Maestro 4: Dark Talent
(IHOG)This is a standalone storyline, with a very different style of gameplay than in the first two games.
Options include separate sliders for Music, Sound and Voice, Full-screen, Widescreen and Custom Cursor. Choice of three difficulties, which can be changed at any time.Story
You've earned a break from your detective duties, and have plans to spend an evening at the opera with friends. What starts out as a pleasant night quickly turns to horror when The Diva takes the stage. Now it's a race against time to save your friends - and the town - from her wicked spell.
The story progresses through a series of cutscenes and via notes/clues that we find as we play. We have NO Journal
in this one, but there's only one puzzle that you'll need to remember the solution for, and it's right nearby.Gameplay
Be on the lookout for some "Collection Items". I'd call them cursed objects, but that term has already been used by a different series ;D They're hard to miss, as they have a moving gray shadow around them.
We have an interactive MAP,
which can also used for instant-transport. You'll have to hover your mouse over a location to see a popup and whether or not there are any objectives left to be met there. Anywhere you've completely finished will be marked, as well.
Using a HINT
during the adventure portion will either point out an area of interest, or give you a directional arrow. Although we have a map this time, the devs kept to their formula of keeping the active zones to a small area to cut down on backtracking.
Some of your inventory items are interactive, and are marked with a gear. Simply click on the item to zoom in, and from there you can mess with it or use other inventory items on it.
We also have a very cool plot device in the form of a ghost-dispelling amulet
. This amulet is part of our toolbar, and can be used whenever it glows... The catch is that it won't work without gems, and every time you use it, the gems are destroyed. Fear not, though, more gems are hidden about the city.
The Hidden Object Scenes
are super-interesting and highly-interactive... at first. At the beginning of the game, you'll find items by silhouette and use all of the items in the scene like a puzzle (twice), have one scene where every single item listed is interactive, and have an interactive find-x-number-of-items scenes twice. After that all of the HOS will be your standard find-by-list with light interaction (items listed in red need some kind of action first).
The HOS in this game were surprisingly easy. Nothing was really well-hidden, just there, so the scenes don't take long to complete.
A HUGE difference in this game is that you can do a matching game instead of hidden object scenes
, and you can switch back-and-forth at will. The matching game is basically a memory game, and every pair that you find will remove one item from your to-find list.
Some of the Puzzles
were absolutely delightful, and I'd say that most of them were pretty fun to play. Once again, the difficulty ranges from simple to moderately-hard.Sights and Sounds
This is the least-spooky tale of the three Maestro games that I've played, with nary a dead body nor skeleton to be found... and only one spider! lol~
The graphics are consistently nice, and the voice overs are pretty good for an IHOG! I would swear that one of the characters we talk to throughout the game is voiced by the same person who did James, the good-looking Asian kid from The Walking Dead: The Final Season.
The music and sound effects really didn't stand out to me, except that the Diva's singing was pleasant.CE Content
- Integrated Strategy Guide
- Bonus Chapter
- 6 Wallpapers
- 4 Music Tracks, which includes the sheet music
- 12 Concept Art
- "Collection Items" (found both in the main game and the bonus)
- 3 Screensavers
- 10 Replayable Cutscenes
- 10 Replayable HOS
- 19 Replayable Puzzles
The first question is, "How the heck to I access the Bonus Chapter??" and here's your answer: When you go to the Extras scene, just click 'Play' down at the bottom.
The extra chapter takes place not long after the main game ends, and involves the disappearance of your friend Kate's father. The gameplay mimics what we had in most of the regular game, and I think I liked it a little bit more! I don't really understand the ending of the bonus, but maybe it will be explained in game #5. *shrugs*Verdict
The gameplay and features of this fourth installment are wildly different than in the first two games of the series, but - having played 1, 2 and 4 back-to-back, I recognized some of the puzzles and tasks that we needed to do. Dark Talent
really didn't feel spooky to me at all, which is definitely a big change.
The hidden object scenes were much easier than I'm used to, there were some really fun puzzles, and I liked that we had the option of playing a matching game instead of doing the HOS. The adventuring-to-hidden objects ratio seemed pretty balanced, meaning that there was more adventure to this title than in previous games.
Although there was some questionable logic (REALLY questionable at one point), this was still an enjoyable game, and one which I recommend to IHOG-lovers, and to those who are interesting in trying an Adventure-Memory-matching-game as a change up.