The game’s story: the
peaceful Matteh, who respected and cherished God’s word, have inhabited
the Isles of Derek. Several centuries ago a hostile sect -- the Dalaq --
forced the Matteh into enslavement with their false religion. The Dalaq
were led by a sinister man named Sinar; they would kill anyone not
following the new teachings of their religion. The Dalaq burned and
destroyed the Matteh’s Bibles and replaced them with ones that were not
printed in their own language. Most of the Matteh were forced to
surrender their own beliefs to survive.
One courageous group, the Qadas, cherished
the old teachings and would not compromise their beliefs in the
scriptures. They escaped into a remote region of the mountains with a map
and copies of their Bible. To bring Christianity back to the Isles of
Derek, you will need to find the Qadas, retrieve the map and a Bible.
Only by following God’s word will you be able to find the faithful Qadas
and help free the Matteh from the spiritual persecution they are forced to
Isles of Derek was created by a
brilliant young man named Cheyenne Wolford. He developed the story,
designed all the graphics, devised all the puzzles -- he even wrote and
played all the music for the game. In viewing the “Making of Derek”
video (included on the CD), we learn part of what prompted him to develop
Derek, and some of the conditions under which the game was
developed. I found it fascinating that the game was created in a rustic
cabin where the only source of electricity is from gas-powered
Visually the game is reminiscent of
Riven, but with graphics that are not as detailed. You will find
long dark tunnels, grassy hillsides, and rocky terrain to explore. All
but a few of the buildings appear to have been abandoned a long time ago.
Inventory items seem to pale in comparison to the surrounding scenery –
they appear flat and less realistic than the game environment. You may
want to adjust your screen brightness a bit in the early part of the
game. There were a couple of spots that I had some trouble seeing, and I
had to retrace my steps to find them.
I found minimal differences in the
graphics when compared to the original version of Derek. Some
appeared to be a bit sharper, but the graphics are still simplistic at
best. The water rippling alongside the boat and torches flickering inside
the tunnels will not sweep you away. There are a few QuickTime videos
throughout the game -- most are somewhat grainy and pixelated.
One big difference between the original
Derek and Isles of Derek is the sounds, most notably speech.
Your character has no voice, only subtitles. Most of the other characters
have little to say except for the Captain. In the original Derek,
the voice acting of the Captain seemed to be overdone and almost comical.
We now have a new voice for the Captain, and I found his voice acting to
be far superior. The firm gentleness of his voice commanded respect in
this dire situation and emphasized his need for my help.
Music throughout the game is subtle and
tranquil. In the original Derek, some of the music had a tendency
to cut out occasionally. But in the improved Isles of Derek this
is no longer a problem. Nearly all of the background sounds throughout
the game are sufficient, with one exception -- a sound clue I was never
able to hear, no matter how high I turned the volume. This did not impede
my progress, as there were two clues for that particular puzzle.
Isles of Derek has a nice array of
puzzle types; mechanical, inventory, and a couple of sound and color
puzzles. Almost all of the puzzles use verses from the Bible. Sometimes
the verses will be the clue to the puzzle and sometimes they will be the
answer. None of the puzzles are especially difficult. There is one timed
puzzle that you may have to repeat several times to get it right. It’s
actually divided into two parts, and halfway through you can save your
game. However, if you run out of time the puzzle will automatically reset
itself to the very beginning of the puzzle. (Once I got the first part
correct, I kept reloading my saved game to avoid having to repeat the
first half of the puzzle.)
Isles of Derek is a completely
mouse-driven, first person point-and-click 2D game with QuickTime videos.
You can save your game at nearly any point, but the game also utilizes an
automatic save feature at the end of each chapter. Since none of the
chapters are very long, I generally relied on the automatic saves.
Navigation throughout the game is extremely easy. There are hand icons
for interaction, arrow cursors for direction, and an inventory bag icon
tells you when you need to use an inventory item. There is even a help
cursor that will give you clues if you turn it on at the beginning of the
Simplicity! Isles of Derek oozes simplicity.
No complex story, no elaborate graphics that will take your breath away,
no complicated user interface here. Just a simple, but solid adventure
game. Enjoyable gaming from beginning to end.
Final Grade: A-