Mystery of the Druids
2001 House of Tales/CDV
Mouse driven, 3rd person AdventureDisclaimer
Third person, talk to everyone, detective type of adventure games are my very favorite. Plus, the hottest graphics and fastest or newest whatever’s don’t impress me. I’m an old fashioned story first, all that other stuff second type of gal. So read this review with that thought in mind.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of time” Oops – wrong story – sorry, just watched a rerun of The Golden Girls lol.
Let’s try that again – from the game manual :
“In the year 1000 AD the Druids were facing their toughest test of time. Their numbers had dwindled dramatically through the rise of a new faith. Fearing extinction, the last of the Druids took it upon themselves to transfer their powers of magic and wisdom into five babies in a cruel rite at the megalith circle of Stonehenge. A faction of the Druids feared that the children would not grasp the huge responsibility bestowed upon them by the ritual. With great power and no guidance, the children would grow up to be a threat to mankind. To prevent this, the small faction abdicated from the ritual, and so it remained incomplete. The children, borne from the Druid’s sacrificial act, grew up and became powerful figures in society. The secret existence of the Druid Circle was guaranteed, but missing were the powers of the apathetic Druids of the past.”
You play a Scotland Yard detective named Brent Halligan – (who reminded me a lot of Peter Falk in Colombo -I think it was the trench coat). You have just been handed a murder investigation (called the Skeleton Murders) by your chief who is less than enthralled with you but seems to have no choice since his other investigator has bungled the case by arresting and jailing the wrong man. Your chief is pretty convinced the wrong man was arrested because bodies keep turning up and the MO is identical to the earlier murders. So begins your journey both in the Present (finding the ones responsible for the murders) and the Past (trying to prevent them from happening in the first place). Along the way you learn about an ancient religious sect known as The Druids. You are helped in your investigation by a well known expert on druids, one Arthur Blake and an anthropologist, Dr. Melanie Turner.
The game comes on 3 CD’s. One disk for installing, one for The Present and the third for the Past. You only swap disks when you change times – the game starts from whatever disk you are on. There also is a map feature that once a location has been triggered all you do is click on the location you want to go to and in a blink of an eye (or a ferryboat ride) you’re there.
Some puzzles are logical and some are a bit of a stretch. There are also a few of the “try everything in inventory to see if it works” type. But for the most part, if you pay attention to your surroundings and pick up on the clues from the people you talk to, you can generally figure out what you need to do. Except for the tile puzzle in the basement near the end of the game. If there was a clue on how to figure that one out it went completely over my head. I solved it by trial and error and about two hours of tile shuffling and muttering bad words at my monitor. And then there’s the maze, a miserable, multi-tiered maze. And what’s worse (as if that alone wasn’t enough) if you go back through the same door you came out of, guess what? You wind up in a different location. There is no way to back track on this baby. So my suggestion would be to just pull out a wt and cheat, that is unless you’re a masochist or just really love the challenge of a good maze (I am neither type, thank you very much).
The only major gripe I had were the few times that I knew I had the right inventory item chosen but because I didn’t click exactly on the correct pixeled hot spot it wouldn’t work. I spent a lot of time going back through inventory items trying everything only to have the first thing I tried work because this time I clicked in the right location. There are also a few gruesome scenes but nothing you haven’t seen on say Buffy the Vampire Killer. It was more of an “oh, yuck” rather than a “well, this is disgusting” type of thing.
I came across no bugs - not one - game installed and run beautifully on my computer.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the game and it gets a big thumbs up from me (big surprise huh?)– it had a very satisfying ending – and i was sad to see it end -
Here’s hoping House of Tales is successful in their next sojourn.
32 MB ram
2MB VGA video card (with or without 3D support)
16 bit sound card
3D accelerator card