The Legacy of the Phoenix 

The Empress of the Deep returns for the third instalment of this Hidden Object Adventure game as twin sisters take on the faces of good and evil.

avanquest empress of the deep 3
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Legacy of the Phoenix is the third title in the Empress of the Deep series featuring the on-going conflict between Anna and her evil twin sister Pandora.  This Hidden Object Adventure game is now available on the Avanquest GSP label in Collector’s Edition format.  As usual with Collector’s Edition titles, there are some bonus items which can be unlocked as you progress through the game plus a Strategy Guide that is available immediately.

Once the game is installed, you can create profiles for individual players with adjustable sound levels for background music, voice dialogue and sound effects plus full screen viewing and a custom cursor.  Three levels of difficulty are available.  Providing the most assistance is Casual mode with faster recharges, more hints and navigation aids plus no penalty of mis-clicks.  Expert mode reduces the number of hints and navigation aids while in Hardcore mode you are left to your own devices.

As mentioned earlier, this game is based on the conflict between the twin sisters with your role being that of the good twin, Empress Anna.  Having seamlessly thwarted the threat of Pandora by incarcerating her in an underwater prison, things seem to be fine.  However the situation changes as Pandora is again causing problems and threatens the Lost Tribe who had fled earlier as a result of the work of Pandora.  So once again Anna must set out to defeat Pandora and undo the evil she has let loose.

Unlike most games, the Legacy of the Phoenix has two starting points.  Actually the first starting point is a kind of preview as Anna needs to escape a burning palace that is floating in midair.  To help with this task there is the ghost of Jacob, an old friend, and an ancient Phoenix who has seen better days.  As with the rest of the main game which follows, this introductory section is task based.  You will need to carry out various actions in order to make progress with or without the assistance of an option tutorial which explains about the different cursors.

Positioned across the bottom of the screen is an inventory which remains hidden until called into action.  Large thumbnails of the items collected are held in the inventory until they are used.  The rechargeable Hint feature sits on the right of the inventory. To the left of the inventory is a journal which records your progress, contains a map which gradually reveals more of the land as you explore further, and the amulets you collect.  While on the subject of items collected, you need to be on the look for fairies who, once captured and bottled, can provide you will the power to achieve certain tasks and cats who leave behind coins that will prove useful.

The top right corner of the screen hold the game’s main menu for when you want to take a break from assisting Anna in her quest.  Taking over the left corner is the Strategy Guide.  This can offer step-by-step guidance plus screen shots.

There are numerous picturesque landscapes with various intricate pieces of machinery, animations and force fields that need to be deactivated in order to gain entry into important areas as you search for the relics required to complete the designated tasks.  As the map does not possess the ability to transport you between locations, you need to be on the look-out for Transports which can move you to another location when fed a cat coin. 

From time to time you will receive disembodied vocal instructions as to what is required next.  A great deal of back-tracking will be required and not all your actions in this magical world will seem logical but help, especially in Casual mode, is available with even the Hint feature reminding you of items missed and their location when it is called upon.  Linking sequences join together the various sections of the Anna challenges.

Hidden Object game play is anything but standard although there are instances when you are required to find listed items in a close-up scene.  In some cases you will need to pair circular segments with their actual position in a scene.  You can either drag the segment to its position or click the position for the match to be made.  There will also be instances when the fairies, using their magical abilities, morph themselves into objects, which you need to locate as they change between shapes.

As usual there are puzzles or mini-games which need to be solved in order to make progress.  While these puzzles are not the hardest I have encountered, they are well though out and appropriate to their appearance in the game.

Once the main game has been completed then you can call on the Blue Whale to gain access to a bonus chapter.  Complete the bonus chapter and capture all the escaped cats will open the mysterious Tower of Zen which offers its own challenge.  After completing the Tower of Zen you will be able to play the Zen 2 match-3 game and access concept art.

Legend of the Phoenix is certainly challenging and visually impressive.  The story line could flow better but this is my only criticism of the game.  Priced at £5.10, Empress of the Deep 3 requires 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 900MB of hard disk space running Windows Vista and later.

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OverallAvanquest GSP Empress of the Deep 3: Legacy of the Phoenix rated 80 out of 100

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