Secret Files: Tunguska (2006) is everything wrong in adventure genre

I'm sure, that if you look hard enough, you could find funny German humour somewhere, but as far German game designers go, they don't seem to have had much luck in that department.At least all the German made comedy games have been painfully unfunny in their attempts at comedy. Then again, Germans aren't really known for being great at making people laugh. What comes to comedy Germans are a bit like Vogons at poetry: dreadfully painful.

Okay, that's about all I'm going to say about the humour value of the Secret Files: Tunguska. It is an adventure game, that revolves around the famous Tunguska incident, taking place at 1908 in Siberia, where a massive explosion felled nearly 60 million trees in a 2150 square kilometre area. As for now, there's still no consensus on what really caused the explosion, but an asteroid or a comet explosion in an upper atmosphere is one possibility. I doubt it'll come as a surprise if I'd say that in this game it was aliens.

the story starts, when a scientist is kidnapped in circa mid-2000's Berlin. He obviously had something to do with Tunguska, but his daughter Nina doesn't know that she only knows that her father is missing, so off to look him she goes. Soon she notices that she's been tangled in a mess, that takes her from Russia to Antarctica. Oh, and she also has a companion with her, an another scientist Max, and there's some forced romance thing there's well. That doesn't feel very fluent either, but that's mostly because they game is so poorly written.

Poorly written really is the keyword with Tunguska. It doesn't only plague the story itself, but the attempts at humour as well. And then there's the dialogue, which is just painfully to listen, so I just skipped most of it, as the voice work really equals to the script quality. Like Harrison Ford once said to George Lucas, "You can type this shit, but you can't say it!".

But surely the puzzles are the saving grace here? No. In short, Tunguska has a shit tonne of puzzles, which make normal people just hate adventure games. Not all of them are terrible, mind you, just filled with adventure game logic or they are just painfully obvious, but there are more than a few terrible clunkers in the game. I would complain about pixel hunting, but the game does have a hotspot revealer, which really is a saving grace here, as there's a lot of it.

Here are a couple of examples of the puzzle glory in the game: to spy a phone conversation you need to duct tape a cell phone on a cat. Logical, really. In order to stop a door closing, you need to stick a painting on a doorframe with a meat fork. Surely. In order yo get salt you need to dip a clothing bundle in an oil barrel and drop that bundle in an elevator shaft. To fry a fish, you need to steal a road sign, stick a fish on that and put that in a fireplace. Then you take it out by stealing a flag, getting it wet and using that as an oven mitten. In order to slow down music you literally have to place weights on a spinning record. And do you know where you get lemons? Well, you put a flag on a speed sign, go in and wait for an unlucky truck driver to drive too fast on a corner.

There are more terrible puzzles in there, but I guess you get the drift from those. At times it felt like the designers were deliberately trying stuff in the worst puzzles they could come up with in order to sell hint books, but forgot that there's this thing called the internet these days, where the solutions can be found for free.

The best thing I can say about Tunguska is, that it is relatively nice looking game for its age. It was originally released in 2006 and the pre-rendered background graphics it uses are very nicely done and detailed. The character models and animations are relatively good as well.

I can't recommend Secret Files; Tunguska. It really is a game for an adventure game masochists only. I only got as it was on a cheap bundle at Humble Bundle, so there's still three more Secret Files games for me to enjoy. Pray for me.

If you want it, it's on Steam and Humble, but wait for a sale. And if you are a German you even might find it funny.