A First Look at Diamon Jones: Amulet of the World by Looney4labs

Posted by: Becky

A First Look at Diamon Jones: Amulet of the World by Looney4labs - 05/12/09 08:30 AM

I adore adventuring, whether by reading a fantastical story such as Tarzan or relishing a movie of derring-do, like King Solomon’s Mines. So getting the chance to play the hero in the preview build of Diamon Jones: Amulet of the World (Amulet) by Game Factory Interactive was a chance not to be missed.

Adventure: an exciting or very unusual experience.*

This third-person game features bright and detailed cartoon graphics with a pulse pumping opening scene reminiscent of an Indiana Jones’ movie. Like that Jones, our hero, Diamon Jones, leaps first and looks later.

As the action begins, we find Jones in a pub where fellow archeologist, John Milton, regales him with tales of a newly discovered treasure with world-ending potential. Of course, he is hooked and the chase is on.

Adventure: An undertaking of a questionable nature, especially one involving intervention in another state's affairs**

Though not deep, the story serves as a framework to tie together a cast of characters, who though unusual in my day-to-day life, are almost de rigueur in an adventure setting. Diamon himself is square jawed and big-chested, his hair is spiked, a collecting bag is slung across his body and he sports wrist bands a la The Mummy’s Rick O’Connell.

Among others, there is the sinister bartender, Ahmed El Kasim and Billy Smith, the tattooed hulking “muscle” for the evil Boss. Beautiful but morally challenged, Clare has a figure to turn a man’s head and a dress slit to……..well, that’s best left to your imagination.

But not all are enemies. Diamon finds help in his quest from a hard drinking pilot with the unlikely moniker Fluffy Wilson, and Mary Ocean, a curvaceous colleague.

The expressiveness and the timbre of the voice acting seemed appropriate for each character. I particularly liked the menacing quality of Billy Smith’s voice. However, as the dialogue is in Russian, I depended on the English subtitles. Unfortunately, I noticed quite a few English miscues such as improper syntax, homonym errors, and misspellings. Nevertheless, they did not impede my understanding or enjoyment and I hope these will be fixed by the time the game is ready for release.

I especially enjoyed the close up of each speaker’s face displayed next to the written dialogue. Not only is the lip synching right on, each face reflects the emotions of that persona.

Adventure: a wild and exciting undertaking**

The background music is peppy and upbeat and changes with location enhancing the fun feeling of the game. Ambient sounds are authentic when present.

In addition to tying the cast together, the narrative serves to send Diamon globe-trotting, and dishes up a variety of puzzles including inventory, logic, jigsaw, and decoding. Inventory challenges usually, but not always, make sense. An added difficulty is that sometimes Diamon has to be aware of his need for a particular item before it can be acquired. At least one item requires a pixel hunt. Some conundrums are well integrated (for example, removing an impediment to access a crawl space) while others felt intrusive (i.e. having to move suitcases by solving a Hanoi tower puzzle).

Most are easy to moderate in difficulty. The biggest challenge for me came as a result of an out of the ordinary (for this game) control scheme. I was totally stuck and sure I had found a game ending glitch. However, once I realized I needed to use both left and right buttons to manipulate this puzzle, it was quickly and easily solved.

In addition, there are mini-games including a Simon Says type, a shooting game, a flying challenge and rope climbing. Though they depend on reflexes, most are easy with the thorniest requiring only a few attempts to conquer. I didn’t see anything new but I also didn’t see anything that was overly complicated or difficult. Actually, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I enjoyed them and felt they added to the game.

Adventure: participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises*

Amulet is a bright and colorful game with crisply textured graphics and realistic shadows. Most scenes include small animations, and I haven’t seen any dark areas.

Movement and interaction is easy. The mouse is all you need. You can save at will. Though the save slots are limited (9), they can be overwritten.

Arrows indicate directions Diamon can move. Left clicking sends him on his way and double clicking hurries him along. Right clicking opens the inventory window.

The smart cursor changes to indicate available actions: pointing hand for movement, magnifying glass to examine, lips for speaking and a grabbing hand for picking up. For those in a hurry, the space bar skips conversations as well as transitions instantly between scenes.

Adventure: put at risk**

Though I have gotten a kick out of my romp with Diamon Jones, I experienced a few issues.

The game crashed a couple of times which may or may not be related to my habit of multitasking while playing.

From the beginning of the game, Russian language subtitles infrequently replaced the English ones. As I advanced, these instances became more numerous until eventually, almost no English subtitles appeared. Because I was really enjoying the game, I attempted to continue but I could not. As this is a preview copy, I am hoping this obstacle will be fixed before the game is released so it will be accessible to a larger audience.

As an aside, there was one use of a blasphemous phrase. Much worse is said every week on TV, but I wanted to bring it to the attention of those who might be offended.

Adventure: gamble, run a risk, take a chance**

I had fun cavorting with Diamon Jones and I sincerely hope that I, as well as others, will have a chance to enjoy this game once all the “spit and polish” has been applied.

Definitions were taken from *www.dictionary.com and **www.thefreedictionary.com.

Would you like to learn more about Diamon Jones: Amulet of the World? Read the full review by flotsam.