I had a search around for Last Express reviews and eventually found just this one, hidden in the bit at the back with all the games that didn’t warrant full reviews. Couldn’t even find another magazine that covered it. I really like Last Express – it’s got a unique atmosphere to it that really sucks you in to the time period. The way multiple events are happening at once is highly unusual in adventure games and would usually be to their detriment but it somehow pulls it off. It deserved better if you ask me but at least the one review it got is reasonably positive.
Seeing LE back in the day I thought the art was kind of lazy, yet playing many years later I’ve flipped. Now I think the graphics were actually really clever, if experimental. They basically painted over filmed actors and then had to align it to the rendered backgrounds.
Rotoscoping has its own charm, and is used in modern projects like the TV series Undone. It’s also a massive undertaking- the whole thing has to be shot on film and then painstakingly painted frame by frame. According to the gamasutra article above, it cost 5 million, which would be an astronomical budget in 1997!
I was a fan of adventure games back when it came out, but somehow missed it. I later bought it in college, when I heard about it online as a “great adventure game from the 90s” and bought a used copy of it off ebay. It’s a very unusual, innovative game, and quite a classic.