Dragons and Demons 

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While I am a big fan of Anne McCaffrey’s books on the Dragons of Pern, I had not previously encountered the Dragons of Derod.

avanquest guardian dragons game
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Guardian Dragons: The Prophecy is a Hidden Object Adventure game that is based on the novel by Falco Loffler.  The game is set in the world of Derod where dragons and demons have fought a long-running battle over the fate of mankind.  The dragons have always watched over man from afar and protected them from the constant attacks from the demons.  Many battles have raged until the demons were driven off beyond the Koan Mountains in the far northeast of Derod. 

Since then the dragons have taken it upon themselves to settle down in the Koan Mountains and their existence has passed into the realms of legend.  Through the passing of time, many people have ceased to believe that the dragons actually exist.  This is the environment you find yourself in as you take on the role of Seld Esan, a well-travelled person, who is the chief of Hequis a village situated in Northeastland.  It will be your task to save your people from the threat caused by Talut Bas, the new ruler of Derod ever since he had the previous and true sovereign of Derod executed.  You will also be asked to solve a mysterious prophecy that controls your fate.

Setting up your game profile for this mission allows you to adjust the volume levels for music and sound effects.  You also have the option of playing in full screen or windows mode.  There is no option to select from various difficulty levels as you tackle numerous tasks and mini games with the minimum of assistance and help.

Chapter based, with an opening tutorial sequence, the game use hand-drawn scenes.  Overlaid at the top of each scene is an area that displays the items making up the Search List that you need to locate either in the current scene or another than is accessible from where you are.  Items will be added to this area or removed as you complete tasks or are faced with new ones.  In many cases the items to be discovered are broken into sections which need to be located individually.

A similar, but smaller, area is positioned at the bottom of the screen.  This inventory area will shows the items or parts of items collected and available for use.  To the left of the inventory is a note book containing background information about the story and the main characters.  As you proceed through the game, more information will be revealed by the note book. 

A dragon, sat on the right of the inventory, acts as the rechargeable Hint feature.  The dragon is perched on top of five circles which need to be coloured red to indicate that the dragon is ready to assist you.  Unlike many Hint features, the one in this game will need recharging every time it is used, even when the assistance is little more than a direction to move to another scene.  Next to the dragon is the Goal button that will reveal your current task.

As already indicated, this game sets you a number of tasks, often chaining together several tasks which need to be tackled in a specific order.  Each task will require you to find items, not always in the current scene, and then use them to move onto the next task.  Generally tasks can be found in an area marked with sparkles.

As you move your mouse cursor around the scene it will change to indicate when you can zoom into an area for a closer look.  However, as the mouse cursor is rather small, as are the items you need to find, you will need excellent vision to recognise those areas you can zoom into and also locate the items you need.  The one exception to this is the directional arrows which appear when your cursor is close by one of the doorways to another scene.

From time to time a series of linking scenes will appear.  These scenes consist of a small window showing a character and their dialogue printed beneath the window.  The only way I could find to cut short these scenes, which did tend to be rather long-winded, was to press the escape key.

The game features a number of mini games of varying types.  Generally I found these mini games to be challenging and this was not help by the rather minimal instructions that appeared briefly.  Pressing the Goal button does reshow the instructions for a brief period.

Overall I felt that this game was more like hard work than an enjoyable experience.  It was not a game that I found hard to put down and I tended to stick with short sharp sessions rather than ones taking a couple of hours.  Priced at £5.10, Guardian Dragons: The Prophecy requires a 1,5GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM and 420MB of hard disk space running Windows XP and later.

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OverallAvanquest GSP Guardian Dragons: The Prophecy rated 40 out of 100

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