Let me get this straight; a game that has innovation, extreme evilness and an abundance of humor all in one package? I’m trying not to hyperventilate! I tend to find that those publishers who dare to be unique in the adventure genre turn out games that are greatly entertaining. Let’s take a look at what Ceville really has to offer.
Ceville is an adventure game played in a 3-D environment and in a fantasy medieval-type setting, which also has the Internet (of course). The star of the game is Ceville, an evil dictator of Faeryanis who is facing a raging mob outside of his castle and who can no longer rely on his soldiers to protect him. The mob has been orchestrated by his assistant and now — arch-nemesis, Basilius, who is planning to take the kingdom over for himself and be slightly more evil than even Ceville! We MUST stop this!
Through most of the game, you’ll be able to play as Ceville, though after a short time, you’ll be joined by a young girl named Lily (who is not a kid). Eventually you’ll also be joined by Ambrosius, a pompous hero ... er, paladin. Actually, he is just a fool with a +3 sword for demon-slaying. Often you’ll control multiple characters at once or switch between different characters in different locations and work together to achieve the same goal.
Like most adventure games, you pick up items you find and examine them and other objects around the area to help figure out ways to get what you need. Unlike a lot of other adventure games, the world of Ceville is 3-D, making the angles sometimes a little difficult to see what you need. Luckily, pressing the space bar will show you all the items on the screen, so you can adjust your angle to grab what you want.
Ceville’s best feature is its story and characters. All the characters have their own personalities, and it makes them all very memorable, even when you ... er, I mean, Ceville, gets them sent to jail. Ceville is hysterically evil and has no problems in the slightest destroying or harming someone else for his amusement or advancement. On the other hand, Lily is a sweetheart who only wants to help, so you often have to use Ceville to accomplish one task while Lily innocently distracts someone. Some of the more memorable secondary characters are a trio of supervillains (I mean ... reformed supervillains), the world’s worst actress and the infamous Dr. C. The entire story is filled with current cultural references and silly plot twists that make the experience of playing a joy. I found myself chuckling for hours on end!
The puzzles in Ceville are well-thought out in terms of logic and story as well as just being plain funny. There was no point when I was faced with a puzzle that was illogical, and that is rare for an adventure game nowadays. There are some puzzles that are timed, some that use a very unique multiple character collaboration system, and did I mention that most are hilarious? Although there are no complex or difficult puzzles in Ceville, there does tend to be a lot of twists and changes in direction in the game. You’ll often have an obvious goal you are working toward when something humorous (and it often ends up being Ambrosius screwing things up) will happen that completely changes everything you’ve been working for.
The graphics in Ceville are cartoonish, which fits perfectly with the game and story. The voice acting and script are surprisingly good; you would never guess this was made in Germany. Ceville sounds devilishly evil, Lily is energetic and perky, and all the secondary characters feel very right. My rule of thumb for videogame voice acting is that if I don’t notice how bad it is, then it is good; and if the acting is actually entertaining, it is just wonderful. Bravo to Ceville for accomplishing the rare feat of good voice acting in a game!
Ceville has a certain atmosphere not often felt in adventure games: In a genre in which players are used to static scenes and 2-D worlds, Ceville provides a 3-D, colorful world full of life and movement. The use of multiple characters and personalities — and excessive humor — livens it up that much further. Although it is a bit on the short side (less than eight hours), Ceville still manages to impress me thoroughly. The game was so well-polished and such a joy to play that it would easily rank in my top five modern adventure games. Besides, if you don’t pick up Ceville, there will be three reformed supervillains needing to turn back to their evil ways so they can make a living, and we wouldn’t want that, would we? Actually, that’d be pretty cool, but still ... it’s a fantastic game you won’t regret playing. In the words of Ambrosius: “Yippie yi-yay, motherclucker!”