Adventure is not my strong suit. I enjoy traveling; discovering other cultures and experiencing the quirks and differences in localities is something everyone should try to do. But if I were given the opportunity to hunt down a master criminal, one that is also dangerous and mysterious? Forget about it. In the newest point-and-click adventure game from Nordic Games and King Art, our protagonist, Constable Zellner, is far more courageous than most people (including me). He jumps right into this mystery, attempting to prove himself to the smug detective Legrand, the man who shot and killed the infamous criminal mastermind “The Raven” during a robbery – or so they think. A robbery at a British museum incites speculation that The Raven is still out and stirring trouble, or, even worse, a copycat who is far more dangerous and ambitious.
These events start the story off, and it intrigues you from the beginning. This is the first episode of a three-part story, which will be released one at a time to consumers. What makes this game so great in its mystery and puzzle aspects are the characters: they all have their little quirks, and are all possibile suspects for the identity of the Raven. They aren’t overtly suspicious, but the irregular behaviors of possible guilt leads the player to speculate who the culprit is. The characters are very real and three-dimensional, based in part by the excellent voice acting and well-written dialogue. The interaction with these characters are the best part of the game.
The gameplay is very straightforward; the player has an inventory, a journal, and a magnifying glass tool. The inventory (obviously) carries all of the player’s items, the journal records evidence and character studies, and clicking on the magnifying glass reveals all of the objects in the area ready for analysis. These utilities are all accessed with the mouse, and we move Constable Zellner to the direction we click in. This simplicity adds to the charm; instead of being faced with complex gameplay, the player focuses more on solving the puzzles and moving the story along. The puzzles are often very easy, but some can get tedious and require logical problem-solving to get around them. The solutions to some of these puzzles were hilariously unnatural, and only by a stroke of luck was I able to get it. Those challenges never frustrated me enough to cause admit defeat, however, as the intrigue and trying to delve deeper into the story was top priority. King Games have put an effort to create logical puzzles that aren’t absolutely ridiculous, and they do quite a good job.
The music sounds very pleasing and it is clear they put some time into composing some of the pieces. They can get quite repetitive after a while, but overall the score is soundtrack-worthy. This music also accompanies the cinematic characteristic of this game, as it plays out much like a Spielberg-inspired detective movie.
Unfortunately, these effective aspects of the game have some hindrances. The graphics, although aesthetically pleasing with its contrasting and beautiful color palettes, look old fashioned; the models of the characters look impressive for something we would see around 2005. Another negative characteristic which prevented full engagement was the movement and glitches of some of the characters. At times, Zellner would walk in directions completely different from what I had clicked, only to get back where he was before. Some of the characters wouldn’t even appear to be talking to you when they so obviously were supposed to.
The first part of this series has made me hungry for more. I will be waiting for the second and third parts, as the anticipation was effectively built up in this introduction.
“Eye of the Sphinx” is the first part of “The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief”.