The Ghost Ship
Ghosts have become a popular feature around which many games have been developed if the titles I have seen recently have anything to do with it. I seem to have been fed a game playing diet that has been heavily flavoured with spirit entities that need releasing from the ties that bind them to an earthly attachment. The latest such offering to come my way is The Treasures of Mystery Island: The Ghost Ship which, despite its title, contains many more ghosts that just a ship.
This game, developed by Alawar Five-BN, belongs to the hidden object adventure genre. You are cast in the role of a young woman reporter who sets out with a commission to write about the numerous stories and rumours concerning the strange happenings of 60 years ago when The Queen Margaret was hit by a tsunami. To carry out this task you plan to visit the island which is the centre of all the rumours and visit a friend who will help in your investigations
The game can be played in either Casual or Expert mode with the former cutting in half the amount of time required for recharging the Hint feature and highlighting any interactive zones. Following an opening introduction showing The Queen Margaret encountering the tsunami, there is a brief tutorial that introduces you to the various aspects of the game play involved in your investigation of The Ghost Ship.
This tutorial takes you through the task of preparing an aeroplane to fly you to theMysteryIsland. You will be introduced to the Find and Use bars which are interchangeable with a mouse click. The Find bar shows the items that have been broken up and scattered around that you will need to find. The Use bar is your inventory which holds the various items you find until you need to use them. In some cases not all the various bits and pieces will be immediately available for discovery. In such cases the relevant pieces will flash red and you will only be able to find them by using something from your inventory.
The rechargeable Hint feature sits on the right of the Find or Use bar. The more you use this feature, the longer it will take to recharge itself. Positioned just above the Hint feature is your Journal. This book will automatically record your findings and any information you come across during your investigation. There is also a map section which shows all the different locations in the four areas of the island. The map will show your current location and scenes that are locked and those that contain tasks that need to be completed. While you can not use this map to jump from location to location, it can help in showing the appropriate direction in which to move. The journal and map can be accessed at any time.
Expecting to be met by your friend on arriving on the island, you quickly find that you are on your own. The only inhabitants you seem to come across are various ghosts. They expect you to help them by returning to them articles they have lost. When you succeed in this task, the ghost will reward you with an item that you will need and leave behind a statue which you need to place on the Ghost Ship.
The various scenes making up this game will contain items you need to locate and various notes in the form of newspaper articles and letter from a shaman who is also intent of solving the mystery of the Ghost Ship and stopping a disaster that is expected to happen. Every single scene making up this game will need to be visited several times as many of the items you need to complete tasks in one area are located elsewhere. In some cases items will only appear when you are making a return visit and have completed other tasks.
At various point during the game you will need to complete puzzles. These have been carefully integrated into the storyline and should challenge you to complete them. A Skip option is available if any puzzle proves too difficult.
The game’s graphics are of a high quality with appropriate and realistic sound effects. As the ghosts do not seem to want to communicate, dialogue is kept to a minimum and is of the printed text type. This game should keep you entertained and challenged for many hours.
Priced at just $6.99, this game is a great bargain. System requirements call for a Pentium 4 or Athlon 1.5GHz processor with 256MB of RAM, 325MB of hard disk space with support for DirectX 9.0 running Windows XP.
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