Magical Paintings – My Favourite! *****
BASED ON DEMO
Excellent beginning, not at all like the norm, and extremely intriguing. Looks good, and Stephan’s pact with Death already has me hooked – particularly because she’s a woman!
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
Much better than the previous games in series – well, it should be, it’s been 4 years! Has same peculiar flat-finish look about it, but now we have vibrant colour it looks quite lovely. (The earlier games had nothing but greys and browns *yuck*) And the artists have captured the eyes of Stephan Black brilliantly – they look alive and glow with intensity. Hint is a cherubic child with a fit of the giggles. If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for cute. But apparently it depends on the species. This is a variation on cute I’ve not seen before – and one I will be glad not to see again! Eeek! *giggles maliciously*
After the opening, there is not much in the way of voice, but it is all good. Done without attempt at lip synch. Ambient noise is wonderful – creepy voices, creaking floorboards (or was that a door?), wind blowing through the gaps in walls. Great stuff. Music also good. Sometimes, after an important find, it wells up triumphantly. Other times, it sits quietly in the background murmuring about things that crawl in the dark.
A brilliant artist has made a pact with Death in order to save his wife and son. Now, he paints beautiful women, and they disappear. You are his latest victim. You are transported to his gloomy mansion, where you discover that your portrait is the means of your salvation. You must locate the 15 pieces of it to get home.
You are ‘at large’ only as long as it takes Stephan Black to paint a ‘painted prison’ for you, as he has done to the others. You must find and rescue them from their various cages into the ‘soul vial’ so that they can be returned to their own lives. To do this you must travel into the worlds of the paintings. One thing I like a lot about this game is that there are lots of paintings, not just 2 or 3, that we unlock and visit, even if just for a HOP.
As well as collecting pieces of your portrait, and souls of other victims, you will also need to collect 33 beads for the rosary a priest has given you in order to protect yourself from Death – anyone smell ‘big finale’ in that?
The adventure is easy but interesting. There are a smallish number of rooms in the mansion so far but plenty of paintings – at least half a dozen navigable ones so far... There is a directional hint which is more use than I like, because there is no indicators at all on the jump map. Hint and skip fill very quickly on lowest of 3 levels of difficulty. The mini-games are easy, and numerous, the HOPs are fewer. They are interactive lists by word or image.
One final unusual thing about this game – the map and the journal with your story notes are in the top righthand corner, while the task list is in the left bottom and the cherub is on the right bottom. I found it quite comfortable. A solution, perhaps, for those games that have just too many gadgets to keep organised when all down with the inventory interface.
The collectibles, which I think are essential to the game, are 30 rosary pearls. As well, there are morphing objects to collect and achievements. Standard gallery fare, bonus chapter and SG round things up.
I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this. The first of this series , Lord Of Mirrors, was an excellent HOG, even though the graphics were dismal. The 2nd game, Queen Of Death, was awful. The colours had me wanting to slash my wrists, and unfortunately the gameplay didn’t compensate that time.
This game is good on both fronts, and has an interesting story as well! While not one of the mega games, this is one I am looking forward to finishing. One last thing has me curious – there was an awful little girl in both the prequels, but I can’t see her showing up here... I just gotta know if she’s involved.
I recommend this game!