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#88058 - 04/06/02 04:46 PM Review of the Cameron Files: Secret at Loch Ness
Bruce Fielder Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 11/27/01
Posts: 638
Loc: Amarillo, TX USA
Distributed by Dreamcatcher Games for Windows 95/98/ME/XP OS. Two CD's; Rated E for Everyone with warnings of mild language and mild violence (very mild in my opinion). It played without any glitches on my Win2000 Professional OS.

As Alan P. Cameron, the American relative of the Cameron clan and a Private Investigator to boot, you receive a telegram asking your help in solving the mysterious disappearance of Lord McFarley from his estate, Devil's Ridge Manor in Loch Ness, Scotland. There are also ". . . strange supernatural phenomena . . ." that must be explored and explained. Even the famous monster of the loch, "Nessie", comes into play at the very end!

I found this game to be most enjoyable. There is a very good initial cut scene that establishes the story line and the overall 1930's ambience right off the bat. The game gets going very quickly upon your arrival at the manor and takes place over 3 "days" in a linear fashion. This means that you can explore in a total 360 degree fashion all of your surroundings, but you must complete tasks and solve things in a certain order before you can advance to the next day.

You get to interact in a limited fashion with the other characters in the story. There is pre-set dialogue that occurs when you initiate the interaction but the dialogue serves only to advance the game and is not a Q&A series.

The graphics and sound are top notch and really work well in providing the total immersion experience that we all look for in these adventures. The rooms of the manor are done in exquisite detail and are pleasing to look at - - -a strong plus because you do spend a lot of time exploring the entire manor's interior. Trap doors, hidden offices and laboratories are all done up very well. The "human" characters are drawn well and the voice overs are exceptionally done. The main story line, while technologically far-fetched, holds up throughout the game. The exterior scenes and sets are excellently drawn as well.

The puzzles and tasks you must solve are not too difficult. There are 3 or 4 timed puzzles that occur but only one is almost too short in the time allotted to solve it (it involves a quick drawing & firing of a pistol). There is a tricky maze-like trek you must make underwater in the loch that is timed. This was the only difficult part to me but the excellent screen shots in the WT located on this site got me through it. I believe the novice adventure game player would find some of the tasks challenging but experienced gamers will not have any difficulty in getting them done. One helpful item is Cameron's notebook. You refer to it throughout the game and it helps to point you in the direction of your next move. I found the playing time to be shorter than I expected but not as short as Amerzone. I finished it in just two days with numerous breaks.

Overall, I found The Cameron Files to be a very pleasant game: not too intense, good story line, graphics, characters & sound. I understand Dreamcatcher is planning a second game for Alan Cameron; if it is done as well as this first one, I know I'll enjoy it as well. smile
_________________________
Live by the Golden Rule at all times.

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#88059 - 04/06/02 08:53 PM Re: Review of the Cameron Files: Secret at Loch Ness
Mad Offline
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 23303
Loc: United Kingdom
Hi.

Great review laugh

And nice to hear there might be another game <img border="0" title="" alt="[Cool]" src="cool.gif" />

Would go down very well with me if this was just the "start" of a whole series happydance

Cheers.

Mad wave
_________________________
Time : The Most Precious Commodity

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#88060 - 04/20/02 10:13 PM Re: Review of the Cameron Files: Secret at Loch Ness
Bryansmom Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 02/18/02
Posts: 1522
Loc: Indiana
I'm glad a lot of people enjoyed this game. I wish I could say the same. Normally, I will bend over backwards to give any adventure game (especially a point and click, explore everything type of adventure game) a great review, because I appreciate the effort the company has made in making it. For the most part, though, I really didn't enjoy Cameron Files. The game was pretty short, which isn't a horrible thing if the game leaves you wanting more, but in this case I found myself kind of relieved the game was over. I usually really like Dreamcatcher games. I liked the second Dracula game and most of the Nancy Drew games, and they were similar in type to this one. However, I found a lot of frustrating things that ruined my enjoyment of this game. First of all, I thought it would be a kind of spooky game, with the Loch Ness monster and everything, but really the monster only makes a couple of shadowy appearances that don't amount to much. There was an underwater maze-type thing and timed puzzles, which I don't like, but they really didn't bother me that much because I had the walkthough to help me underwater, and the end puzzle was easy to solve as long as you kept saving your game before the next move. These types of timed sequences didn't bother me in the second Dracula game, so I don't think it really weighed a lot in my opinion of Cameron Files. In Cameron Files, there were a lot of areas that I could see but never get to, including closed doors that I could never open, stairways I could never access (although I was able to climb two of them and even look through a little door at one time from one of them, but was never able to access the door again). The movement is the type that has an arrow that shows up when you can move to a particular spot, and generally there is an activity that you can do there. Unfortunately, there were areas where you could go to a spot (even a part of the wall in an old lady's bathroom) and there was never an activity for the spot. In contrast to this, there were areas I really wanted to explore, but there were no arrows for the areas so I couldn't go there. The characters weren't even really characters--they just popped up suddenly for one cut scene and generally were never seen again. You saw an old lady who was ill in bed and then later you could never find her again--I actually found myself wondering where in the world she was, convinced that she was dead somewhere. With most of the puzzles, I found that if I tinkered long enough with them they would eventually click into the right place without my having to understand them at all. Another thing that was irritating to me was the inconsistency of hot spots. When a certain icon appeared, you were supposed to be able to do an action with that object. However, sometimes you were supposed to do an action with an object that did not show the action icon, so I found myself thinking I must not have the right place, and searched elsewhere. Finally, I would look at the walkthrough in frustration (Thank God for Gameboomers walkthroughs) and I would find out that the first place was right all along, and that I should have placed the object over an area with absolutely no action icon or hotspot, even though it was supposed to have one.
I hate to give a negative review, but I just had to give my opinion about this one. Everyone has different preferences, so I am glad that a lot of people liked the game. I would still buy the game and play it if I found it on the clearance shelf for $10 or under, but I wouldn't pay full price for it again, and I wouldn't play it again.
-Beth
_________________________
What lies behind you and what lies before you are tiny matters compared to what lies within you.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#88061 - 06/11/02 07:34 PM Re: Review of the Cameron Files: Secret at Loch Ness
Anonymous
Unregistered


I myself loved this game. I have already played it twice. I am really looking forward to the next Cameron Files....I am going to pre-order it when it becomes available..And yes you can play it without a walkthrough... Great Review!!

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#88062 - 07/03/02 05:59 PM Re: Review of the Cameron Files: Secret at Loch Ness
Polo Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 05/07/02
Posts: 1248
Loc: Scotland
Playing it now.. as a Scottish guy myself i find myself chuckling to myself.. NOT ALL SCOTS HAVE GINGER HAIR! LOL or have so much tartan in hotels! starting to wonder if the game designers have ever been to Lochness Scotland..

trying to get to grips with the game find it abit iffy.. on the start of day 3 just now

alright for a tenner i suppose rolleyes
_________________________
Richard


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#88063 - 07/04/02 02:06 AM Re: Review of the Cameron Files: Secret at Loch Ness
ramona Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 11/30/01
Posts: 1175
Loc: Michigan, USA
i just finished the Cameron Files and it was a pretty good game. The timed sequences kind of annoyed me but you can get through them without the walkthrough though it may take a few tries before you succeed. I am glad that I didn't let the timed sequences keep me away from this game. Now on to The Watchmaker.

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