Covert Front 3: Night in Zurich
For many, the spy is a romantic ideal. The femme fatale in a trench coat, seducing with a smile and vanishing with the dawn, the only evidence of her passing some missing documents... or the surfacing of an incriminating photograph sometime later. M-24-7-69, alias Kara, leads a life less glamorous. For some time now, she's been on the trail of Karl van Toten, and she spends more time watching her back in seedy alleyways than sipping martinis in a smoky bar. And now she's drawing closer in Covert Front Episode 3: Night in Zurich, another gorgeous point-and-click adventure from Karol Konwerski, Mateusz Skutinik, and the fine folks at Pastel Games.
If you're unfamiliar with the first two installments in the Covert Front series, this third episode is likely going to confuse and mystify you. While early on Kara receives the documents and photos she acquired in episodes one and two, they're still not going to do a whole lot to enlighten you except in the most basic, "This guy bad. We chase him." sort of way. Which admittedly may be good enough for some people who only want to do the whole "spy thing" and look mysterious, but others may benefit from playing the others first.
Navigation remains simple. Use your mouse to interact with the scene, clicking on an area when the icon changes to a hand to indicate you can do something there. Some scenes are wide, and can be scrolled through by moving the cursor to either side of the play screen. Kara's inventory can be accessed by clicking the small letter "i" in the bottom right of the screen, and clicking on an item will either activate it, or ready it for use.
Play the entire Covert Front series:
So is it difficult? Fairly. There's no hand-holding in Covert Front, and many of the puzzles require a lot of thinking on your feet. Some of them can look downright mean spirited at first encounter, but the real beauty of the game is that as in any good mystery, the clues are always there for you if you know where to look. Instead of forcing you to tramp back and forth over areas, picking up a lot of useless junk and trying to combine it to create whatever mystical MacGuffin the situation demands, you'll spend a lot of time using your brain, which is a very welcome change for the genre.
A lot of the game revolves around figuring out how to get Kara's next set of orders, and here the thought and planning put into the tasks really shines. There are codes to be found, buildings to be snuck into, secret numbers to call, and more. The game automatically saves your progress, so you can pick it up whenever you like if you need to take a break and go back to your boring civilian life. Just don't blame us if you find yourself scrutinizing the ingredients in your Cheerios for hidden messages. And... you probably shouldn't tell anyone if you do that either because they'll probably think you're crazy. But not us. We understand you.
... that's comforting, right?
Analysis: It's been two years since we last saw our favourite spy, and fans of the series will be glad to know she's held up well, minus a lot of hair. Perhaps better even than the previous installments, Night in Zurich absolutely nails the atmosphere of danger and intrigue so essential to old spy tales. Mateusz's signature art style captures with aplomb the look and feel of a setting fraught with suspicion, and even the puzzles only serve to further set the mood. To succeed you'll literally have to think like a spy and search for hidden meaning in everything. Is that train schedule really as innocuous as it seems? What about the Bible on the bedspread? Just remember to watch your back while you're nosing around for clues.
But you should probably keep an eye out for hotspots, too, since the game seems to take delight into tucking them into odd places. It's never exactly pixel hunting per se, but there were times when I stumbled across entirely new screens after frustratingly searching the same areas over and over because the transition point was tucked in at an odd angle. There are also a lot of screens that have absolutely nothing to do with advancing the game, so you can waste time trying to find a secret that simply isn't there. These things make the game feel less tight than it should be.
Sound is an aspect that can make or break a game, and for the most part, Covert Front is easy on the ears. The voice acting is a nice touch, if a little uninspired, but really isn't needed for the amount of dialogue in the game. By contrast, the music by Brian Wohlgemuth is always perfectly chosen for every scene, and even areas that are only peppered with sound effects are incredibly atmospheric.
Covert Front isn't just a great point-and-click adventure. It's a great story, rife with missing agents, espionage, secret mechanisms, and all the things that make spy drama great. Fans of the series won't be disappointed, and while newcomers might find the occasionally brain-burning puzzles a bit daunting, anyone with a taste for mystery will find a lot to like here. While I hope we don't have to wait as long for the next offering from the developers, if two years is what it takes to make something this good, then it's time well spent.
