Three weeks on from the culminating events
of Black Mirror II, Adrian Gordon, formerly Darren Michaels, is
released from prison on an anonymous bail, intent upon clearing his name.
His new therapist doubts his fantastical story; the police inspectors at
the Willow Creek constabulary are equally sceptical. Adrian sets out to
further explore the mysteries of the town and the Black Mirror castle, to
see if he might finally put to rest the spirits and past history which
have troubled his ancestors across the centuries.
Black Mirror III is the final game in the horror trilogy from
developers Cranberry Production.
The mirror’s so bright, I gotta wear Shades
Playing in third person viewpoint with no panning, Black Mirror III
offers many of the interface features of its direct predecessor. The
spacebar reveals all interactive areas on the game screen. The cursor
turns red over active hotspots, which often require repeated clicking
before all information can be acquired. There are a lot of hotspots
in Black Mirror III, and many general comments relative to the
surroundings. There is no right-clicking in this game except for when
accessing the inventory, when items may be examined in greater detail by a
right-click. Cut scenes can be skipped via the Tab key.
There is a help feature which explains the game controls -- useful for the
adventure novice -- and subtitles if required. The subtitles appear on the
main game screen above the heads of the characters who are speaking rather
than neatly at the bottom bar, and they will occasionally accidentally
overlap with each other. There is an autosave feature which may be useful
as your character can die. It is advisable, therefore, that you save
frequently and to new save slots.
I found the scrolling inventory bar at the bottom of the screen to be a
nuisance. Scrolling to the left was not such a problem, but scrolling to
the right was problematical in that the bar would disappear before the
scrolling was complete, necessitating repeated swipes of the cursor to
activate further movement.
Character movement is turgidly slow. It is possible to speed this up by
double-clicking to transport to a new game screen, but this method is not
always effective and may require repeated double-clicking to take effect.
The graphics are detailed, atmospheric and fluid, and quite the best thing
about Black Mirror III. I found the music overdramatic and
distracting, with a tendency to drown out dialogue -- a problem shared
with the second game in the trilogy. There are many new locations and
exterior scenes to explore, all quickly accessible via the inventory map.
The gamer will play for the most part as Adrian Gordon, but later in the
game as a female character, switching between the two characters as
necessary in order to complete certain puzzles and tasks.
Black Mirror III starts off slowly with very little buzz, and, I’m
deeply disappointed to say, never picks up speed. The pace of this game is
slower than a geriatric snail sprint. The dialogue clunks, the plot
wheezes, and nothing quite gels anymore. There is a lot of wandering
around with a vague idea of needing to do something, but where to go and
how to accomplish it? It might take a day or a week in Black Mirror time,
it’s all the same, there’s no sense of urgency. The effect on the gamer is
soporific. We stagger on until the final chapter of the game, where we are
bombarded with a sudden flurry of virtual storyline arrows and an
implausible sequence of environments. The game concludes more with a
feeling of “Oh, right, then,” rather than a real sense of visceral
excitement or satisfaction.
A pocketful of junk
Black Mirror III’s puzzles are mostly inventory based, with some
standalone types. None of the standalone puzzles are particularly
absorbing, and are occasionally unfathomable. There is a labyrinth puzzle
near the game’s conclusion which is particularly frustrating.
Darren/Adrian/I’ll just call you Black-Eye
The voice acting for certain characters is poor. Inspector Spencer has an
atrocious Northern Ireland accent and even worse dialogue to contend with.
Murray sounds as though he has swallowed a helium balloon. Adrian/Darren
is simply annoying. Was he as annoying in Black Mirror II? I don’t
think he was. Here he spouts constant, irritating wisecracks -- and you
might wish that he would just get on and solve the mystery already.
Black Mirror III is a horror game -- supposedly -- not a comedy. It
spoils the atmosphere -- what there was of it in the first place.
Adrian’s morphing into the character/voice of one of his ancestors is
In this final chapter we lose most of the characters familiar from the
previous two games, and are left with a bunch of folks with very little of
interest to say.
Quite likely due to my graphics card, I found the intro, chapter and
certain cut scenes very jerky in both sound and vision.
I experienced a hanging black screen at certain points in the catacombs.
The first at the pendulum puzzle, and later on at the altar. It was
necessary for me to Ctrl-Alt-Del and then click on the minimised game bar
to bring the game back up on screen. The required close-up screen then
appeared and I was able to continue.
All in all, I found Black Mirror III by far the weakest game in the
otherwise excellent series. A great shame, therefore, seeing as how it is
the concluding chapter and should have ended with a bright spark rather
than a wet fizzle.
I played on:
Windows XP Media Center Edition SP3
Intel[R] CPU T2050 @ 1.60GHz
2.00 GB of RAM
NVIDIA GeForce 7500 LE, 512MB
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