your inventory can be
examined with a right click or selected with a left click of the mouse
A nice feature is the inclusion of a few keyboard shortcuts. Holding
down the “H” will highlight exits in the current location (Sometimes),
hold it down for a few more seconds and it will highlight the hotspots for
items to collect or people to talk to.
The “M” key can also be used to call up your Messenger which is
integral to the plot and some of the puzzles. Think of it as a
mobile PDA, vid-phone, Cash card and ID all in one. It is the one
gadget that people in 2044 can’t do without.
One of the major flaws of this game comes apparent when trying to move
Peter around. Sometimes he has a mind of his own and will wander off in
completely unexpected trajectories. The Path-finding is extremely
bad especially in smaller locations like the Cafe or Antiques shop.
It is also difficult on occasion to locate exits as they are not always
highlighted even if you use the “H” to assist. There were a
couple of points in the game where I couldn’t progress further just
because I hadn’t triggered a camera change that wasn’t indicated with
Puzzles are mostly of the inventory and conversational type with a couple
of logic puzzles thrown in. Think Longest Journey and you won’t be
The conversational aspects of the game are long and detailed. It
really adds to the atmosphere, characterization of the main players and
the overall plot progression. Although there are a few conversations
that get a bit long winded and could have done with some editing as they
don’t really progress the plot.
Fortunately for those of you adverse to long conversational type games,
they can be bypassed by left clicking the mouse to skip sentences, but I
think you are doing the game a disservice as you are missing out on some
superb voice acting.
I also encountered a couple of occasions where the cause and effect
connection of some puzzles was off. For Example: You were given the
option to ask about an item you needed even though you hadn’t found the
item in question or at one point I talked to a character about a
conversation that hadn’t taken place yet. Spooky and mildly
annoying to say the least.
Overall TMoS is a challenging game that should take about 20 hours to
complete. The difficulty level on the puzzles varies from the simple
talk to everyone in sight to the frankly obscure.
Graphics and Sound
The Moment of Silence utilizes 3D character models in front of highly
detailed 2D rendered backgrounds (displayed at 1024x658). It is
refreshing to see an adventure displayed at a high 1024X658 resolution
which makes the game world appear highly pleasing to the eye. Each
location in the game looks stunningly realistic with nice shadow and
The cut scenes are uniformly excellent throughout the game. I
especially liked the transition between some locations with a sweeping
camera that alters the viewpoint of certain locations in real time as you
character runs past.
Unfortunately I was wishing for more life in each area I visited.
New York and the other locations felt very empty and devoid of life.
This is especially true of the character models that inhabit the
world. They all have noticeably short animation routines and you get
the impression that they are glued to the ground. No matter how many
times you come back the same characters never move a muscle.
There were also a few graphical glitches within the game. Most
notably when you speak to one hooker her cigarette seems to float in the
air independent of her hand.
Sonically TMoS is a joy to the ears. The musical soundtrack is
always excellent with some stirringly powerful tunes that always seem
appropriate to the tone of the story and location.
Voice acting in adventures can vary from the superb Day of the Tentacle to
the less than spectacular voices in “The Watchmaker”.
With a dialogue heavy game like TMoS, the voice acting needs to be of a
very high standard. Fortunately for us, in TMoS each character has a
distinct personality. There are a cast of about 35 characters, and
the voices more than live up to expectations. I can’t really fault
the voice acting in the game (although there are a couple of strange
accents). It is a pleasure to listen to.
The Moment of Silence is probably one of the best adventures to be
released in the last couple of years. It is a giant step in the
right direction for The House of Tales and one on which they can build on
for future releases.
Overall TMoS is an excellent but flawed title that could have been a
Highly recommended for fans of conspiracy theories and long conversations.