Favourite Moments in Fiction #15 – The Ferris Wheel Chase (Professor Layton and the Curious Village)

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Professor Layton and the Curious Village

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Following on from last week’s VG Music Pick, let’s take a quick look at what could be argued as being one of the most iconic scenes from the first Professor Layton game. Hell, you could probably make an argument that it’s one of the most iconic scenes in the franchise and helped set an example for how action scenes in the series worked.

Looking at the Layton games, you wouldn’t really expect them to have any sort of action. Even more so when you’re playing the first game. Despite the bizarre and mysterious circumstances of the situation (and one character seemingly murdered, albeit quite cleanly), the game still maintains a serene, calming tone and when it breaks, it’s not super dramatic but more quizzical. It’s not meant to excite or scare you but make you put a finger to your chin and wonder “Well, what’s going on over here?”

The Ferris wheel scene changes that. Everything’s all nice and calm at first but then, almost out of nowhere, this rickety, abandoned Ferris wheel comes of its hinges and chases down Layton and Luke. And I don’t mean in an “Prometheus School of Running Away from Things” way where Layton and Luke don’t just simply move out of its way – it deliberately chases them down. Nowadays, the series is known for its rather off-the-wall moments and this is probably the first one. It’s sheer madness and such an intense deviation from the rest of the game so far, culminating in Layton successfully saving himself and Luke from being crushed to death, which quickly highlights his own selflessness and willingness to do what it takes to keep Luke safe.

It may be rather short and later action set-pieces in other games are more extravagant and thrilling, but this one was the first so it deserves to be remembered for its simplicity and paving the way for those later scenes.

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