Despite my fondness for the adventure games of yore, it appears the days of puzzles in narrative games have come and gone. Puzzles - especially the serial unlocking variety found in the old LucasArts games - seem to have become a relic of a bygone era. Where they once provided a necessary ludic element to a clever and often complex narrative - designed to add challenge and force the player to earn his progress through the story - few modern players have the patience for such challenges anymore .... Combat has replaced puzzles as the progress-impeding mechanic du jour for modern gamers, and fast-paced action, quick reflexes, and gamepad dexterity are the premium skills. To be sure, games like SOCOM and Call of Duty also require strategic thinking, and online multiplayer often requires fine tactical thinking and cooperation. But puzzles - the kind you study for awhile, scratch your head about, and maybe even mull over in your sleep - have largely disappeared from narrative games.