One more game that sat on the shelf for months ignored finally getting attention. Chronicles of Mystery the Scorpio Ritual is another offering from City Interactive. They are the largest Polish video game developer producing PC and console games, including Nintendo Dual Screen titles. City was created in 2002 with studios in Rzeszów and Katowice City Interactive employs nearly 150 employees. It seems Adventure games have been more and more relegated to small niche companies as the giants flee toward high profit higher priced and high volume genres.
The Scorpio Ritual was released over a year ago and the second installment is already in stores. Because of that anyone who would be interested most likely has already experienced it. For those of you who have not perhaps this short review will be useful. I mentioned the publisher up top because it is becoming more apparent future Adventure games will be produced from small shops like this. The mechanics of the game much like their other popular releases, the Art of Murder series now in its third installment, are consistent with smooth running operations. No glitches, good graphics and surprisingly very good voice acting. Considering their Eastern European base the English translation is exceptionally good.
Scorpio's story is a good one though rather thin in regard to character and story development. Some of the dialog lines are rather weak, but for a budget priced game we are not expecting John Grisham. The main character, Sylvie Leroux is quite similar to Nicole Bonet of Art of Murder fame. Though I think I prefer Nicole, Sophie is quite well done. To sum up the plot, you play Sophie who has returned to her uncle's house in Malta to find he has gone missing. Uncle is an archeologist who was recently dismissed from his research dig. You are now tasked to search for uncle and prove he did not walk off with the artifacts. In doing so you wander off to the Vatican, Turkey, uncle's home in Malta and the dig on a nearby island.
As in Art of Murder the game plays with a well paced dialog, not too much talking, but enough to advance the story and thankfully there is minimal backtracking. It is also a linear game in regard to completing all task in a scene before allowing you to wander off. There are many items to explore though most will give you a simple one line explanation of what the object or scene is that you are looking at. The puzzles are your standard mix and match inventory items to interact with on screen items. There are no mazes, sliders, music puzzles and no instant death. Action scenes are produced by cut scenes.
The chief complaint of this game mirrors other City offerings to date. That is they are quite short. I'd guess ten hours at most if you poke through it. Cut your time by a third if you use a walk through. On balance when you consider Scorpio, like its sister games is solid, free of frustration and technical glitches there is little to complain about. When measured against its low new game list price the cost is about two dollars an hour for a decent escape. I would encourage you to support City's efforts as they are consistently developing quality games at a reasonable price. Considering the high failure rate for Adventure game companies they seem to be doing it right and I wish them success.
I direct you to flotsam's review here on the Boomers site as there is little to disagree in the well done write up.
Edited by oldmariner (02/06/10 02:41 AM)