Black Mirror II



Genre:   Adventure

Developer:  Cranberry Productions

Publisher:    Mamba Games

Released:  May 2010

PC Requirements:   Intel Pentium®IV® or equal processor with 1,4 GHz, Windows® XP with 512 MB RAM or Windows® Vista x32/x64 with 1GB/2 GB RAM, 128 MB Graphics card like ATI Radeon 9800 or NVidia GeForce 6800 with Shader 2.0, DirectX®8 (9.0c) compatible sound card, ca. 6GB Hard drive space on DVD-Rom-drive, keyboard, mouse, speakers.


Additional Screenshots





by Rushes


There’s an old superstition which runs along the lines of: “Break a mirror and get seven years bad luck”. Seemingly no small coincidence then that, seven years after the first incarnation of the now classic adventure Black Mirror in 2003, along comes the long awaited sequel from developers Cranberry Production to winch us out of the glass shards. Mighty good things come to those who wait.

The place and time of Black Mirror II is Biddeford, Maine, 1993. Twelve years have passed since the events of the original adventure with Samuel Gordon. In Black Mirror II, our protagonist Darren Michaels is in his twenties and working (reluctantly) for an obnoxious photographer in a small studio during the semester break. While there, Darren meets the beautiful Angelina and encounters the mysterious stranger who appears to be shadowing her. A dramatic series of events puts Darren on the path to Willow Creek, where he strives to help his new friend and uncover the dark secrets and turbulent history of the ill-fated Gordons of Black Mirror castle.

“I’m Scaring Myself Here!”

Black Mirror II opens with glorious flashback cut scenes from 1969 which show us what really took place between Samuel Gordon and Cathryn all those years ago. These are scenes to make your spine crackle in anticipation of what’s to come. I hardly dared blink.

Now fast forward to 1993, the present day. Darren is laidback and cynical; he cannot stop the sarcastic edge to some of his dialogues with other characters within the game, and yet he has a sense of humour and can appreciate the ridiculous and surreal. His relationship with his mother is fond yet slightly distant. Darren keeps a diary and he notes down his thoughts, worries and tasks for the day ahead. The player can access this diary by moving their cursor to the top right of the game screen, where the diary along with Load/Save and Main menus are located. You are able to choose from two game modes, Easy or Normal. Easy mode provides the player with help along the way and an option to skip certain puzzles. Even when playing on the Normal setting you may still select additional help via Options at the main menu, a very useful feature of the game.

Black Mirror II is a third person point & click horror adventure which, although perhaps having a somewhat slow start, is never less than thoroughly immersive and entertaining as it gradually builds to unroll the larger mystery through the first two chapters of gameplay. Initially there are errands to run and associated problems to solve, and some fairly lengthy dialogue. Dialogues can be fast clicked through, and subtitles are available if needed. There are many active clickable spots and items for Darren to remark upon, examine closely or take into inventory, so be sure to both left and right click -- very often more than once -- on all that you see. The cursor remains red until you can no longer interact with the object or area. There is much clicking in Black Mirror II. Forewarned is forearmed, and hopefully your forefinger survives the journey.

Hotspots can be revealed by hitting either the spacebar or the H key. The graphics are impressively detailed. The environments are fluid: clouds scudder overhead, birds flutter, mist wreathes, and, not long after arriving at Willow Creek, the rain pelts down relentlessly. Ah, the rain. It really wouldn’t be Black Mirror at all without it, would it? Thunderbolts and lightning, loud and blinking frightening. You may occasionally wish to adjust your volume controls. The music, subtle or electrifying, background or otherwise, is uniformly excellent. A Biddeford postcard and a Willow Creek map will appear in your inventory at the appropriate point for you to jump to different locations. Again, this is an excellent feature which saves much disconsolate trudging around. There are unlimited save slots.

It is thrilling indeed to be back in Willow Creek once again, after all these years. To explore the old sanatorium (now a fully refurbished hotel), the village, the old lighthouse, and the Black Mirror castle itself, meeting many old faces and friends from the original Black Mirror along the way, is nothing short of deliriously good fun. The locations may have been graphically tweaked -- different viewpoints and angles, altered layouts -- but they remain intrinsically true and retain all of their original charm. We visit Wales too, briefly, and see how drastically life has changed there. Black Mirror II’s accent appears less set on gory horror. Instead, there is greater emphasis on the inhabitants of Willow Creek and the Black Mirror castle, their motives and the results of their actions, good or bad. It is a twisting, powerful story, restrained and well told, revealing the shocks in increments until the explosive, closing moments.

“Throw Me a Rope, Will You!”

I greatly enjoyed most of the puzzles in Black Mirror II. They are largely inventory based, with some intuitive and well integrated standalone puzzles. I would assess the difficulty level of most of the puzzles as moderately easy, with a couple of stumpers thrown in to fox you. There are two sliders, and one maze. Some scenes require a fast response or your character will die. Happily, there is an autosave function which saves your game just before such a sequence, relieving you of the necessity of lengthy replay. Black Mirror II, you are the bee’s knees for including so many of these helpful features.

On the flipside, if I encounter just one more photo-developing puzzle within any adventure game, then I think I may scream loud, long and not entirely melodically. I’ve had it up to here *motions to top of head* with darkrooms and developing fluids. Where’s Dr. Hermann when you need him? Oh yes -- I remember now.

“Bwoah, This Stinks!”

Thank goodness for subtitles, as I found that dialogue on occasion was muffled due to loud music/background noise in exterior scenes. One of the puzzles near the game’s conclusion depicted symbols which were very difficult to read and which I felt should have been possible to view in close-up.

Perhaps too long a section of the game was spent in Biddeford. It felt like an entirely different game until Chapter 3, when the action finally moved to Willow Creek.

There is mature language and some mildly sexually suggestive scenes, therefore this game may not be suitable for young players.

*Animal Howl of Despair*

Black Mirror II installed without any technical problems and played smoothly throughout. I encountered no glitches or dead ends.

Overall, I found Black Mirror II to be a worthy successor to the original game, and one which I will no doubt replay many times in the future.

And what of that intriguing line as the game’s final end scene closed to black? -- “…To Be Continued…”

Grade: A

GameBoomers Review Guidelines

May, 2010

design copyright© 2010 GameBoomers Group

 GB Reviews Index