Play Covert Front 3: Night in Zurich
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Covert Front 3 Walkthrough
Look left, and click on the man at the bench.
Pick up and open the newspaper he drops. Pick up the pile of papers and the wallet. The papers contain a letter. Read the letter and notice in the message the characters "CII".
Think Roman numerals and decode this for later, you will need it.
Go to the right and enter the station.
Once in the station go to the left and find a ticket window, it doesn't matter which ticket you buy.
Look at the schedule on the left. Note the time for Wien, you'll need that code later.
Go to backwards, and then to the right, and right again.
Go through the door, and then to the right. Look on the right of the room for a wall of lockers.
Open the locker using the number from the letter as the locker number, and the time for Wien as the code for the locker.
Locker 102, code 2340
Get all the items from the locker.
Go back to where you bought the ticket, and use the window on the left, buy a swiss army knife.
Go back one screen and go in the left entrance, to the restaurant.
Go in the bathroom at the back, and enter the right stall.
Use the swiss army knife on the screws, and exit through the window.
Enter the hotel, and talk to the manager. Purchase key 14.
Go upstairs and enter room 14.
Open the bible and flip through the pages until you get the document.
Go to the phone and put the receiver on the table.
Enter the number you got from the bible, should be page 14 of your documents.
Open the wardrobe and enter the secret room.
Collect the lever from the cardboard box, and a key from the drawer on the right.
Use the lever and the key on the panel next to the door behind you. turn them so both lights are lit.
turn left and zoom in on the machine. Enter the your ID, found on the first letter you collected.
Zoom out and click the main button on the machine.
Collect the document.
Exit to hotel and head to "Old Town"
Zoom in on the door on the left wall. Use the newspaper to break the window.
Enter the door, and go right. Go to the door thats straight ahead.
click on the railing to open it.
Open the desk and get the key out of it. Then use the machine on the desk and enter 32158, and get the paper that prints out.
Go to the main hall in the right, with the star on the floor.
Enter the middle room and use your key to open the gate.
look for the N, cabinet, and then the E drawer, and get the card that prints out.
Go back out and enter the door on the left, put the card in the machine, and use the button.
Once the machine delivers the book, open it and get the photo inside.
Look at the photo.
Go back to the hall, and enter the door on the right.
Use the lever labeled Zurichsee Zeitung
Click the newspapers that come down, and then look at the paper that drops. Examine the picture, you will get a cutscene.
Go back to the main hall and click on the star on the floor.
Talk to the guard.
Turn right and then zoom in on the bed. Get the four metal rods from the bed.
Use the rusted first rod to help get the others.
Grab the note off the windowsill.
Turn to the right and hide the four rods in the cracks in the wall, and climb up as you do. The cracks are where the red spots are. You will have to zoom in on them.
click on the house twice. and climb up the right gutter.
Inside use both the switches.
Go back outside, and go to the plane. Take out the blocks by the wheels.
Enter the plane, and click the lever on the right of the panel.
Go back out of the plane and turn the propeller just behind the wings.
Enter the plane and fly away!
Posted by: Kero | July 17, 2009 1:57 AM
It is twilight as the train pulls into Zürich. I passed the time nursing a drink, reading, watching the countryside, but my mind is not at ease. I narrowly escaped the Von Toten residence, and it seems headquarters is as alarmed by his scientific research as I was. If his research succeeds, this brutal war could become unimaginable.
Here I am at the platform. Surely my superiors would not send me to a new city without any resources.
There should be a contact waiting for me.
Perhaps if I ask this fellow for his newspaper...
I wait for a discreet moment to slip the contents into my pockets. The money I leave alone; I can count that by feel, a generous 50 Franks.
my initial orders. As always, too many words for too little information. The Germans are searching for Von Toten, which could mean any number of things. None of them are good. Well, it seems I am searching for the man and his watchers. A dangerous mission in a dangerous occupation. Headquarters has left more support in a locker, as well as some cues. Sloppy, in my opinion.
The last is the cue I am looking for. Vienna train. CII.
