Revenge of Doctor Blackmore
This story began with Haunted Halls: Green Hills Sanatorium when the evil Doctor Blackmore and his experiments made their initial appearance. Later Haunted Halls: Fears from Children continued the story and revealed further details of the Doctor’s work. In both cases your role was that of a young journalist intent of rescuing her boyfriend Tim from the evil Doctor’s clutches. Now we have the third instalment entitled Haunted Halls: Revenge of Doctor Blackmore. This game is available from Focus Multimedia in Collector’s Edition format.
Options are available from the game’s main title screen to make adjustments to features such as the volume level for music, sound effects and the voice dialogue delivered by various characters including the evil Doctor with his flying video communication device. You also have the opportunity to select which of the three game difficulty levels will suit your skill level. While Casual mode gives you a faster recharge of the Hint and Skip features plus helpful sparkles to identify active zones, recharging is slower and there are no sparkles plus you could receive a penalty for over-indulging in random clicking during a Hidden Object session when selecting either Advanced or Hard modes.
As usual with most Collector’s Edition games, you will need to complete the main game before gaining access to bonus game play, wallpaper, screensavers, concept art and music soundtracks. However you can make use of the integrated Strategy Guide when you need assistance to complete parts of this Hidden Object Adventure game.
Your role in the game is that of the same journalist who, yet again, needs to recue her boyfriend, Tim, who has managed to get himself taken prisoner by Doctor Blackmore for use in his experiments. Following an introductory sequence made up of dramatic newspaper headlines, you find yourself a prisoner of the half-man, half multi-tentacled serpent who we know as Doctor Blackmore. As you regain consciousness you discover that you are being observed by a kangaroo with some unusual human traits.
An option interactive tutorial will introduce you to some of the game’s features such as different cursors to indicate when specific actions are possible and a suitcase which contains your portable laboratory for carrying out the experiments needed to complete this game. Once you have found this suitcase, it will sit in the lower left corner of the screen along with your notebook which automatically records your discoveries and progress plus links to the integrated Strategy Guide and the game’s menu. The rechargeable Hint feature is located in the lower right corner. Running across the bottom of the screen is your inventory. Some of the items stored in the inventory can be used just once and will then disappear. Other items can be used more than once and remain until they are no longer needed.
The game’s various scenes have a somewhat old-fashioned look about them, partly due to their content and the style of graphics used for this game. When dialogue occurs this will be spoken and presented as text. Generally the voice actors make some effort to make their dialogue sound interesting but this is not always the case and there is at least one instance when the character sounds as if reciting a shopping list.
The game’s developers have opted for different styles of Hidden Object game play action. Sometimes you are presented with a text list of objects which you need to locate within a cluttered scene. On other occasions you need to locate objects from their silhouettes. Placing the mouse cursor over a silhouette will bring up a description as to what the object is. On at least a couple of occasions an element of puzzle solving is included as you will need to combine various objects and then use them to complete a task.
This game makes use of puzzle solving and following illustrated instructions for recipes and experiments. A reset button will be available in case you make a mistake and try to perform an action out of the correct order.
Spread over five chapters, The Revenge of Doctor Blackmore takes you on a journey involving Chicago, Chernobyl, Pompeii and Alaska. You will need to forget about the logic, as to how this is possible, and follow where the breadcrumbs lead you. The game is certainly challenging as you move around various locations. You will encounter some nightmarish situations as you need to come up with some ingenuous solutions to problems such as clearing away smoke with the help of a cat or creating a ladder from a tree trunk.
Focus Multimedia has priced this game at £10.20. You will need to be running a system with 1.4GHz processor, 1024MB of RAM, 662MB of Hard Disk space and support for DirectX 9.0 running XP and later.
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