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When the game's developers go under the name of Ghost Ship Studio and the product's title forms part of Nightmare Adventures, you could reasonably suppose that the Witch's Prison will not be a walk in the park or filled with light and happiness. In fact this game relates the story of Kiera Vale as she sets out to explore the mystery of Blackwater Asylum in order to discover the truth of her ancestor's history.
Starting with the end of Kiera's tale, you are introduced to your on-screen persona as she is being questioned by some mysterious strangers as to why she was discovered on the premises of Blackwater Asylum. This introductory scene sets the pattern for the rest of the game as any dialogue used is delivered in just text format appearing at the bottom of the screen. You can either click through each portion of dialogue or opt for the Skip option and move on to the next part of the story.
Kiera's story begins as she receives a letter from Alton Quinn, the rather strange looking caretaker of the Blackwater Asylum. He suggests in the letter that he might have information regarding her past. You could never accuse Kiera of lacking a heavy dose of curiosity and so she sets off to meet this character.
Helping Kiera in her task to discover more about her family history are various tools. The game's mouse cursor will change shape to indicate when the different actions are possible. This will allow you to know when an item might prove useful when picked up or examined plus when a container can be opened. You could also be informed as to which direction could open access to other information.
Running across the bottom of the game's different scenes are Menu, Story, Inventory, Hint and Photo options. Taking up a central position is the Inventory holding items, collected at various times, until they are required. To the left of the inventory are shortcuts to the game's main menu and the Story feature which records all the actions that have gone on before. On the right side the Hint feature, which does take time to recharge after each use, will offer suggestions as to what actions could be carried out next. The Photo shortcut will record automatically captured images that contain possible clues.
Mixed in with the Adventure aspect of this game are various mini games plus on-going Hidden Object tasks. Rather than opt for displaying cluttered scenes with a list of items that need to be located, the game sets you the task to find certain objects that might be located in a general scene. Often this task will require a certain number of a required item. Mini game action often relies on the presence of a riddle or code that will need to be solved in order to make progress in the game.
Befitting this title's nightmare connection and the asylum location, many of the scenes making up the game have a dingy appearance. This helps create the appropriate atmosphere to suit the story line and fill it with dread and mystery. Lacking an addictive quality, the game is not one that I would consider replaying when nothing better to do. According to the product's packaging this game requires a 1.0 GHz processor with 512B of RAM and 227MB of hard disk space running Windows XP and later.
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