Witch Hunters: Full Moon Ceremony is a Hidden Object Adventure game from the Big Fish catalogue of titles. This particular offering is available in Standard and Collector’s Edition format with this review being based on the latter version of a game that deals with an attempt by a gang of evil witches intent on taking control of the world.
Along with the main game, this Collector’s Edition version comes with a bonus chapter that becomes available once the main game has been completed. There is also an integrated Strategy Guide and morphing objects to collect throughout the game plus various achievement awards for completing specific tasks. Other bonus items include wallpapers, soundtracks and concept art from the game and these are immediately accessible. Furthermore you can replay any of the mini-games at your leisure once they have been completed in the main offering.
As usual there are options to customise the playing environment. You can adjust the volume level for music and sound effects with the latter including the spoken dialogue by rather static characters. The game can be played in full screen mode although if you select the wide screen option then the screen unexpectedly shrinks in size. There are three difficulty levels as you make your choice from Casual, Advanced and Expert. These levels offer varying degrees of help as the speed of charging for the Hint and Skip features will be different and identifying sparkles will be reduced in the more difficult levels.
Following a brief introductory sequence that involves the arrival of a van belonging to an Antiques establishment containing a mirror and a cat amongst other items, your character awakes from a disturbing dream. Setting out to investigate some strange noises from outside the room, you can opt for an interactive tutorial to learn about the various types of mouse cursor and other features in the game. Your first task will be to collect a cat which then becomes your Hint feature.
Running across the bottom of the screen are the various tools available to you when in the game’s Adventure mode. Starting on the left will be a map which has the ability to immediately transport you between the different areas that make up the house and grounds in which you find yourself. As the game requires a great deal of backtracking as locations will be needed to be revisited several times, this map could prove invaluable in completing this game. Next to the map is your Note Book which divides its content between notes regarding your discoveries and the tasks that need to be completed. Positioned just below the Note Book is the game’s Strategy Guide which provides step-by-step instructions along with helpful screen grabs.
Taking up most of the area at the bottom of the screen is your inventory which holds the items you collect or are rewarded with for completing tasks. To the right of the inventory is the cat you picked up at the start of the game. When the Hint feature is selected this friendly feline will point you towards an area that needs further investigation or, in the case of Hidden Object scenes, the position of any item yet to be collected.
While on the subject of Hidden Object game play, this title follows a fairly standard path for this particular feature. You will be presented with a text list of items that need to be located within a cluttered scene. If an item is coloured green in the list then some additional action will be required before it can be selected. At the completion of a Hidden Object scene you will be rewarded with one of the items that have been discovered.
The game features puzzles of different types, some of which I have not seen before. Generally the puzzles are interesting with some involving hand-eye coordination while others rely more on using the grey matter. In some cases trial and error can be used to find the solution and allow you entry to another location or bring about a reward required latter in the game.
Basically, as mentioned earlier, the game involves a gang of evil witches who are planning to usurp a ceremony where the next New Moon Queen is being chosen. This ceremony requires a magic mirror to be present. The evil witches have broken this mirror and scattered it pieces in various locations. You will need to find the pieces and recreate the mirror so that the ceremony can go ahead. Unfortunately the evil witches are powerful and have a goblin to carry out their dirty work. Apart from the goblin, who is a bundle of energy, the witches are well drawn but rather static as they make their threats.
While some of the game’s special effects were certainly eye catching, there were a number of occasions when the screen went blank as the different scenes were loaded. This was on a system with specification that were well above those that that were listed for running this game. Generally I felt the game lacked a little in addictive quality although it was visually impressive. The game is currently available for downloading from the Big Fish website priced at £10.80. System specifications call for a 1.4GHz processor, 1024MB of RAM, DirectX 8.1 and 1375MB of hard disk space.
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