Last Half of Darkness: Tomb of Zojir

 

Genre:   Horror adventure

Developer:   WRF Studio

Publisher:   Tri-Synergy

Released:  July 2009

PC Requirements:   Windows XP / Vista, 128 MB RAM, 32MB video card, DirectX compatible sound card

Walkthrough

Additional Screenshots

 

 

 

by flotsam

 

Usually when I get a game to review, I try and finish it as fast as possible. I feel a sense of obligation to get it played, and get the review posted. Not because the world is hanging on my every word, but because if someone is going to give you something for free that you would otherwise have to pay for, the least you can do is be timely about going to print.

Sometimes I donít do any of that. This was one of those times.

The sense of obligation was still there, but it was tempered by a touch of selfishness. Or perhaps respect. I have played the previous two instalments in the Last Half of Darkness series, and knew this was a game for hastening slowly. The atmosphere is slow and dark, brooding even, and the experience and exploration need to be in kind. It would be rude to rush, so I didnít.

All I haveÖ gone with my wife

Tomb of Zojir is a sum-of-the-parts sort of thing. The graphics wonít blow you away, but there is a simplistic awkwardness to them that grabs you and provides just the right amount of strange. Light flickers, things scuttle, or flit, or appear and then disappear. The sounds deepen the mood Ė from the insects, to the rain, to the wailing Ė and then the infrequent music adds a fingernails-on-chalkboard edginess. Some images are meant to frighten or shock. Put it all together and you get those little moments of frisson that prickle and tease. Delicious!

Itís a world of swamps, and mansions, and damp and entropy. If itís all a little strange, then so are you. You, the Stranger, need to restore the bloodstones that guarded Zojirís tomb and kept the spirit world at bay. But first you have to get in.

When you do, read and collect and listen and think. Take notes. There are a lot of puzzles, and they do not lead you by the nose one at a time. I didnít find it to be a hard game, but there were puzzles that forced me to reconsider and backtrack and review. A few had compound solutions, requiring solves elsewhere to get pieces of information needed. There were some ďdoh!Ē moments, as there often are when the puzzles are well crafted.  

I donít remember feeling cheated by a solution, which is a good sign. Nor did the puzzles feel tacked on, but rather were embedded into the proceedings in (by and large) explicable ways. According to the website, a few puzzles apparently solve themselves after several tries. 

And donít forsake your game paraphernalia. I love getting stuff with my games Ė the old Infocom games with their many feelies still have pride of place on my shelf Ė and Zojirís tomb comes full of stuff. More than that, they arenít just novelties, but are intimately related to a puzzle. I wonít spoil it by saying any more, but itís pretty neat. Plus there are plastic spiders!

Violent darkness takes her life

Itís a mouse driven outing, played in the first person. Icons indicate the variety of things you can do. Left click brings up the inventory, right click examines the items. You can combine items, and selecting the correct one for use will cause the item to shake. A map will help you get about.

You can tweak some settings at the initial screens, turning some effects on or off and determining how the transitions work. Saving is straightforward, and overall the interface will be familiar to most adventure gamers, and easy to get on top of for a newcomer.

This game seemed longer that the other ones, but it might just be the length of time over which I played it.

I did encounter some startup issues, and the website says that some codecs have caused problems. The website is full of information to help you if you do strike difficulty, and if all else fails, send an email. I can confirm that you will get a response, and you will get it quickly. And it wasnít because I was reviewing; I sent mail from another address pretending I had a problem and got just as efficient service.

It comes, I guess, from being a one-man band. WRF is William R Fisher, who pretty much does everything. Tomb of Zojir is all the more impressive for it.

There are some other little surprises which, if I told you about, would defeat the purpose of them being such a thing. Suffice to say that there are many reasons to venture into Zojirís tomb, and that you will indeed be surprised. Pleasantly, as well as in other ways. I was already a fan of the Stranger, and the Tomb of Zojir only cements my feelings.

Everything considered, this is a game I think you should play.

A-

Last Half of Darkness: Tomb of Zojir can be purchased from the Last Half of Darkness website. The game will also be available in stores in the U.S. in the Fall of 2009.

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

September, 2009

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