Evidence: The Last Ritual


Genre:   Adventure puzzle

Developer:     Lexis Numerique

Publisher:    The Adventure Company

Released:  October 2006

PC Requirements:   Check review below


Additional Screenshots








by gremlin


What is it?

Let me say right from the start, I hated EVIDENCE: The Last Ritual almost from the first moment I started playing it. Okay, that’s the conclusion written. Now I have to tell you why.

First of all the simple facts: EVIDENCE: The Last Ritual (just Evidence from now on) is presented in what looks like a police forensic evidence bag, containing a large multi-compact-disc case. It's labeled to look like it's evidence collected by the New York Police Department for the FBI, but is actually published by The Adventure Company, having been developed by Lexis Numerique. The box contains four CDs: three installation discs and one play disc. The manual is a PDF on Disc 1, which is also the play disc.

Is there a plot?

The story of Evidence revolves around a serial murderer called the Phoenix, who was first brought to the public attention through Missing: Since January. This time he's (assuming the Phoenix is a 'he') killing people for some sort of ritualistic purpose. He's not a shy sort, this Phoenix. The CDs of the game are from him and they contain videos of two teams investigating two different cases: one of gruesome murders, and one of a missing person. However, access to these videos is controlled through a complex series of puzzles.

How do you play?

The game launches in a full screen view, dominated by black. Technically, Evidence appears to have been written in Flash. This has the serious advantage that you can alt-tab back and forth to the game with ease, with no risk of it causing the sorts of crashes so often seen in more complex 3D games. Of course this is just as well, because you’ll be doing this a great deal during the course of play.

The first stage of play is to register yourself with the ICPA (International Committee for the Phoenix Arrest) via the User Email Management screen, from which point onwards you’ll receive numerous emails (I counted 128, but there could be more) containing so-called ‘hints,’ comments on your progress, and, most annoying of all, the ‘where are you?’ emails. If I want to play your game, Lexis Numerique, I’ll play it when I want to, not when you beg me and try to guilt-trip me into playing. Now get the heck out of my Inbox!

Sorry, a bit of venom overflow there.

The first email you’ll receive is actually useful – it contains your password to play, without which you cannot proceed. So, obviously, you should use a real email address, not that joe.bloggs.nospam@aol.com bogus email address you’ve been using on all those new site registrations!  

Right. Now we’re in, this is where it starts getting tricky (a word here that means as frustrating as feeding pills to cats. Hint: try Googling ‘How to give a cat a pill’). Don’t worry, Google is your friend, Google has the answers, bookmark Google, you’re gonna need it! Apologies to those who don’t use Google as their search engine of choice already, but you’ll probably have to get used to it for a while, as I don’t know if any of the other search engines of note have quite the same coverage of the sites you’ll need.

The puzzles are arranged in levels, each one containing four or five puzzles named for the Egyptian astrological ‘Decans.’ Some of the puzzles are also divided into sub-puzzles. The menu screen for each level has a fuzzy animation in the middle, and four or five squares moving quite rapidly up and down the right-hand side of the screen. At this point I shall bring up another area of frustration with this game: mouse control.

Evidence is largely mouse controlled, so although puzzle solutions are often typed into text boxes on-screen, you’ll often be chasing small moving objects on-screen with the mouse pointer. You need the eyesight of a twelve-year-old and the mouse control of a cat to keep up. Despite appearing to be a research/puzzle quest, the level of hand-eye coordination (not to mention visual and aural acuity) required for this game puts this on a par with some first-person shooters! Definitely not one for anyone using the accessibility features of Windows.

Early in the game, puzzle solutions are usually the result of user action in solving the on-screen conundrum, but as the game progresses, the on-screen material only provides clues as to the correct answer. Many of the puzzles can only be solved by taking those clues from the game, and from the emails, and searching for answers on the Internet. This opens its own can of worms in terms of frustration, of course. If you’ve gleaned only part of the clues from the game (including the content of the videos opened by various puzzles), then you’re in for a whole heap of frustration searching through every piece of the conspiracy-theory-laden, suppressed-hidden-meaning claptrap that goes with the modern 'study' (or perhaps that's 'fiction') about the European Middle Ages.

Character Interaction

This game purports to make you part of an international effort to hunt down a serial killer. This is so anti-procedural as to make a joke of the whole thing. At no point do any of the investigators come across as competent or intelligent. In fact they’re so bad that they don’t even appear to consider trying to track movements of victims and suspects through the travel companies, airports and ferry ports, with their modern security checks.

The characters with which you interact are brought to you through email. In fact, the ICPA website even goes as far as to suggest that you’re part of an Internet community. This might be the case, though I never tried to partake. The unfortunate result of the setup is that some of the emails read like people that want to be friends with you. This is a very confusing and concerning use of the Internet – there is no telling what sort of impact this kind of personalization of such a psychologically ambiguous experience could have on someone with real-life/net-life balance issues.


Given my comments up to now, you’re probably expecting me to have another rant about how frustrating Evidence is. Well, not just yet; that’s in the conclusions below. For now, I will content myself by commenting on some of the positive features of the game. 

Yes, there are some, and in the context of this review they qualify as Oddities!

Technically, this is a very well constructed game. It was bulletproof in terms of reliability and lack of glitches, even on my not-so-high-spec laptop. The music was atmospheric, the sound effects suitably grating and dark. The imagery was certainly effective in setting a frightening tone. That Phoenix is one sick individual. Please note at this point, that Evidence is rated Mature, and they mean it! There are gory murder scenes, scenes of the simulated results of torture, and plenty of generally threatening unpleasantness from the Phoenix himself in the form of emails.


EVIDENCE: The Last Ritual is a game. Did you get that? It’s a game. No more, no less. It doesn’t install root-kit software on your PC. It doesn’t make you part of an international crime solving network. There are no real downloadable additions or hacking tools involved. It’s a game. It’s a sham. It is fiction.

As for a grade? I’m not going to grade this one because, in technical terms, Evidence is well executed and bug free, as far as I can tell. That makes it a high quality product. But there is no way I can award more than a D for a game that I absolutely hated playing. I had to drag myself to the laptop every time I resolved not to fail to complete it, walkthrough to hand for most of the last three levels (including the end game).

Playing Evidence was like having teeth pulled.

Grade: N/A

What do you need to play it?

Minimum Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows® 98/2000/XP

  • Processor: 800 MHz Pentium® 3

  • RAM: 256 MB

  • Sound Card: Sound Blaster® Compatible

  • Graphics Card: 32 bit

  • CD/DVD-ROM: 8x

  • Hard Disk Space: 2.5 GB

  • Internet: 56.6 Kbps Modem and Web Browser

  • Additional Software: QuickTime™ 6.1 and Shockwave Player 8.5, both on install disc 3.

Recommended Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows® XP

  • Processor: 1 GHz Pentium® 3

  • RAM: 512 MB

  • Sound Card: Sound Blaster® Compatible

  • Graphics Card: 32 bit

  • CD/DVD-ROM: 16x

  • Hard Disk Space: 2.5 GB

  • Internet: DSL or Cable Connection and Web Browser

  • Additional Software: QuickTime™ 6.1 and Shockwave Player 8.5, both on install disc 3.

(I used a Dell laptop PC with Windows XP Home running on an Intel Celeron M 1.6GHz, with 1024 MB RAM, and a 128MB Mobile Intel 915 video card)

December 2006

design copyright © 2006 GameBoomers Group

 GB Reviews Index