Return of the Snark
For those who have not previously encountered the Snark, I should explain that this is a creature that has the ability to use mirrors as portals to travel between different dimensions in time and space. As well as this unique (if you ignore Dr. Who), the Snark also has a weird sense of humour and likes to lead selected individuals on a merry chase as they attempt to capture it by collecting items to complete tasks. Now the Snark has returned for a second outing in Alawar’s Snark Busters: All Revved Up!
Rather than slipping back into the persona of Kira Robertson, as happened in the first game, this time you take on the role of Jack Blair, a world famous race car driver who has built up an impressive reputation on the Formula O circuit. The game starts with a tutorial (experienced Snark hunters can skip this training element) that leads you through the basics of the game and introduces you to the phenomena that is known as the Snark.
Following the tutorial, you discover a letter from Robert Blair, your grandfather who disappeared without trace many years ago in the middle of a Formula O race. Nothing had been heard of him until now. This letter challenges you to a race with the winner being the first one to catch the Snark. And so the hunt begins.
As with the original Snark title, All Revved Up combines elements of adventure game play as you travel backwards and forwards between locations, puzzle solving and hidden object searching. Exploring the various scenes, displayed in bright colourful graphics and appealing animations, you will need to find specified objects which are displayed in an inventory-like area running across the bottom of the screen. Each of the objects is divided into sections which you will need to locate individually. Initially some of the sections will be coloured red to indicate that they will not be immediately available. The red sections will remain hidden until you uncover them by moving an item or completing a task.
Once an object has been successfully found and completed then it will be made available for use somewhere in the current scene. You can then click on it and use it in order to carry out a particular task. Occasionally you will need to collect an item in one scene and then use it elsewhere. When this type of situation arises, the item will be automatically placed in a special compartment to the left of the general objects to be found and will remain available when you visit a new location.
Moving between locations can be carried out through the mundane method of walking in directions indicated by an arrow or stepping into one of the many portals that are identified by an outbreak of sparkles. Often you will need to backtrack, sometimes more than once, as you complete tasks that have an effect on other areas and solve puzzles that tend to increase in difficulty the further you progress in the game. If a puzzle proves too difficult then a skip option will become available after an appropriate delay.
Other forms of help are provided throughout the game. As mentioned earlier, directional arrows point to connected areas while sparkles pinpoint portals and specific areas of interest. Your cursor will change to a magnifying glass when over objects or an area that requires further investigation. There is also a Hint feature. This feature drops down a monocle-style magnifying glass over a yet-to-be-located missing section or shows an arrow pointing towards the next location.
From time to time you will have the opportunity to click on a television set and receive news about your disappearance and other related incidents. These reports, along with any conversations that take place, are delivered in text format. There are also some old-style cinematic cut-scenes linking the various segments of the game.
In total, the game consists of six chapters that take in 31 locations and 21 mini games with an unlimited supply of hints and tip. Giving many hours of amusing game play, Snark Busters: All Revved Up! is available for downloading with a sixty minute free play period. A payment of $9.95 will remove the time restriction. The game’s requirements call for a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 370MB of hard disk space and support for DirectX running Windows XP and later.
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