Scattering her auntís ashes from the Brooklyn Bridge,
Rosangela Blackwell reflects that she never really knew her aunt. She
visited her aunt weekly for twenty-five years while her aunt lay
incapacitated in a mental institution, but there was no communication
between them. Still, it was the only family she had and now that small
comfort is gone.
Rosangela lives in self-imposed isolation except for her
job writing for a small newspaper. She doesnít know her neighbors, and her
only friend is her trusted stuffed teddy bear.
An unusual writing assignment leads her into an
investigation of a college coedís suicide. Suddenly Rosangela finds
herself not only forced to reach out to other people living in her world,
but also she must cope with her ability to see and hear the dead. There
are souls that need assistance to break away from the earthly plane, and
Rosangela is thrust into the role of uncovering the cause of their
difficulties and facilitating their departure.
There is a fascinating transition in personality at
play, and as the game player you assist in how smoothly this metamorphosis
occurs. Utilizing the Adventure Game Studio (AGS) engine, this
independently produced game is an interesting study in contrasts. A
psychologically intensive plot completed with primitive graphics.
Game play and Mechanics:
You view the game world from a third person perspective,
and your movement is via point and click. A left click allows interaction
and a right click allows you to obtain further descriptive information.
Inventory is readily available above the game play screen.
Visuals and sound:
As I mentioned previously, the graphics are primitive
when compared to many games of today, but it is obvious that much care has
been taken to render detail and make the game come alive. The expressions
of characters in photographs are especially well done and the opening
sequence is rich with deeply colored hues, and is lovely. The developer
advises that scenes are painstaking depictions of actual locations in New
When a game character speaks, a pop-up appears on the
screen with that character in closeup view, making appropriate facial
gestures. This is reminiscent of many old-time adventure games, and is
serviceable for the most part. There was one occasion at the beginning of
the game where this insert flashed on and off so much that I felt like I
had wandered into a disco.
Voiceovers range from the very good to the adequate. The
main character has a nasal twang that I found annoying, but perhaps this
was done to further illustrate her personality traits. The voice of Joey
Mallone shines. In fact, the character has such charisma that he upstages
the main character. This should carry well to planned sequels Ė the game
leaves you wanting to know more about the mysterious gangster and what led
him to his present circumstance.
The one thing I disliked about the game was the music,
some sort of electronica. At one point, it sounds like someone is beating
on tin cans. For a second and third time through the game, I elected to
turn the volume off and avail myself of the subtitle feature.
Youíll be going back and forth between locations and
characters to solve puzzles, mainly through dialog choices and
interactions with game items. No need to be frustrated over copious
inventory items, no mazes, no sliders, no timed sequences. Movement
between locations is accomplished by way of a travel screen, and you
teleport between locations instantly by a simple click on the location
where you wish to go next. The main character cannot die, and those dead
are supposed to be that way. Be sure to read the in-game manual, so you
understand that your notes, contained in inventory and from which your
dialog choices are available, can be interacted with to provide new
Odds and Ends:
Besides the standard features of saving and loading (you
can save anywhere in the game outside of cut scenes) and volume control
and subtitles, there is a feature which you can select that enables you to
view the developerís comments during game play through a pop-up window. I
would suggest you donít enable this during your first playing of the game,
for it brings your game to a jarring halt and gives spoilers. However, it
is interesting to listen to on a second play, and budding adventure game
developers especially may want to listen to the details of the mechanics
that go into making a game, and the pitfalls one should avoid.
It took me around five hours to complete the game. I
encountered no glitches or bugs. It is a self-contained game, but sequels
with the main characters are planned. It is currently available as a
download. The developer promises that it will be offered on CD in the near
All in all, I found the game to start rather slowly but
become much more enjoyable after a short while. The attention to detail is
noteworthy. I thought it an unusually compelling psychological study for
an independent game to undertake, and Iíll certainly be looking forward to
more from this talented developer.
Blackwell Legacy is an Independent Production of Wadjet Eye Games, and can
be purchased from the developer's website
design copyright ©