Now to explore the station.
I was on Platform One. To my right is the departure lounge. It seems
I cannot enter it without a ticket.
To the left, two arches greet me. The right arch, furthest from me, leads into the grand hall. Not many travelers tonight. I am sure it was different before the war. Casually I make my way to the customer windows.
The souvenir shop is unattended. A coffee break, it seems. The ticket office has a more diligent girl. Wired into the central system, and yet they still need a live girl to handle the money. I consider the tickets before me.
I do not want to cause a scene with the lounge attendant.
So I'll buy a ticket to anywhere. A cheap one. Perhaps I will have money left over for something to eat.
A little coffee sounds good, actually. I know a good place in the Old Town. It has been years... perhaps the fighting has not shut it down. I make my way to the grandly lit entrance to the right.
I take a step out... and stop. I scan the street, the houses, the rooftops. Though the lamps are very bright, I make out a suspicious shadow. Yes. Someone is watching me. Very carefully I retreat into the station. It is likely safest there in public.
At the end of the grand hall, I act naturally, my gaze drawn to
the giant timetable. Aha.
It's in German, but my mind automatically translates.
Warsaw, Cologne, Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Krakow, Innsbruck, Wrocław.
So I make note of the time of the Vienna train.
Wien in the native German.
No doubt an agent checked the times for my exact arrival. Chancy but it narrows the window for infiltration.
Now with free rein to wander the lounge, I walk past the great windows to
the locker room. I mislike those great windows, especially at night, but I keep calm. I examine the bank of lockers, aware of the attendant and the guard behind me. A modern system of course. I need
a locker number and a combination.
The locker numbers are one to three digits, so it cannot be the
Vienna train's time
that I noted before. So it must be the
Roman numerals in my orders.
That leaves the locker combination as the four digit
I collect the items and leave.
I quench my thirst at the small cafe through the left arch.
The photographs are mostly familiar, since I took them at the Von Toten mansion. The analysts at headquarters have extracted the research as well as some possible persons of interest. My escape that time was quite narrow.
The documents are more telling. Mentions of Manfred, Von Toten's supposed butler. The Kaisar Institute, where many of the great minds of the continent are developing new scientific concepts. A love letter; quite poignant. A special type of helium.
At last we have the rendezvous point.
Hotel Allstadt, Thyrmand Strasse 6. Room 13. That is not far from here.
I have to reconsider my strategy.
I need to find another way out of the station to make my rendezvous.
In the back of the cafe, I make a trip to the water closet. I catch of glimpse of myself in the mirror. I am tired, but determined. I check the stalls out of habit...
And there it is, above my head. A window. It is blocked, however. I will have to be quick. Unfortunately I was searched at the border, so I have no
I consider a dozen different possibilities, including asking someone for a tool. I cannot involve anyone else... I pace through the station, thinking.
Back in the great hall, I see that
the souvenir shop is open.
She is selling postcards... and Swiss Army knives.
From there on, it is quick work.
I return to the stall, unscrew the panel with my new knife. It takes a terribly long time. I keep hoping no one will come in and see me.
Finally the last screw is out. It will be a tight fit, but I toss my bag out the window and then squeeze through. A light landing, a check of the back alley, and I have escaped my watchers.
I wonder who is after me this time.
A nice little hotel around the corner from the train station and the Old Town. A good place for a safehouse. The lobby is modest. There's a little restaurant, but I ate at the cafe and there is little time for a full meal.
I approach the proprietor and request
room number 13.
Then he tells me that the room does not exist.
I admit that I gape at him for a moment. He is either trying to deceive me or headquarters has become creative. At a loss, I ask for Room 12.
In the hallway, I note that there used to be a Room 13. It has simply been wallpapered over. So
access must be from an adjoining room.
I unlock the door and look around the nicely appointed room. Cozy. I check the wardrobe, the sink, the bible on the desk, the telephone... However the
portrait of Darwin does not seem to be in any way unusual. Hmmm.
What about Room 14?
I go downstairs and, trying not to feel foolish, I ask to switch rooms.
