More Nightmares from the Deep
Available from Avanquest GSP game catalogue, Nightmares from the Deep: The Siren’s Call is a Hidden Object Adventure game in Collector’s Edition format. Along with the main game, this title comes with a number of bonus items, the majority of which are immediately available. Right from the start you can access the concept art, cut-scenes, Hidden Object puzzles, wallpaper, music and the Strategy Guide. The only item not available until the main game has been completed is the bonus adventure of the Book of Davy Jones.
Before starting the game there are a number of selection and adjustment options available. Although the game recommends that sound should be turned up for the best experience, you can adjust the volume levels for music and sound effects plus activate the voice-over feature so that dialogue is delivered by voice actors as well as being printed. You can also opt for a custom cursor, full screen view and select from three difficulty levels. With a choice of Casual, Advanced or Expert mode, there are different rates of charging for the Hint and Skip features, sparkles or no help to indentify interactive and Hidden Object areas, penalty rates for mis-clicking, and a map with different features including instant transportation between locations.
Cast in the role of Sarah Black, the curator of a Caribbean museum where strange things have been known to happen, an optional tutorial will introduce you to the different types of mouse cursor as you interact with objects, move in specific directions and converse with other characters. As with The Cursed Heart, you are quickly involved in an adventure that involves sea creatures, such as a Kraken and a mermaid who is also the Siren of the title, ship wreckers and evil forces. This time you are helped by a fisherman of sorts who is involved in a close relationship with a mermaid named Calliope.
Your full screen view when in adventure mode, displays the inventory of the items you have collected across the bottom of the screen. To the right of the inventory are the Hint features (replaced by the Skip feature during puzzles) and the Strategy Guide with screen grabs and instructions. Initially the left of the inventory will consist of a Diary which automatically records your progress. Later the Diary will be joined by a map which, depending upon the difficulty level, will indicate possible locations and where tasks need to be completed plus it can immediately transport you between locations.
This game uses cut-scenes far more frequently than most other games to link together, and help speed up, the story line. You do have the option to cut short these sequences as well as the various conversation scenes dotted throughout the game. I felt the cut-scenes, while well designed and often dramatic, appeared far too frequently for my taste as they tended to interrupt my playing action.
The puzzles used in this game show a great deal of thought. They are both innovative and challenging. They often contain a number of layers. By solving one part of the puzzle, you are then lead on to other elements which need to be solved in sequence in order to progress. A Skip option becomes available after a suitable delay if a particular puzzle proves to be too difficult.
As with the puzzles, the developers of this game have put their own slant on the Hidden Object aspect of The Siren’s Call. Depending upon the point in the game, you could encounter one of the two different types of Hidden Object game play. The more familiar style of presenting the user with a text list of items to be found makes use of two different colours in the text list. Items not listed in black will require an action to be completed before it can be selected. Once all the items in the list have been located, then an additional object will need to be found and this will become your reward.
With this standard form of Hidden Object game play, you have the option of playing a game of Mah-jong instead. Each pair of gold tiles removed will count towards one of the items in the text list. Standard Mah-jong rules apply in selecting matching tiles.
The second type of Hidden Object game play involves finding items in sequence. As an item is located, it can be used in some way to reveal the next item which, in turn, then performs a similar task. The items you need to locate can be identified by outlined shapes shown beneath the scene.
The game’s graphics and sound effect are both excellent while the voice actors get under the skin of their characters. Although well thought out, the story line is not shy in purloining ideas from various sources but the overall result is of a fairly challenging game that will provide many hours of enjoyable game play and at the end you can then tackle the Book of Davy Jones.
As mentioned this game is available from Avanquest priced at £10.20. System requirements call for 2.0GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and 2GB of hard disk space running Windows XP and later.
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