Victorian Mysteries 1: Woman in White
(IHOG)2013 review updated after re-playing in 2019SNAKE WARNING
! There is one very large, hungry snake that you have to interact with rather early on. CIRCLE OF LIFE WARNING
! For those very sensitive to such things, we will end up having to feed this snake... and snakes are not vegetarians by any stretch of the imagination. We do not SEE it happen, but we still have to give something to the snake.
Options include separate sliders for music and sound, plus full-screen and custom cursor. At full-screen the graphics did not look stretched at all, and no black bars on the sides. You can choose between Casual and Expert, and the tutorial is optional.Story:
The opening scene is semi-long, skippable and voiced over. It sets the tone of the mystery quite nicely, not to mention the reason WHY we are trying to find our own way into the manor, so I recommend watching it, especially since this game is so rich in story!
We have a wonderfully-detailed Journal
with three tabs: Story, Family Tree and Characters. The story tab is our basic journal, whilst the other tabs help us keep track of whom we meet and how they are related. Clicking on a picture in the family tree will automatically open the character section with a description of that person. The Family Tree section gives us quick links to information, not only to the characters we've met, but also to clues that we find during the game. If you look early on, you'll see that surrounding the family tree area are 20 locks. As you find story-related items, they will replace one of the locks, and clicking on the picture will take you to the article so that you can read it. We get a LOT of extra story this way, something I really love.
If you like less story in your games, you can cut right past a lot of the dialogue by choosing the third option whenever you are presented with dialogue choices.
A lot of clues go right into your journal without looking at them first, as well, but why-oh-why would you want to skip the story?? Gameplay:
Beneath the journal is a Task/Map
button. Our current location is indicated, it does not show active areas and there is no instant transport. HINTS
are refillable at varying rates, depending on which mode of play you've chosen. If you are on a scene that needs something done, using the hint will point out the area, even if you don't have the inventory to do the interaction yet, and it does discharge your hint. There is an automatic "There is nothing left to do here" message, and the hint is unavailable on these scenes.
There are no instructions for puzzles unless you want them -- Just click on the question mark at the top left of the puzzle pop-up box. The mini-games
ARE skippable, but they are not terribly challenging, and I completed all of them without any trouble.Hidden object scenes
can be lightly interactive - although most are not - but interactive items are not marked in any way. You can get up to FIVE usable items per scene, which I really like. There is a misclick
penalty if you misclick five times in a row.
There are limited locations to visit per chapter, at least at first. It seems
like this is going to be a short game, considering the number of locations we have, but there is a lot to do and discover, and later on more locations will open up. HOS do NOT repeat, and there is a heavy adventure feeling to the game, with HOS nicely balanced throughout. Later in the game we have quite a few locations open to us at once, and just wandering to the correct scene will get the story to progress. The message that there is nothing to do on that scene is quite helpful during this part of the game.
The story takes an unexpected turn towards the end, and what follows are some truly chilling encounters. The game gives us a solid ending, and we are left with "a story for another day," which I assume is what the next game, Victorian Mysteries 2: The Yellow Room
I have a few minor gripes: You will have to watch a short intro every time you enter the game, the pop-up screens have to be closed manually instead of just clicking on the background, and it would have been nice to have a separate slider for voices. As things stand you have to turn the sound WAY up to hear the dialogue, and the voice actors did an excellent job, so I really wanted to hear it. :p
There is one last thing to mention, and that is the Secrets
portion of the main menu, which is not accessible until you finish the game. Clicking on this button will allow you full access to your journal so that you can review the many documents and other additions at your leisure.
This isn't a built-in strategy guide, so here's a handy walkthrough
in case you need it.Verdict:
A lot of the graphics are dated, but they're still beautifully tone-setting. This game has a very interesting story, and the fact that what I had assumed
would happen DIDN'T made it all the more enjoyable. Recommended to adventure and IHOG fans, as well as those who enjoy a good story!