Hal Barwood, former Lucasarts alumni responsible for titles such as Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, has teamed up with Noah Falstein on “Mata Hari”, a new adventure title that crafts the life of the infamous WW1 femme fatale from one of tragedy into that of a super-spy. Historically, Mata Hari was not that much of a spy. A Dutch national by the name of Gertrude Zeller, she attained her mystique and stage name in Paris as a risque dancer whose exotic illusions garnered her both attentions both onstage and off. Unfortunately, in a daring attempt to serve France, she was duped by the German officer she hoped to spy on. He figured out what she was, fed the French false information in an ironic bit of subterfuge. The French bought the bogus information and she was subsequently arrested and executed.
Although her real-life career ended on a rather poor note, the concept of a seductive agent using her feminine wiles to weasel closely held secrets from whoever she directed them at made her a legend with countless fictional accounts making the rounds from pulp to film…even gaming. Big Fish Games offers a “try before you buy” option for Secret Missions: Mata Hari and the Kaiser’s Submarines where you play the dancer-turned-spy in another fictional adventure where you must discover a secret German submarine base using various disguises while cracking codes, playing cards, and tricking your victims.
Hal Barwood and Noah Falstein’s new title will also bend history and that of those her own, real-life, story has made acquaintances with in delivering an adventure game promising to promote a new game language by immersing the player into its world. There are also going to be mini-games scattered throughout the title that will allow the player to express themselves as a spy, but also to earn money as a dancer by following the beat of the music. I’m not sure how this last part is going to work, it sounds like of like Guitar Hero for dancers, but it could be a fun method to keep the flow of the game exciting by offering a break from the usual puzzles.
I’m pretty excited for this as an adventure gaming fan, but seeing Barwood and Falstein back in the game, so to speak, is just as good a reason as any to get this into my hands. It’s initially coming out in Germany first, but I hope it won’t take the game long to find a publisher for North America.
You can catch Hal Barwood’s interview at Adventure Classic Gaming where he lays it all out from game theory to the Crystal Skull. You can also check out the official site of the game to get an idea of what it’s going to offer.