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Preventing the Future
Joining the ranks of Grim Tales is the story of Heritage. Developed by Elephant Games, this offering is a Hidden Object Adventure game that is currently available from Big Fish Games and Gamehouse.com. I have been looking at the Collector's Edition of the game which comes with a number of bonus items.
As usual the bonus items forming part of the product are made up of elements which are split between those can be accessed immediately while other will require progress to be made in the main game before you can access their features. Making up the former category are offerings such as wallpaper, concept art, five music tracks and various collectibles. You can also access a number of screensavers but these are not usable until you find the missing segments concealed within the game. Other bonus items, available once sufficient progress has been made, include Archives, a secret room and a bonus chapter.
Along with the ability to create profiles to record the progress of different players, Grim Tales : Heritage allows you to make certain adjustments to the gaming environment. You can adjust the volume levels for background music, sound effects, environment and voice dialogue plus play the game in full screen mode with special effects turned on or off. When playing the game there is a choice of Casual, Advanced, Hardcore or Custom difficulty with varying degrees of help and recharging speeds.
Combining events in the future and gaming present, Grim Tales : Heritage places you in the role of Anna, an investigator, who agrees to help her friend Maureen Black. Out of the blue, Maureen has received a newspaper cutting, dated in the future, announcing her death. You need to discover what is going on and save Maureen from this predicted gruesome fate.
The well-drawn scenes, depicting the different locations making up this game, are overlaid with tools to help you complete the various tasks set by the game. Arranged across the bottom of the scenes is a centrally positioned inventory which can be locked in positioned or left to appear only when the mouse cursor enters its area. If an item in the inventory is accompanied by a plus sign then the item will need to be enhanced in some way before it can be used.
Tagged on to the inventory is a short-cut to reveal the current task needing to be completed. To the left of the inventory is the rechargeable Hint feature while a map, that can quickly move you to another previously visited location, is to the right. Tucked away on the top left side of the screen is a short-cut to the game's Strategy Guide featuring annotated screen grabs. Missing from this arrangement is a journal for recording your findings. You will have to carry out this task yourself.
The combination of present and future action allows for special effects to be integrated into the game. Some characters appear fleetingly, often uttering a warning, only to quickly disappear before you have time to fully register their presence. There was also a flash-back, or should that be a premonition, as Maureen is shown being thrown off a high building only for the image to remain long after the woman would have hit the pavement below.
Mini game puzzles and Hidden Object scenes are used throughout the game. In the case of mini game puzzles, these usually involve the use of tiles and photos which need to be swapped around to produce the desired effect. Required items, needed for later in the game, are awarded for the completion of these puzzles either as the result of your own efforts or when taking the Skip option.
A variety of formats, when displaying the required items, are used for Hidden Object scenes appearing in the game. Sometimes you will be asked to search for items listed in text format with some items listed in red to indicate when an additional task would be needed. On other occasions, the required items could be displayed as silhouettes or by words highlighted in a piece of dialogue. There are also occasions when you are required to locate a specific number of a type of object and even to replace the found objects in the scene.
While busy completing these tasks and solving the mystery of the announcement of a death in the future, you also need to be on the lookout for the different shards missing from the screen saver images plus different collectible items integrated into scenes. You will meet other characters who tend to have a habit of delivering their voice actor dialogue from an on-screen presence that was rather statue-like.
While the game's content was varied, well-presented and challenging, I felt the story line was rather confusing and I quickly put it to one side as I tackled the variety of tasks including a bonus chapter and a secret room where you need to collect a specific number of items that keep appearing and disappearing in a series of scenes. You can download this game from Gamehouse.com where it is priced at $19.99. The game requires a 1.8 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM and 916MB of hard disk space running Windows 7 and later.
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