A portrait of Einstein greets me over the bed. It's the same layout, except with the sink and telephone switched. Some things are in odd places. An obvious arrangement, but clever if you don't know what to look for.
First I check the Bible on the bed. Not its usual spot.
A few page turns, and I have a code.
Where to enter the code?
There's the telephone. It's a classic rotary model, but wired up thoroughly. I take the receiver off (click and drag to the right).
Once I dial the code, I hear something from
Room 13 is
clearly for a long-term operation. There is a map of The Old Town
with the library marked;
a small desk with drawers; a cardboard box; cleaning equipment; a bed.
In the box I find a lever with a small triangle hole.
In the drawer in the desk, there is a small key.
I am a little disturbed that the table is set, as though for a meal. The autobiography of Mata Hari sits on the bed.
To the right, against the hallway wall, is the secure communication console. I have
memorized my codename; besides, it's listed on every document from headquarters.
However, if I follow the wires...
the power supply is controlled by the breaker by the wardrobe entrance.
The triangle bit is for
the lever. I pull the lever down.
The round hole is for
Now I can activate the console.
Here come my orders. Perfect.
The agent here is missing. "I've found them"? Never mind Von Toten, my priority is retrieving our agent before his codes and procedures are compromised. I must be on the lookout for hostile agents. Now I must head to the library. I consult the
map and make my way to the Old Town.
I hurry out into the night, hoping the proprietor does not find this suspicious.
Zurich Hauptbibliothek. The building is imposing... what I am searching for is an entrance.
I check the main doors in front of me, likely with elaborate locks... the wooden door to the left... and the side door on the right.
The last has a window.
However, I must be stealthy. That means I need something to baffle the noise of breaking glass.
Fortunately I still have the newspaper.
I place it over the pane and punch through, unlocking the door.
The hallway is dark. This must be the employees' entrance.
The room in front
is full of chairs.
is up the stairs to my left. It's locked, with janitorial supplies beside it.
is a map room.
has a lot of boxes and an old desk with lots of drawers.
The room at the end
opens up into the library proper. It's an office overlooking the stacks.
A simple railing is between me and the desk.
I unlock the bolt and step inside.
On the desk is a book of borrowers. Naturally our agent had a library ID.
I double-check my orders before entering his library ID into the machine. It seems they read a biography... and returned it to the library. That seems like a promising lead.
I make my way to the end of the hall, into the large gallery. Another one of those huge windows. Moonlight spills over the mosaic floor. I check the upper gallery, then consider the three arched thresholds.
I unlatch the railing and consider the elaborate contraption before me. The control panel has an alcove for the arm of a large rotating machine in the middle of the stacks. There's a slot for some sort of paper.
They seem to be maintaining an old fashioned card catalog. However the cage is locked.
A more modern indexing system keeps the newspapers in order. A console in the middle of the reading room lowers the newspapers from their racks.
Who would have the key
to the catalogue room?
I return to the office overlooking the stacks. Aha.
There is a key in the drawer.
I return to the catalogue room
and unlock the cage. Inside, there are several card catalogue bureaus arranged alphabetically. I check the author's name, and I check the title.
There is nothing in the 'P' section, so I check the 'N' section. Sure enough, the 'NE' drawer has the punchcard I'm looking for.
A punchcard is an input for the new computing machines.
I return to the books room and the control console for the giant rotating arm.
The punchcard fits into the slot nicely. (Watch that the cursor doesn't exit the room.)
The arm retrieves the book automatically, and I take it from the slot. Of course, I wonder how many librarians have been replaced by this contraption.
has an interesting design on its cover. I page through it, looking for a message, as is one of our standard methods for communication. Sure enough
a photograph falls out. It is of a conference, and taken right outside this very building. The agent has hastily scribbled the following:
Zurichsee Zeitung 13/86.
What's more, he has circled a face... is that Von Toten?
I return to the
newspaper room. The console shows
Zurichsee Zeitung, and I pull the corresponding slide. The newspaper rack lowers from the ceiling.
I sit down to read.
I scan through (mouse-over). The article is about a mysterious conference in May, organized by the Newton and inviting all the great scientific minds. And there is Von Toten. I hope I can catch him with my camera...
