Carol Reed 10: Bosch's Damnation
For those who haven't played any of the Carol Reed
series of games before, Carol is an Englishwoman living in the Swedish
city of Norrköping. You play as Carol in first person point-of-view
(through Carol's eyes) and never see her onscreen. Carol doesn't
encounter as many puzzles as Nancy Drew, but like Nancy, she solves
mysteries. Unlike the Nancy Drew games, the Carol Reed series uses
photographs of real people and places instead of pre-rendered graphics.
The photographs in Bosch's Damnation are clear and do not have the
"painted" look of the early Carol Reed games. (This "painted" effect was
used less and less in successive games and was gone by the 7th
installment of the Carol Reed series -- Blue Madonna.)
Bosch's Damnation is the tenth installment of the
Carol Reed series. The game starts during the Christmas season. Carol's
apartment is decorated with gingerbread houses, lighted stars in the
windows, and blooming amaryllis plants. Carol receives a text message
from a man who works as a cleaner for the wealthy Stierngranat family.
He's worried about them because they left on 10 day skiing trip, but
haven't returned -- even after 5 weeks -- and he wants to be paid.
During the course of the game, Carol's missing persons investigation
turns into something more serious.
Like the rest of the Carol Reed series, Carol Reed
10: Bosch's Damnation is a 100% point-and-click game. The game starts
with an optional tutorial that shows you how to move around, zoom in on
things, and collect and use inventory. In my game, subtitles were turned
on by default, though they can be turned off in the game options. You
can't die in the game.
The game includes a Hint system. Puzzles aren't
overly difficult, but it can be confusing about where to go next. The
Hint system will help you out there, suggesting what you can do next.
Using the spacebar reveals inventory and other active hotspots on the
screen. The game has a map that allows you to visit important locations
in the game. Locations may disappear from the map after you complete the
puzzles and investigations that are associated with those locations.
Puzzle types include use of inventory, pattern
matching, color matching, and decoding -- mainly associated with locked
doors and boxes. Most puzzles aren't difficult to solve as long as
you've located the correct inventory or clues. However clues may be
found far from where they're actually used.
There are 100 save slots.
The music was not distracting, and the volume of
the music can be adjusted separately from the rest of the game volume in
the game options. There are separate volume adjustments for speech,
music, and sound effects.
Carol Reed Features
One of the things I like best about the Carol Reed
games is that they take place in real places and Carol often visits
historic areas in Sweden. Bosch's Damnation features locations important
in the history of Swedish entrepreneur Malte Stierngranat (1871 - 1960
according to Swedish wikipedia). Besides visiting the Stierngranat
Museum and learning about his life, Carol visits his unusual pyramid
tomb (and solves puzzles to get inside). Within the context of the game,
the father of the missing family is the son of Malte Stierngranat. Also
in the game, Malte Stierngranat was an admirer of the work of painter
Hieronymus Bosch. Carol has to decypher a code based on two halves of
one of Bosch's paintings, the title of which is where the game gets its
name. Whether the real Malte Stierngranat actually collected Bosch
paintings I can't be sure, because there is very little about him online
that is not in Swedish. Also the game seemed to suggest that Malte
Stierngranat died many years after 1960 (he can't have written his
granddaughter a letter so many years before she was born) and the real
life Malte Stierngranat doesn't seem to have had a son named Erik. I
couldn't find anything about a brother Sten either. But the pyramid tomb
is real enough, as was Malte Stierngranat's interest in railroads and
Besides the historic areas, the Carol Reed games
show glimpses what it's like to live in Sweden. For example, at the
start of the game, Carol sometimes seems to be investigating at night.
But that's because Sweden is so far north that it's dark for most of the
day during the winter. Carol is apparently also an avid gamer. She has a
room devoted to games, many if not most of which are adventure games.
She has bookcases full of them, and you can identify some of the
individual games on her shelves. Though the game starts during the
Christmas season, most of the game takes place the following summer.
During the course of her investigations, Carol visits her allotment (a
plot of land out in the country where she can grow flowers and
vegetables that she couldn't grow in her apartment).
Some of Carol's old friends are back, though you
don't see as much of them as in some of her previous games. Carol visits
Stina in her shop. Later she has coffee with Jonas. Poor Jonas doesn't
get much attention in this game though, as Carol is too busy with her
investigation. We also see Bigge again (the bearded fellow with the
There were a few humorous touches. For example
Carol's friend Stina wonders about Carol not remembering where the Blood
Falls are, and remarks that Carol has been living in Norrköping for over
10 years now and has visited the falls before. And then the game
developer, Mikael Nyquist, includes himself in the game in the form of a
not-so-flattering brochure article where he's accused of megalomania.
Also a video game company mentioned in the game was called Lame Samba, a
name suspiciously close to Lace Mamba -- a game publisher that became
infamous for not paying developers (Google Lace Mamba lawsuit for
Like other Carol Reed games, the system
requirements are very low. The game should work well with computers both
old and new. As with all games, there may be a conflict with some
antivirus, but I had no conflict with Windows Defender in Windows 8.1
and no technical problems to speak of.
1000 MHz or higher
card with 16MB video RAM
hard drive space
98, XP, Vista, 7, 8
I played the game on a computer with:
8.1 Professional, 64-bit
Phenom II X4 905e processor 2.51 GHz
Radeon HD 7770 with 2 GB VRAM
High Definition Audio Device (onboard sound)
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