Rescue the Prince 

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A modern twist on a traditional tale forms the next game based on Hidden Object action.

Mystery Legends Beauty and the Beast The Collectors Edition
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Based, if only with regards to its title, on the original story of Beauty and the Beast, this next game takes its theme from the way beauty can overcome many obstacles.  In this case the Beauty of the product's title sets out to rescue a Prince who has been infected by the guiles of an evil enchantress.  The result of this spell is that the Prince has become the Beast of the story.  Under the influence of PlayPond, the developers, this classic tale has emerged as a Hidden Object game in which you need to rescue the Prince from the enchantment that has turned him into a statue with his soul broken into shards and scattered around.

While twiddling with the original classic story line, this computerised version of Beauty and the Beast offers the player a range of options for the playing environment.  Profiles can be created thus enabling different players to enjoy the game and have their progress record.  Adjustments can be made to features such as the volume levels for music, sound, ambience and voice dialogue delivered by voice actors.  There is a  choice of viewing the game in widescreen, regular or windowed mode with an easy, normal or expert level of difficulty.

As you might expect, your role in the game is the one who does all the work and that is Beauty who is actually called Belle.  After receiving a letter from Beck (one of the creatures of this magical kingdom) regarding the current state of affairs in the land, you decide to return home and see what you can do to help.

Arranged around the screen are the different tools provided to help with your task.  Surprisingly these tools do not include a Hint feature although there is a Strategy Guide to help if you get stuck.  While not offering suggestions as to what to do next, this Guide delivers step-by-step instructions with annotated screen grabs showing the positions of hidden objects or the solution to puzzles inserted into the game.  Partnered with the Strategy Guide are section for Journal and Map facilities.

As the mouse cursor travels around the various scenes making up the game, it will change shape to indicate when different actions are available.  In this way you are informed when actions such as examine an area, pick up an item or move in a specific direction would be advisable.

The game features a number of mini game puzzles.  Often these will require you to visit, or have visited, certain locations.  Some of these puzzles could involve opening a treasure chest by the arrangement and orientation of a series of decorated tiles; maybe positioned dog treats so they fit into an enclosed space; repairing a robodog; and following a path while checking in at various points plus catching a Leprechaun's shadow.  Variety is the spice of life in this kingdom.

Hidden Object game play is not forgotten in Beauty and the Beast.  Using the familiar combination of a cluttered scene and a text list of required items, you will be required to find the listed 12 items.  Assisting in this aspect of the game is a mirror feature which sits to the left of the required list.  By resting the mouse cursor on one of the listed items will result in its silhouette appearing in the mirror.  A double click on the mirror will highlight the item's position in the scene.  The mirror will take time to recharge itself after each use.

As you continue your quest to restore the Prince to his human form by solving puzzles, completing Hidden Object challenges, you will meet a selection of creatures and characters from other traditional tales.  On my journey I meet an owl, fox, robodog (once repaired), one of a party of three scarecrows, honey loving leprechaun, Alice in Wonderland, Hansel & Gretel and Gepetto to mention just some.  These acquaintances delivered their dialogue by voice actors and in text format.

With numerous tasks, excellent graphics and eye-catching animation plus spoken dialogue, Beauty and the Beast comes with some bonus items,  These items consist of a bonus chapter, top ten ranking list based on the time taken to complete the game and a digitised version of the  tale from Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont.

Beauty and the Beast requires a 1.4 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM and 992MB of hard disk space running Windows XP and later.  At the time of publication you can find Beauty and The Beast available from Amazon for £9.50.

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