I examine the photograph more closely.
And then more closely still. I think I've seen this symbol before.
Excited, I make my way to the
mosaic in the middle of the gallery.
This pattern? What does it mean?
Unfortunately for the guard trying to sneak up on me, I hear him coming. I quickly take him out, but the others are too quick for me. Ah!! My vision goes black for a second, and before I know it, I am surrounded.
The man in charge approaches, loathing in his eyes. I do not recognize him, but when he says his name is Manfred Nikolai, I realize: he was Von Toten's butler. The one they suspected.
Then they pull a sack over my head and all is dark.
I come to in a small cell. All of my things have been confiscated; headquarters will have to change the codes now, even if I manage not to talk. Manfred is there with his cohort, watching me. Belatedly it alarms me that he knows my codename.
He reveals to me that he is the chief of the Kaiser's intelligence service. I school my face to show little surprise. Naturally, he wants something... apparently an organization has taken Von Toten, and Manfred wants to know where. I scowl at him. I know it will make me less valuable to Manfred, but I admit I don't know.
Then he tells me that Von Toten is in Lisbon. Immediately my mind whirls. How can I fulfill my mission now? What's more, Manfred is clearly mad with power. Even if Von Toten's work is the key to rule the world, to use the Kaiser's own intelligence agency in order to grab it is madness.
At last they leave. I look around my cell. The moonlight through the window is comforting; I am not in an interior cell. There is
a bucket in the corner, and my bed.
The bed has a rusty bar. I begin to loosen it. It's making such a racket! Then a sound startles me...
it's someone slipping a note through the bars of my window. Leave immediately, it says. We have an agent in the prison, but I can't blow his cover. I can only hope he is aiding our missing agent... if indeed the agent is here. Fortunately there's a plane waiting for me in the airfield.
But first I must escape. There are no guards around...
I finish loosening the bar and examine it. I sit on the bed... I do not want to be stuck here forever, counting the cracks on the wall where the facade shows the original brick and mortar.
Wait. The cracks. I have an idea. Carefully I tap the bar into one of the cracks. It goes in easily! There are
four cracks, two of them up near the ceiling, in a blind spot of the cell.
However I only have one bar.
I return to the bed and use my one bar to loosen the other bars. It's making quite a din, which tells me this is indeed a good idea: the guards are too far away to pickpocket or otherwise suborn. This is the easiest way to lure them into the cell. My time is short. That plane will not be ready forever.
If I escape, I must escape tonight.
I insert the bars into all the cracks...
drop my coat, and climb them like a ladder. In the dimness, no one will notice the bars. They *will* notice my supposed absence. (Click on the space between the two top bars.)
Then I wait. Soon I hear the sound of footsteps, regular as a metronome. Then he stops. I can almost see his shocked face. His keys jingle... exactly as I planned. I tense and wait for him to enter. All he sees is my coat, and he bends over.
He's probably one who beat me up earlier. I give as good as I get.
My escape is quick and easy. Now off to escape this compound, and on to Lisbon.
The airfield does indeed have a plane ready. I hope it has enough fuel for Lisbon, though I will settle for enough to leave the country. I must get it ready for flight.
It's night time,
so I must light up the runway. I can't see where it ends. I check the control tower... nothing wrong with the powerlines supplying it. It's a moot point if I can't get inside, though. The door is locked and the first floor window is bolted shut.
A second-floor window ajar.
I scale the gutter and enter the room. (Be careful of clicking the exit.) Once inside, I throw the switches.
I examine the plane. I have to work quickly. They'll be looking for me, and it's almost morning.
I look at the wheels and
remove the blocks.
I check the cockpit
and activate the fuel switch.
Then the engine.
(Center of the plane) I spin the propeller and the engine starts with a comforting purr.
I hop in the cockpit and
(Front, just by the end of the top wing) grab hold of the stick.
At last I take off into the rosy dawn of the skies over Zürich.
"remove the blocks" /spoiler, there should be I check the cockpit _spoiler_ and activate the fuel switch. _/spoiler_
Posted by: Shudog | July 18, 2009 12:53 AM