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A Case of Gothic Fiction 

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Starting at a new school can be difficult, especially one run by an evil witch.

Gothic Fiction Dark Saga

Now available on the budget BlackLime label, Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga is classified as an Hidden Object Adventure title.  Developed by ERS Game Studio, you are cast in the role of a young mother who will do anything to rescue her daughter from the clutches of an evil witch.

Allowing different people to play the game and have their progress recorded, the game supports the creation of profiles.  Options are available to adjust the volume levels for background music, sound effects and voice dialogue delivered by voice actors.  The game can be viewed in either full or wide screen mode with a custom mouse cursor.  You are given a choice of three difficulty levels when playing the game.  These levels, namely Casual, Advanced or Hard, provide a different speed rate of charging the Hint and Skip features plus whether sparkles are used to indicate areas of interest.

The game starts as you have been offered a job in the small town of Blenger.  As part of the relocation progress, brought on by this new job, you will need to find a new school for your daughter Hannah.  The chosen establishment for Hannah education is a private school some 20Km from Blenger.  On arriving at the school, your daughter is suddenly whisked away by an evil witch and plant life takes over the school building, leaving you to combat and defeat this power of evil.

Arranged across the bottom of the well-drawn scenes making up this game, are the various tools at your disposal for taking on the power of the witch.  Taking up a central position is an inventory holding the various items collected on a regular basis for use later in this adventure. 

To the left of the inventory are icons giving access to a map and notes.  While not possessing the ability to transport you between locations, the map does show features such as the current location, main quest and objectives under headings listed as grounds, school, technical, Admin building and Chapel.  The Notes tool will automatically record and interesting information and images gathered. 

On the right of the inventory is the Hint feature and a book which will hold the pages you collect throughout the game.  This book will tell the witch's story.  Additional assistance is provided by the mouse cursor which changes shape to indicate when certain actions can be carried out.

Earlier I mentioned that this game was classified as an Hidden Object Adventure game with references to this genre on the front and rear of the product's packaging.  However I quickly realised that as far as Hidden Object game play was concerned, this title was completely different from any other Hidden Object offering I had encountered.  The game does not feature the familiar arrangement where items have to be located from a cluttered scene.  The only way you might justify the game's Hidden Object classification would be with regards to the collection of the pages for the witch's book and maybe portions of Mystic Energy dotted throughout the game.  The pages of the book are concealed within containers or under items while the Mystic Energy portions are hidden within paintings.

While identifiable Hidden Object scenes might be missing, the game does contain a range of mini game puzzles.  These puzzles often appear on doors and will require the addition of an item to activate them.  They need to be solved in order to make progress.  Some of the puzzles involve placing medallions in the appropriate container, swapping segments to create images, produce a power flow and arm a knight with the correct weapons to defeat a series of three witches.  A skip option becomes available should a puzzle prove too difficult.

The game's story line was a little disappointing as you are directed along a set path.  Unlike some other titles, you quickly discover that the objects you collect are almost immediately put to some use to complete a set task.  Despite its well-drawn scenes and eye-catching animations, this game failed to appeal to me.  Amazon has this title listed at £8.95 but bargain hunters might like to pop along to Big Fish Games where it is available for $2.99.  The game requires a 1.4 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM and 586MB of hard disk space running Windows XP and later.

Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga > iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac & PC Game | Big Fish (bigfishgames.com)

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OverallERS Game Studio Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga rated 64 out of 100

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