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journey-man

The Longest Journey

The Longest Journey (Den lengste reisen) is a point-and-click adventure game developed by Norwegian studio Funcom for the PC. First published by IQ Media Nordic in Norway in 1999, it was later localized for and released in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, and the United States.

The game drew praise from critics for its enigmatic, mature storyline and high production values, but was criticized for some of its more obscure puzzles.

A sequel, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, was released on April 20, 2006.

Story

Synopsis

The game takes place in the parallel universes of Arcadia, a world of magic, and Stark, a world of science and technology. The protagonist, April Ryan, is an 18-year-old art student living in Stark. She learns that the line between the two worlds is growing thin, causing chaos on both sides. April also learns that she is a Shifter, one who is capable of walking between these worlds, and is then tasked with restoring the Balance between the dimensions before it is too late.

Plot summary

The story begins in Stark, where April is sleeping in her apartment in the Border House. While sleeping, she unintentionally shifts to Arcadia. There she meets the White Dragon, one of the Draic-Kin, who appears to be hatching an egg on a massive nest. The White Dragon greets her as "my child", and says that April is the mother of the future. At that moment a dark ball-shaped lightning cloud, called the Chaos Vortex, attacks April. She awakens in Stark and dismisses her experience as a nightmare. Outside the house she meets an old enigmatic man, Cortez, who sits outside the house every day. He tells her that she has a destiny and if she doesn’t face the nightmares she’s having, they’ll start appearing even when she's awake. April is freaked out on how he knows about the nightmares, and refuses to talk to him any further. Later, with strange dreamlike mythical things happening to not only her, she knows Cortez has the answers. With Zack being the only one who knows where Cortez might be, she trades information on his whereabouts for a date with him (despite thinking him a jerk). Meeting Cortez, he reveals there are players bigger than the police after him. He then opens a shift and persuades April to step through. April appears in a temple in Marcuria. There she meets Tobias Grensret, Vestrum of the Sentinel. By allowing the magic into her she learns Alltongue, common language in Arcadia. There Tobias tells her about the Balance, the Sentinel, and the Vanguard. He says it has been 200 years since the current Guardian, Adrian, needed to be replaced. Growing tired, Adrian started to pollute the Balance, and had to return back to where he was born, Stark.

This meant that the Balance is now unguarded, allowing Chaos from Arcadia to breach the Divide, explaining all those strange things happening in Stark. As Adrian is no longer in the Guardian’s Realm, the only way back there is through the original location where the Guardian’s Tower was built. He is also the only one who can open the entrance. Tobias reveals that April is a strong shifter. As April doesn’t know how to shift yet, she visits Brian Westhouse, a friend of Cortez and originally from Stark. There he gives her a pocket watch, which April uses to unintentionally open a shift. Back in Stark, Cortez fills her in with more information about the Vanguard, also known as the Church of Voltec. That night April ruins Zack’s date, establishing a vendetta with Zack.

The next day April visits Warren Hughes, a homeless boy with clandestine activities and connections. He agrees to help April if she infiltrates a police station to wipe his criminal record and find his sister. April does this, and also finds a data cube on the Church of Voltec. Hughes then refers her to Burns Flipper. Flipper then reads the data cube and finds out that Jacob McAllen, a Hitler-type person, is the head of the Vanguard. And Gordon Halloway, a cold ruthless person, is McAllen’s right hand man. Halloway was meant to be the next Guardian, but Vanguard experiments split him into two, Chaos (in Arcadia) and Logic (in Stark). He tells her that MTI (a very large multinational company) is the front of the Vanguard, and its HQ is located in Grendel Avenue, upper-level Newport. She needs a fake ID, which Flipper will make, to access the upper levels.

Meeting Cortez and Father Raul in a Christian cathedral, Cortez tells April that Arcadia is on the brink of war. Still waiting on fake ID, she goes back to the Border house for the night. She then unintentionally shifts back to Arcadia. Entering The Journey Man inn, she meets the innkeeper Benrime Salmin. Also there is a strange creature, Abnaxus, ambassador of the Venar who happens to know who April is. His species sees all of time, but there is a dark veil in the future that he cannot see past. That is the time of uncertainty and chaos. After he leaves, April falls asleep in a chair in the inn.

In the morning, she visits the great Library of the Sentinel Enclave. She learns there are four magical species that guard the parts of the disc, and each has prophecies of a savior who will restore the balance, only to finally break it. She gets a lead, the island of Alais, where flying creatures called the Alatian have tales since the start of the Divide. She gains passage on a ship that will take her to Alais, The White Dragon. She does this by rescuing a talking bird that she named Crow. However before she can leave, she has to first free the wind, which an evil Alchemist, Roper Klacks, has put a spell on. Leaving for Klacks Tower, Crow escapes from his drunken owner and joins April on her journey.

