Last Half of Darkness: Society of the Serpent Moon



Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    WRF Studios

Released:  May 2011

PC Requirements:  

- Operating System : Microsoft Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7
- Sound Card : DirectX compatible
- Direct X : 9.0c

- Processor : Intel Pentium IV at 1.5 Ghz (or faster)
- Video Card : 64 MB VRAM (256MB Recommended) DirectX 9.0 compatible (Nvidia GeForce or ATI Radeon Card)
- Memory : 512 MB RAM (2 GB Recommended)
- Hard Disk : 1 GB of free Hard Drive Space

Walkthrough   Walkthrough





by flotsam

This is the fourth in the Last Half of Darkness series, and represents somewhat of a departure from what went before. No longer The Stranger, this time you are Billy, looking for Wendy. Like some others, Wendy is missing, and a notebook and disk that arrive in the mail indicate something is seriously wrong. The owner of the Blue Iguana may be corrupt, but a witch seeking “new meat” is something else altogether.

And so we “find” Billy in Room 19, quite literally. Society of the Serpent Moon uses a third person perspective, unlike the first person perspective of the previous games. It's not as immersive in my opinion, which may explain why I felt a little distant from this game. It didn’t draw me in like the others, although it provided a solid gaming experience.

I liked Billy: stoic and determined. If I were Wendy, I would want someone like Billy looking for me. However bizarre things get, you know Billy won’t falter. 

The town in which much of the story occurs has the same feel as in the other Last Half of Darkness games. An out-of-the-way place, where shadowy things can ferment and hide. A ho-hum resignation hangs over the residents, strange goings-on just a part of their day.

If you have played any of the other games you will be familiar with that feel, as well as with the look. The graphics are similar; ditto the construction. Point and click your way about, collecting a bevy of inventory items and solving quite a few straight-out puzzles. Like at least one other of the previous games, a puzzle in Society of the Serpent Moon involves the material you received in the game box, so don’t just cast away the packaging. Unlike one of the other games, I didn’t get any plastic spiders, but I did get a snake oil postcard.

“We have the girl”

Two of the puzzling elements left me cold. The Raven’s Hunt game felt like filler, and getting nearly to the end of the game only to find I didn’t have enough of the coins that I didn’t know I needed, caused some language that made Billy positively blush. The map meant I could hop back to the first location and start hunting for that single elusive coin, but I wasn’t happy. Finding items are part and parcel of games like this, but it didn’t help my mood at the time.

The rest of the puzzles I did enjoy. Very few of the inventory conundrums seemed contrived, and the straight puzzles were a good mix of difficulty. Some of the simplest caused the most headaches, which is always a good sign, while the more complex rewarded a bit of patient thinking and reflection. There is one colour puzzle, but no sound puzzles and nothing timed. All in all, Mr. Fisher does a good job when it comes to puzzling.

Who is this Mr. Fisher? He is the F in WRF, and the man behind the Last Half of Darkness games. He is also the W and the R, making these games all the more admirable for their one-man pedigree. 

Unlike most third person games, movement in this game is essentially node to node. That is, you can’t click anywhere in the game world and have Billy walk there. He will, however, go and check out hotspots or move to an exit from the scene. While a little unusual, I didn’t find it constraining, or feel that Billy wasn’t really involved in the game world.

Billy has a voice to match his demeanour, and Billy's is easily the best voice in the game. Most voices are fine; a few are less than fine. Make sure you have the subtitles on when you talk to Darj. His accent and his echoing timbre make him difficult to understand.

Like the other Last Half of Darkness games, the storyline is a little fantastical, a little more dark. Things creep and scuttle about, eyes glow in the dark and, in keeping with the title, there is lots of slithering. I didn’t find it as creepy as the others, which again may be a consequence of feeling a little detached.

“If you want to see her alive, bring me the disk”

Hotspots will generally result in either a closer investigation, or indicate that something must be done there. A little green question mark icon will result in some information about whatever the question mark is related to. It might be a poster, a sign, or even a piece of scenery. You can ignore them if you like, or flesh out the environment by checking them out.

The interface is simple, all of it utilised by either left or right clicks, and there is a lot of feedback. The inventory ribbon will appear when the curser is moved to the bottom of the screen, and a little icon will flash to right click if an object can be further examined. Left click to use it in the game world, and if it is the right one for that conundrum, it will “vibrate” when moved to the hotspot.

The tab key reveals all exits (and you would be advised to use it in new locations), and the menu is accessed either with the escape button on the keyboard or by clicking the gears at the top right of the screen. You can tweak a few settings, but oddly you will have to do this every time you start to play if you change anything from the default. One option is a hint system which does provide gentle prods rather than answers. If you use walkthroughs, print one off, as the game closed every time I used alt-tab.

There is a patch available to fix a sound and subtitle issue which a few gamers have reported. According to the insert that came with my game, this is not something Mr. Fisher has been able to reproduce on any test system, but he has provided a fix nonetheless. This service is in keeping with his past activity, and is miles in advance of a lot of game support.

I did enjoy Society of the Serpent Moon, but I do think the strengths of the franchise are better suited to a first person perspective. If you haven’t played any of the previous games, then perhaps start with this one and then try the others. If you have played and are a fan, you will still find lots to like.

Last Half of Darkness: Society of the Serpent Moon is available for purchase at WRF Studios' website.


 I played on:

OS: Win XP Professional SP3

Processor: AMD Phenom 9500 Quad Core CPU 2.2 GHz

Ram: 3.25GB DDR2 400MHz

Gx card: ATI Radeon HD 3850 512Mb


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