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Search for a Cure 

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If you play your cards right, you could save the world from a dangerous virus.

One popular feature found in the various releases of Windows has to be the Solitaire card game of Freecell.  In the past I have spend many hours playing this game of card manipulation to produce four suits of cards stacked in piles from the Ace upwards.  Sad-to-say my Freecell playing sessions have been reduced considerable in more recent times for a variety of reasons.  Fortunately a reprieve has arrived in the form of Dark Solitaire - Search for a Cure to assist any possible withdrawal symptoms.

This game is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth.  Following the devastation caused by war, a dangerous virus was taking its toll on what was left of civilisation.  You have been assigned the task of discovering the cure for the plague and save humanity.  The solution to discovering the cure is to be found in completing 80 levels of Solitaire Freecell game play.   These levels have been divided up into eight groups that need to completed in sequence.

A choice of four different card backs are available in this game.  With the front face cards in the pack, rather than displaying the traditional designs, opting for images  of the team who are searching for the cure.  The other cards in the pack have a more traditional look with the appropriate layout of suit symbols.  The actual layout of the cards is presented against a backdrop of the devastated ruins of a lab where the research is being conducted.

When playing the game, the  first block of ten Solitaire levels present a fairly standard layout of its cards.  There are two groups of available spaces for temporally storing cards not immediately needed plus a further group of spaces that need to be used for stacking up the necessary Ace to King piles for the four suits of Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades.  Taking up the rest of the screen area will be the pack of cards laid out in a number of rows facing upwards so that a strategy plan can be put in action to clear the pack and create the necessary suits.

As long as spaces are available, cards can be moved as a single unit or a sequenced group.  Until some versions of Freecell that I have played, this version does not put any restriction on the number of cards being moved at one time to an empty column.  The game does give you access to an Undo feature in case you change your mind over a move as you examine different strategies.

Having completed the initial group of Solitaire levels, I initially thought I had detected an error in the software when I noticed that there were two "Six of Spades" cards in the main layout.  But this was not a mistake, rather a feature of this version of Solitaire.  Dark Solitaire does not restrict itself to just using a basic four suit pack of cards, instead it doubles up on its Spade suit so you have two such suits to collect.  Not only do you have an extra suit but you are gain access to five suit piles and five temporary storage suit.  Rather than making the game more difficult, I felt the extra suit made completing the level slightly easier.

As you progress through the subsequent groups of ten levels, other adjustments will be made to the available resources features within the game.  The number of storage slots could be reduced or increased while the suit piles could also be increased.  In this latter case an extra pile for a second set of Hearts could be added to those already there.

I felt the game would have benefitted a little from some indication as to which level you were currently working on and some linking sequences between the eight groups of Solitaire levels.  You can download this game from Gamehouse.com where it is priced at $9.99.  The game requires a 2.0 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM and 131MB of hard disk space running Windows 7 and later.

Dark Solitaire - Search for a Cure | GameHouse

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OverallDark Solitaire - Search for a clue rated 84 out of 100

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