On the way to the tower, she gets captured by an evil woman, the Gribbler, in the forest. The Gribbler eats humans and furry creatures called the Banda. April kills the Gribbler, while rescuing one of the captive Banda. The Banda honor her for saving their species and give her accommodation for the night. That night, she gets visited by their spirits who gives her the name April Bandu-embata. This then fulfills the prophecies of the Banda, and they give her the first piece of the disc.

When April arrives at the tower, she finds herself in a labyrinth. After much searching, she finally finds Klacks. She challenges him to a maths duel: his magic versus her calculator. He loses and snatches the calculator from her. He is intrigued with the device to the point of insanity then gets sucked in it. With Klacks' magic, April manages to free the wind. Just before April sets sail for Alais, Tobias tells her that she is the next Guardian, and gives her the Talisman of the Balance. April is shocked with this news, especially because Tobias kept this from her until now.

On the voyage to Alais, a Chaos Storm attacks the ship. The captain changes course, but with the fate of the Balance in peril, April sabotages their compass with her talisman to resume course. In the middle of the storm, April wants to retrieve the talisman, but is noticed by the captain. He realizes what she has done and prompty locks her Talisman in the deck down below. April tries to retrieve the talisman, which is locked in a chest, with an axe, but ends up sinking the boat.

She wakes up on a wooden debris raft, with only Crow to be found nearby. The rest of the crew had been rescued, but left her to drown as punishment for sabotaging the compass. Just after Crow leaves to search for land, April gets pulled down to the bottom of the ocean by the Maerum (Mermaid-like creatures). Initially there to serve them as a fishing slave, she meets the Maerum queen, recovers her Talisman and uncovers an ancient cave showing the history of the Maerum and Alatian (who are both enemies). The two species are revealed to have the same ancestors and have lived in peace for many years before the war. They used to live together with no problems at all, however now food has become scarce as they both left their initial territory. April shows the Maerum her discovery, which happens to fulfill one of the prophecies of the Waterstiller, some sort of savior for the Maerum. After fulfilling the second prophecy, killing a dangerous Snapjaw, only one prophecy remains: for her to reunite the Maerum and the Alatian. As such, the Maerum take her to Alais.

After searching through ancient ruins, going through large forests and climbing up in trees, she finally arrives at the Alatian village. Learning the four important tales of the Alatian, she manages to get an audience with the Alatian Teller, who is as a Queen her people. She fulfills the prophecies of the Windbringer by flying without wings (with the help of a little magic) and convinces the Alatian Teller to try to make peace with the Maerum. In an abandoned coastal sea cave where both species once lived together, ambassadors from each side (the Teller's guard and the Maerum Queen) brings stones which combine to from the second part of the disc. April then asks the Maerum to take her to their sleeping God. There she meets the Blue Dragon, who gives April one of the Jewels which are to fit into the disc. The Blue then takes her to a ship inhabited by the Dark People, which had set sail for the specific purpose of giving April the third piece of the disc. The Dark People had also searched through their extensive library to locate the position of the Guardian’s Realm entrance. It is revealed to be space and they give her a star map with its location.

Back in Marcuria, the city is abandoned and on the edge of a Tyren invasion. At the Harbor she gets attacked once more by the Chaos Vortex, now even bigger than before. Petrified, she accidentally opens up a shift behind her leading to the Cathedral in Stark. Father Raul reveals he is a Sentinel Minstrum of Stark, and tells her that Cortez has gone missing. April then goes back to the Borderhouse, where Gordon Halloway is waiting for her. Zack has sold April out as revenge for standing him up. April manages to escape, but Emma and Zack get shot as bystanders. April heads for the Fringe Café but Halloway's assistants quickly catch up with her.

Miraculously, a shift appears that leads to a wooden cottage with Lady Alvane. Alvane had opened the shift for her, and tells April she is in neither Arcadia, nor Stark, nor the Guardian’s Realm. She reveals that the Vanguard are holding Adrian captive, and teaches April how to shift at will. Alvane sends April back where she visits Abnaxus, who was expecting her, the Kan-ang-la. His people have been guarding the fourth and final piece of the disc, which he gives to her. At the Enclave, April learns that Tobias has been murdered. There, she unites the four pieces of the disc into one. With the Tyren army having just arrived at Marcuria, the road back to the city is blocked.

April then finally opens a shift by herself and arrives back to the location of the White Kin. The White is dying, with her fight against Chaos taking its toll. She gives April her jewel, reveals herself as April's actual mother, and then dies. April is understandably shocked, not realising that her childhood adoption was quite so significant. The White's egg then hatches a new White Kin, April's 'sister'.

