Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis
opens with scenes from Ashford and Cambridge England, where peaceful
sanctuaries are invaded by armed men seeking a parchment containing an
ancient prophecy. Bishop Parrey of Christ’s College, sensing danger,
conceals the parchment as death closes around him.
Scene change: Nina Kalenkov is boarding a ship for a vacation she had
hoped to spend with Max (for Nina and Max’s previous adventures, see
Secret Files: Tunguska). Life together has been bumpy for our hero
and heroine. Nina has a redhead’s legendary temper and Max seems
particularly suited to testing it.
As if echoing this lovers’ spat, the headlines trumpet a series of
peculiar catastrophes. Nina goes on vacation alone, hoping to forget her
personal worries, the current world unrest, and Max. Little does she
suspect that she is not escaping, but heading straight for confrontations
with all the above.
Where Will You Go?
The photorealistic 2.5D graphics in Puritas Cordis are
especially eye-catching. You’ll see the interior of a luxury cruise ship,
the jungles of Indonesia, and several locations in Paris. Light –
sometimes brilliant, other times hazy or diffused – burnishes the
landscapes. Details include realistic shadows, varied shapes and textures,
and colorful reflections. Simply walking around in each exotic location is
Another strength – the cinematic cut scenes. These imitate the
spectacular sequences we’ve come to expect in disaster movies, and they
work well here. Music, heard mostly during these cut scenes, is orchestral
and often dramatic. (For a second viewing, replay the cut scenes from the
Cinema link in the Main Menu.)
Character animation has improved since Tunguska – Nina walks
smoothly and alluringly, vacationers enjoy themselves aboard ship, animals
move about the jungle and zoo, and hooded monk-like figures creep around
an ancient chateau.
Who Will Be There?
The cast of characters is wide-ranging: from the “oily” travel contest
promoter to the amusingly practical street cleaner and the intellectual
hobo. My personal favorite is Rossi, a man (pre-Nina) who has good looks,
friends, and a promising future. Post-Nina – well, redheads are a force of
nature, aren’t they? Each character has sufficient backstory and
personality to make him (or her) an intriguing temporary companion or
Characters are well portrayed, with Nina’s voice significantly improved
compared to Tunguska. Conversations are lively and saucy, with the
occasional mild expletive heard. The characters interact frequently, but
the dialogs are not overly long. The writing is pretty good, especially
for a game that was translated from the original German. Occasionally, an
absurdist humor breaks through, particularly when Max or Nina comment on
the gamer’s reasons for requesting certain actions.
You play most of the game as Nina, but spend a few sequences playing as
Max, as Sam (a blonde female, not a police dog) and as Bishop Parrey.
What will you do?
Puzzles are mostly inventory based, including odd combinations of
items. Among other things, you will disguise yourself, redecorate the
walls, and construct a model of a famous landmark. The inventory is easy
to use. The spacebar reveals all hotspots and exits.
In addition, you’ll encounter a few text and pattern sequence
challenges, a directional challenge using a laser, and impromptu monkey
training. A diary that recounts events also gives occasional puzzle help.
Will You Face Disappointments?
To game designers: enough with the conspiratorial crazies in monks’
clothing, okay? It may seem to be a handy disguise, but in the
twenty-first century, a monk’s habit does not make a person less
noticeable or cause the neighbors to be less suspicious. Video game
characters will be relieved if these garments are permanently banned
(gamers will experience the same relief).
My chief disappointment in Puritas Cordis is with the game’s
epilogue. After a believably affecting time of despair and then an
action-packed rescue attempt, suddenly we find some of the characters
sitting and joking together, as though the whole game was just a lark.
Animation in this epilogue sequence is noticeably clumsy. Why would the
developers put the worst animation at the game’s conclusion? Other gamers
may find the epilogue hilarious. I did not -- though if you see the game
in its entirety as an homage to movie thrillers, with satire always
lurking, the ending might work for you.
How Do Things Shake Out?
If you liked Secret Files: Tunguska, you will be pleased with
Puritas Cordis. If you thought Tunguska was a mixed bag, you
will appreciate the improvements in the sequel. The voiceovers for Nina
are much easier on the ear and the puzzles require actions that are within
the bounds of reality (well, mostly). If you haven’t played Tunguska,
but enjoy third person point-and-click cinematic thrillers with a hint of
tongue-in-cheek humor, it’s time to get acquainted with the Secret
Despite minor quibbles, Puritas Cordis is a successful adventure
with an engaging plot and sympathetic characters. With this second game in
the series, the developers have come close to perfecting the adventure
thriller in the manner previously introduced by the Broken Sword
games. By sticking to 2.5D and a traditional point-and-click interface,
the Secret Files games maintain their photorealistic graphical
sharpness and allow the gamer to appreciate the environments, story and
puzzles, rather than battling awkward movement or a novel interface.
Personally, I hope the 3D siren call never tempts the makers of this
What About a Quick List for Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis?
This is the second offering in
the Secret Files series. Third person perspective, point-and-click
interface. Significant (though not overwhelming) amounts of character
interaction. You can click through the dialogs. About twenty hours of
The spacebar reveals hotspots
and exits. Good voiceovers. Unlimited save slots. No problems with
installation. No glitches. One of the nicest full-color manuals I’ve seen.
Mostly inventory puzzles. Some
pattern recognition challenges. No sliders, no mazes, a couple of color
based puzzles. An end sequence that seems timed but can be repeated until
you realize what needs to be done. Hints found in a diary are sometimes
Aimed at gamers who enjoy
thrills, conspiracies, disasters, and sassy redheads.
Final Grade: A-
My Computer Specs:
Windows XP Professional
Pentium 2.80 GHz
2.00 GB RAM
Direct X 9.0c
512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX
SB X-Fi Audio