For a long time I thought of Grim Fandango as the ‘LucasArts game with the skeletons’, whose appeal was a total mystery to me. Maybe it was because back then, when the game was released, I had been somewhat over-saturated (like many others) by countless adventure games. Also they started copying each other more and more and most of the time provided some awfully boring ideas. Still a game, in which you slip into the role of a bony man, seemed just too silly. In the meantime adventure games are returning again and LucasArts finally closed its gates. So after fifteen years I decided to fill a gap in my knowledge.
Hunger Daemon is a game about the search of a long-time veterinarian student for a heart, a girl and something to eat… not necessarily in this order. His journey is linked to his uncle, who wants to take over the world by summoning an elder being into his body. Of course this cannot be for real, so the only serious question he has to ask himself is: When are you going to get your hands on some food?
Probably the best way to describe this text adventure would be as an interactive horror spoof fiction set in the world of the Cthulhu Mythos. It pokes a lot of fun at inane gibberish chanting, gathering obscure items or tomes for overly dramatic rituals at tastelessly decorated altars, very narrow minded monster beetles and digging up otherworldly artefacts in places where anyone could have stumbled upon them ages ago. What is especially nice is the stark contrast between the comparatively 'normal' everyday adventure game action, you will have to do to finish the game, and the somewhat strange things which are going on in that cellar.
Successful games like Zelda, Ultima, Baldur's Gate and others dazzle us with an atmospheric fantasy world, challenge by fighting against hostile forces and offer a lot of experience for further survival. The top-down perspective – i.e. moving on a kind of world map – is a striking common feature of the aforementioned classics. The player has a top-down view of the environment and his avatar, but without taking over the avatar's field of vision and thus his role – as is usual in 3D shooters. In this kind of flight over the actual scene, the player is a bit further away from the action and gets a more abstract picture of the game's progress. The mentioned game titles nevertheless manage to captivate the player without much effort and integrate him into the story. This is achieved by the perfection of the well-known technical elements like graphics, music, game mechanics and also the psychological incentives, which reward a fight with progress in the story and increase the experience points.