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.
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
Scaring Myself Here!”
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.
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.
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
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.
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,
a Rope, Will You!”
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.
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.
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.
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
mature language and some mildly sexually suggestive scenes, therefore this
game may not be suitable for young players.
Howl of Despair*
Mirror II installed without any technical problems and played smoothly
throughout. I encountered no glitches or dead ends.
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…”