Shifting back to Stark, April gives Flipper the star map for him to decipher. Receiving the fake ID, she goes up to Grendel Avenue. Whilst digging through McAllen’s office, she triggers an alarm and McAllen traps her in the room. He tells her he has Cortez captured, and has the two Stark jewels of the Kin. He plans to place Halloway in the Tower, and reveals the Chaos Vortex is the Arcadian half of Halloway.

Unable to shift out of the building due to magical barriers McAllen had installed, she surrenders the 2 jewels and the disc, which he then stores in a safe. Refusing to tell him where the Guardian’s entrance is, McAllen leaves April alone in room containing a machine that breeds Warrior Shifters. One of them manages to break free and attacks April. She manages to escape out onto a hoverpad high above the city, but is once again trapped. Cortez then appears in the nick of time, having escaped, and kills the monster. McAllen then appears confronting Cortez. It is revealed that they both are the two Stark Kin. Also revealed is that McAllen had created the Vanguard and wanted accelerated reunification so the Kin could be free of humankind, even if this meant an age of Chaos. The two Kin then attack each other but and end up falling off the pad into the city. They transform from their human form into dragons, but it appears they both die.

Retrieving the disc and the 4 jewels, April returns to Flipper. He had attempted to sell April out to Halloway, but had been mortally wounded as 'payment'. Halloway took the deciphered map, but Flipper had managed to make a copy, which he gives to April before dying. The entrance to the Guardian's Realm is near the 'Morning Star', the busiest space station in orbit around Earth, and Halloway was apparently taking Adrian there. At the station, April locates and frees Adrian. Launching themselves from the station in separate maintenance pods, they approach the correct co-ordinates, and Adrian opens up a massive portal. They both enter, and Halloway sneaks in behind them just before the portal closes.

In the Guardian's Realm, April crash-lands alone. Before she can reach the Tower, she must complete 3 trials. On her way to the tower, she encounters the Chaos Vortex once more, this time sealing it into her Talisman. After the first two trials, she manages to summon Crow through a small portal. He then helps her complete the third task but goes missing, so April continues forward. Adrian then appears and lets April inside the Tower. Inside, it is revealed that April is not the next Guardian, but Halloway, who just enters, is. April then reunites Halloway with his other half which was in her Talisman, making him balanced. As April’s job is now complete, she leaves Adrian and Halloway to complete the changing of the guards. Uncertain of her future, April, whose life has completely changed, continues her journey back to the 2 worlds. Crow finally returns to find that April has left.

In the Epilogue, the scene returns to Lady Alvane’s home. She has finished telling April’s story to two teenagers, who look like they are from Arcadia. She reveals that Halloway was the last Guardian and during his reign the two worlds were reunited. When the children leave, Crow enters who is clearly well accustomed with Alvane. They have had a long life together with many great adventures, raising the suspicion that Alvane could be April in the future. He also asks Lady Alvane to recount the tale of the young beautiful "warrior princess" who single-handedly won the war of the balance. Alvane remarks she doesn't remember it quite like that, but the story begins a long time ago, when Stark and Arcadia were still to be united, and the Guardian was still on his throne. It is possible this is a reference to the sequel, Dreamfall.

