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Assisting the Police
Adding to its numerous Hidden Object Adventure titles, Domini Games has released Criminal Archives – Alphabetic Murders as a Collector’s Edition offering that comes with a number of bonus items. Some of these bonus items can be accessed immediately while other will require progress to be made in the main game before they can be used.
As you might expect with a Domini Game’s title, the game supports the usual array of adjustable features that can be made to the gaming environment. Profiles can be created to store the progress of different players. Audio settings can be set for different volume levels used by certain gaming aspects. The game can be viewed in full screen mode with an adjustable gamma level and various features activated or blocked. When playing the game you have a choice of operating in Casual, Advanced, Hardcore or a Custom level of difficulty.
Your role in this adventure is that of a Crime Reporter who is called in by the police to help with their investigation into what appears to be three unconnected new murder cases. The game opens as you are asked by your police contact to investigate the recent murder of a young actor called Collin Cox. All the evidence you gather should be handed over to your police contact so that the police can further their own investigation.
While assisting the police, you will receive your own form of assistance with tools arranged across the bottom of the screen. A journal, with sections for automatic notes and tasks, will be partnered with a map showing available locations. Next in line is an inventory holding the items collected but you are restricted to showing just five items at a time. There are also short-cut access to a Strategy Guide and a Hint feature plus an occasional link to the previous scene. On the left of the screen is a pop-out icon that provides up-to-date information regarding collected miniatures, evidence and broaches gathered during the game.
As you check out different locations in a search for evidence and clues, your mouse cursor will change shape to undertake certain actions. In this way you could examine and pick up items plus move in different directions to check out other areas.
The game makes regular use of overlays to focus your attention on particular areas. A split screen approach will be used when various characters have information to impart. This information will be in text and spoken dialogue format. In some cases the responses you make to such situations can affect the flow of the story line.
From time to time your investigative process will be interrupted by the appearance of a mini game puzzle or Hidden Object scene. In both cases these types of interruptions will give you a choice as you select from two options. With a mini game puzzle, you can opt for either an Easy or Hard version while a Hidden Object scene allows you to switch to a Match 3 form of play if the Hidden Object challenge does not appeal. Once tackled in the main game, these mini puzzles and Hidden Object scenes can be repeated as part of the bonus items mentioned earlier.
As you investigation progresses, more details will be revealed and a masked stranger enters the picture. There is even a reference to the ABC murders although I am not sure how Agatha Christie and Poirot would react to this. Budding crime reporters can download this title from Gamehouse.com where it is priced at $19.99. The game requires a 1.7 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM running Windows 7 and later.
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