As Eye of the Dragon opens, Diamon
Jones sits drinking in a rundown bar in Shanghai in 193_ (the game never
completes the date). He’s lamenting his plight -- no job, no money. He
agrees to a bit of thievery, just so long as it pays in cash. Of course he
has no idea of the importance of the artifact he has agreed to steal.
So begins a quest that will send our hero, plus a famous American
mobster, an Italian opera singer, and other assorted misfits on board the
Hindenburg. They will race the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force to the
long-buried Lost City, rumored location of the mysterious Eye of the
Accidental archaeologist, artificial archaeologist, atrocious
This is the second game in the Diamon Jones adventure series. To learn
about Diamon’s debut in Amulet of the World, click
Eye of the Dragon reveals a world seeped in cloak-and-dagger
intrigue and corruption. Environments are colorful, packed with details to
gaze at and beguiling shops and ruins to explore. Random animations
enliven most screens. When you assume the role of Diamon Jones, you will
cheerfully keep company with scorpions, spiders, a vulture, moving
statues, and talking masks.
Our hero is blunt, self-possessed, and facile with one-liners. His face
is ugly yet likeable and he struts jauntily. He claims to have been
trained as an archaeologist. The world values him, though, as a thief,
treasure hunter, and bizarre-problem-fixer-upper.
For the last portion of the game, you play as curvaceous Mary Ocean, a
history and archaeology buff. She takes on the game’s super villain while
Diamon is…indisposed. She is younger and cuter than Diamon, and the other
characters underestimate her – one fobs her off with a dollar and tells
her to go buy bubble gum. (Those who patronize her tend later to regret
There’s a surprising amount of physical humor in this game. Standouts
are the prologue sequence with the “Battle of the Ancient Seal” and
Diamon’s pretzel-like attempts to sit on floor cushions. Language is
occasionally salty and the cultural satire is not the least bit
“Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said
nothing.” Robert Benchley
Voiceovers are heard only in the infrequent, slightly blurry cut
scenes. All other dialog is presented as unvoiced subtitles. You can speed
through some dialogs with one click; others take two or three clicks.
Voiced dialogs might have made it easier to ignore all the oddities in the
subtitles. At first, I tried to excuse the erratic grammar and strange
idioms -- most of the characters aren’t native English speakers after all,
and some of the phrases have an outlandish kind of charm.
I picture Diamon Jones as a child, sitting in school. He wears a
leather jacket with the image of a unicorn on the back. His teacher stands
next to his desk, ruler raised.
I want you to improve your attitude. And when you speak, you will use
Something hardly comes out of this. What a fool! You make my head whiz.
How dare you address me in this fashion! (Her face turns red. Steam issues
from her ears.)
You think you are a bigwig? That surely bumps my sense of humor!
The dialog and text translations deteriorate as the game proceeds; a
couple of puzzles are made more difficult by inaccurate labels on the
inventory items. The biggest puzzle of the game is why so much artistic
effort went into the environments, characters and music, without a similar
effort for the language localization.
The musical background in Eye of the Dragon is unusually varied.
It includes perky instrumentals with an Asian influence, dramatic
action/thriller orchestrations, classy big band tunes, and even some honky
tonk piano music.
“In two words, im possible.” Sam Goldwyn
Generously long gameplay is one of this game’s strengths. However, half
of the game time is devoted to mandatory mini-games. Some are quite
enjoyable -- the board games, for instance, and the pattern and
construction games. But others are timed, and a handful are hair-pullingly
The tilting marble game is tricky because the ball seems attracted to
the “game over” holes. Success comes faster if you take this one very,
very slowly. The timed Morse Code mini-game is manageable and more amusing
than the endless Morse Code note taking I’ve encountered in other games.
The electrical wiring challenge appears impossible at first (I nearly
quit the game in frustration). When I finally understood the pattern of
the mechanism, I found it to be an extremely clever timed puzzle.
Eye of the Dragon contains real-time combat mini-games. One of
these pits Diamon against a reanimated monster, and for gamers with little
action experience, it is the stuff of nightmares. It requires precise and
rapid responses to the monster’s random clobbering movements, switching
between offense and defense while Diamon’s weapon slowly recharges. At one
point, my mouse came apart from vigorous clicking. It took me more than an
hour to destroy the monster (much longer than it took to destroy the
mouse), and I hated every second of it.
Although the mini-games present the most memorable challenges, Eye
of the Dragon has more traditional adventuring as well. Those gorgeous
graphics hide some tiny hotspots – if you find yourself stuck, mouse very
slowly and carefully over the entire screen. You’ll also encounter dialog
challenges and plenty of inventory puzzles, including inventory
combinations. The game has a diary/guide that provides goals to give a bit
Eye of the Dragon was stable and installed with no problems. The
only glitch encountered was in a scene with a limousine. The inventory
item that should have worked, didn’t. Finally, after checking a
walkthrough for confirmation, I took the inventory item and clicked dozens
of times all over the limousine, until suddenly (for whatever reason) the
interaction was successful.
After all my hard mini-game efforts, the ending cut scene should have
been more substantial. Still, as far as adventure game endings go, it
gives a satisfactory sense of finality to the story.
“Be quick -- but don’t hurry.” John Wooden
This is the second offering in the Diamon Jones series. An
amusing attempt to lampoon archaeology-based thrillers. Third person
perspective, point-and-click interface. Mild vulgarities. Significant
(though not overwhelming) amounts of character interaction. Many
translation errors. You can sometimes click through the dialogs. More than
twenty hours of gameplay unless you’re a mini-game expert.
No voiceovers except during cut scenes. Twenty save slots (I could have
used at least ten more). No problems with installation. One hotspot
Inventory puzzles, dialog challenges. A panoply of mini-games, many of
them timed and involving significant repetition. No sliders, no mazes, a
couple of color based puzzles, no sound puzzles. One extremely difficult
combat puzzle that is likely to keep some gamers from completing the game.
The game can be downloaded from
Big Fish Games for $6.99 – a very good value.
Aimed at gamers who enjoy detailed historical worlds, jaunty Brits,
cloak-and-dagger satire, and mini-games.
Final Grade: B-
My Computer Specs:
Dell Studio XPS 8000
Windows 7 Home Premium
Intel Core i5-750 processor
1024MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220