Characters

  • April Ryan is the young heroine of the game who has artistic aspirations. As a resident of the technology-driven world, Stark, she discovers that she is a Shifter - a person with the power to move between worlds. Her journey begins when she unwittingly transports herself to the magical Arcadia. She is the daughter of the White Dragon, as she herself felt a connection between the two of them and it is confirmed by the White Dragon. Moreover, her Stark parents adopted her. April is prophesied from all four species holding the parts of the disc as being the savior who will restore the balance, only to finally break it. April is voiced by Sarah Hamilton.
  • Crow is a fast-talking, black-feathered bird who endured years of ill-treatment from his alcoholic master who shut him in a trunk before escaping. He becomes April's wisecracking sidekick and friend and is integral to several of the game's challenges. Despite his name (which April gives him), he is not actually a crow and becomes offended when he discovers what crows are in Stark. It is revealed that April named him after Crowboy, a cartoon hero of her childhood. Voiced by Roger Raines.
  • Burns Flipper is an eccentric, foul-mouthed hacker who provides April with invaluable aid. He lost his legs in an accident and uses a floating wheelchair (or "hoverchair") to get around. Flipper sells April out to the Vanguard, but only to save his own life and walk again. Trusting the enemy was a mistake however, and he gets shot. In his last breath, Burns apologises to April and gives her the exact location of the Guardian's Realm before dying. Voiced by Andrew Donnelly.
  • Gordon Halloway is Jacob McAllen's right-hand man, warped by magic and science to become the next Guardian so that the Vanguard may disrupt the Balance. He speaks in a cold and collected tone and has no qualms about committing violence. It is revealed that he was stripped of the emotional part of his soul, which became the Arcadian Chaos Vortex. Voiced by Kevin Merritt.
  • Charlie, Emma, Fiona and Mickey are April's friends and neighbors at the Border House. The game presents a possible attraction between Charlie and April, but it is not explored, and neither is Charlie's character, very much. Fiona and Mickey are a lesbian couple who own and manage the Border House. Emma is April's best female friend and is voiced by Julia K. Murney. Charlie by Mark Anthony Henry, and Fiona by Francesca Longrigg.
  • Zack Lee is a tenant in the Border House who lives across the hall from April. Obnoxious and chauvinistic, he sells April out as revenge after she rejects his advances. The Vanguard soldiers eventually shoot him in front of April, possibly killing him. Voiced by Ron Gallop.
  • Vestrum Tobias is the highest-ranking Sentinel, who teaches April Alltongue, a universal language. He also tells her the story of the two worlds and of the fact that she is the Thirteenth Guardian. Tobias is mysteriously killed during the evacuation of Marcuria. Voiced by Ron Foster.
  • Roper Klacks is an evil alchemist who lives in a floating castle some miles north of Marcuria. He has a tendency to petrify his victims. Voiced by Ralph Byers.
  • Brian Westhouse is originally from Stark who now resides in Marcuria, and had been journeying in the Tibetan winter of 1934. Cortez saved him from near death and took him to a monastery. Although he is a non-shifter, he took part in a ritual that sent him through the divide. His path wasn’t easy and got stuck in the divide for nearly 300 years before reaching Arcadia. Where he went, time doesn’t pass as normal so he didn’t age. He is nicknamed "The Rolling Man" by Marcurians because he rides a bicycle, a vehicle foreign to them. Voiced by Ralph Byers.
  • Adrian is the present Guardian, originally from Stark. He returned there, but was at a loss of what to do as no-one had come to assume his position, and was captured by Halloway. One of April's main objectives is to locate him. He is voiced by Louis Aguirre.
  • Lady Alvane is a mysterious old woman who recounts the story of April's quest. She also appeared inside the story giving asylum to April when she was chased by Vanguard agents. She lives in the House of All Worlds, possibly located between the worlds like the Guardian's Tower, since a Shift can be opened in it.
  • The White Dragon, also known as the White Mother, is a great protector on the side of the Sentinels and the only female Draic Kin. Voiced by Nicole Orth-Pallavicini.
  • Cortez is a peculiar old man who served as April's mentor. She is wary of him at first, but later grows to trust him. Cortez is one of the most enigmatic characters of the game, and his secret is revealed in the epic battle with Jacob McAllen; he is one of the four Draic Kin, the Red Dragon. The truth about their identities out in the open, both of them die by falling off the tower. He is voiced by Louis Aguirre.
  • Jacob McAllen is a wealthy magnate and leader of the Church of Voltec, a powerful Stark cult that is actually a front for the Vanguard. It turns out he is the Green of the Draic Kin, and dreams of uniting the worlds under his rule. McAllen duels Cortez on top of his tower, and both of them end up falling to their death. Voiced by Ralph Byers.
  • The Blue Dragon is the eldest of the Draic Kin. His gigantic form has slumbered at the bottom of the Arcadian ocean for millennia as he awaits the right time to return to the stars from which he came, together with his Alatien (winged folk) and Maerum (mer folk) children.
  • Wick, Woody and Willow are the three Stickmen that April meets on the island of Atlais. Wick is the oldest and the leader of the three, but does nothing but push them around and make them do manual labour. Woody is the youngest of the Stickmen, and according to Wick, "stupid even to Stickman standards"; in April's eyes, however, he appears to be extremely smart. Willow is "in the middle, as always", a grave-voiced and wise Stickman. They serve the Mother Tree, a massive tree they built a strange crossbow-like contraption on. The machine they built is called a Lunar Cannon, capable of "shooting them to the Moon", where they could live better lives.

Note: the actor names above are for the English language version.

Soundtrack

An original soundtrack album has been released and can be downloaded from the Funcom FTP server There are 36 tracks on the web release. The CD can also be ordered from Funcom's store, but this version only contains 30 tracks. There is however one track on the CD that is not available from the website. The order and names are also different.

Reception

The Longest Journey was well received by the gaming press. GameSpot called it "one of the best adventure games in years" and applauded the "complex and interesting story" although found the ending lacking as "the epilogue does little to wrap everything up". IGN said the game "actually reinvents how stories can be told in the medium" and noticed the mature content, including "harsh subject matter, and some big time swearing". Some of the puzzles were described as "inane", but on the whole the game "hones the genre into its tightest, sharpest form yet". The Longest Journey subsequently won the Adventure Game of the Year award by both gaming sites. By mid-2002, the game had sold 450,000 copies.

References

See also

External links

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