Secrets of the Dark: Eclipse Mountain
You do NOT have to play the first game in order to understand this one.
We have standard options on this one, with separate sliders for music and sound, full-screen, widescreen, and custom cursor. The image stretches nicely for widescreen without looking distorted, and without black bars on the sides. We have regular, advanced, and hardcore modes to choose from, and I chose the middle of the road with advanced. Just a note that there are NO sparkles in advanced and hardcore mode, and that includes those for HOS! The tutorial is optional (unless you're on hardcore mode, in which case you don't even get the option
We've got something I've never seen as a helper for this one -- a talking lotus flower
has five pages by the time we find our first entry, giving generalities about the first game that gives us some reminders whilst simultaneously NOT giving us any spoilers! Nicely done! This journal has something I've never seen before, and that is the ability to replay cutscenes right there in the midst of our writings.
The hidden object scenes
are different in this one. Sometimes we have lightly interactive HOS (items in yellow need some kind of interaction,) and other times we need to return items to the scene. If you don't know what the items are, mouse-over them, and it will tell you (ie. the strange-looking rectangle is a box of matches.) There IS a rapid-misclick penalty. You will revisit HOS multiple times, though on the plus side, every time you visit a scene you will be looking for items -- they don't repeat.
At one point I tried to use something that wouldn't work in the situation and got the following: "Garden shears just won't cut it in this situation."
It's possible that the pun wasn't intentional, but it gave me a giggle, nonetheless.HINTS
refill at different rates depending on which difficulty setting you have chosen. Using a hint during the adventure portion will simply tell you there is nothing to do in that location at the present time. No directional arrow but at least it doesn't discharge your hint!
There is NO map
are doable, though I got impatient and skipped a few
All puzzles can be reset, and instruction is available if desired. Be aware that on puzzles that require you to reassemble a picture, the solution (what the final image is supposed to look like) is clearly pictured in the instructions, so if you want to figure it out for yourself, don't look! Some of the puzzles repeat, though they can amp up in difficulty as you go along.
For those not familiar with the series, some scenes will morph into something else when the lighting in the room changes. It's a very cool effect, and something I really enjoyed seeing in the first game. The overall feeling is very similar to the first game, despite having a completely different setting. There is a lot of traveling back and forth, which is actually something I enjoy, but the fact that hidden object scenes are NOT indicated by sparkles (in advanced or hardcore mode) makes the game significantly more difficult. With no directional hint and no map to show you where active areas are, it can quickly become frustrating. I had to resort to the walkthrough multiple times because I kept missing the HOS!
It's a very good game, but the frustration lessened my enjoyment a bit. As it stands, I have no interest in upgrading to the Collector's Edition, though I do not regret buying the game