An Island Adventure
Developed by Seven Sails, Obscure Legends: Curse of the Ring is a Hidden Object Adventure game. Your role in this game is that of a sea captain whose ship is wrecked in a violent storms in the Caribbean Sea in 1875. You find yourself, as the sole survivor, cast ashore on a mysterious island that is home to a strange character with glowing green eyes.
Following a brief introductory animated sequence, which can be skipped with a mouse click, you arrive at a title screen which gives you the option of creating profiles for individual players. You can adjust the volume levels for music, sound effects and ambience with plenty of running water plus decide whether to play in full screen mode and use a custom cursor.
Four levels of difficulty are available when playing this game. At the easiest level of Casual mode you get a fast charging of the Hint feature, sparkles to indicate areas of interest, skippable puzzles and no penalty for mis-clicking. Normal mode slows down the Hint charging, only uses sparkles to indicate Hidden Object scenes, has skippable puzzles but will penalise you for mis-clicking when looking for items. Hard mode provides no hints or sparkles, does not allow you to skip puzzles and will penalise you for mis-clicking. The final mode, entitled Custom, allows you to cherry pick from the available settings.
An optional tutorial will introduce you to the various cursors that are used throughout the game. You could encounter cursors shaped as a hand, magnifying glass, arrow or a set of gears. These cursors will indicate objects that can be picked up, areas to investigate further, the directions in which you can move and problems that need to be solved.
Running across the bottom of the screen are the different tools available to you. Arranged from left to right are your diary, map, menu, lockable inventory and Hint feature. Later the Hint feature will be joined by Mr. Gibbons, a macaw, who can be used to collect objects out of your immediate reach. Incidentally the map is the type that indicates locations where tasks need to be completed and will also transport you to a specified location.
As you make progress through the game, and inroads into the island, you learn more about the story of Captain Roger Langley, around whom this story is based. Having met and fallen in love with Claire, Langley is denied permission to marry Claire by her father. However the couple are not to be denied and escape aboard Langley’s ship. Unfortunately their ship is wrecked in a storm. The young couple and some crew members find themselves on the strange island where a strange ring is found. On putting on the ring, Langley’s character undergoes a complete change and he becomes a pirate with glowing green eyes. Claire’s death does not help matters. This is the situation that you need to resolve in the Curse of the Ring.
A couple of Langley’s crew are still around and can provide you with some assistance. As mentioned you find a macaw that can collect items that are too far away for you to reach. You also encounter Claire’s ghost from time to time and she is keen to help.
A great deal of moving around the different locations, making up the island, is required. The map feature can help in this respect as it can transport you to previously visited locations. One particular item you will need to be on the look-out for is money in the form of coins. Any money you find can be used to pay for the repair to the damage done to your ship during the storm. When spending your money you will be shown an image of your ship with the current state of damage. By moving your cursor around the image, you will be shown the cost of the repairing each element.
The game has its fair share of Hidden Object games. These will initially offer a jumbled scene with a text list of items that need to be located within the scene. Any item coloured yellow in the list will require an additional task before it can be found. Each Hidden Object scene will give you the option of switching to a game of Mahjongg at any time during the session. You will be rewarded with one of the found items at the conclusion of whichever type of game you select.
As well as the Hidden Object / Mahjongg game play, Curse of the Ring has a number of mini-game style puzzles. These episodes are varied in both type and difficulty. Apart from Hard mode, you are given the option to skip any puzzle that might provide too difficult for you to solve. I was tempted more than once.
Obscure Legends: Curse of the Ring does take a little while to draw you into the storyline. Graphics are reasonable without being exception and lack a little in background animation. The lack of spoken dialogue is a disappointment and I felt the game ending could have been stronger. I had downloaded my version of the game from Gamehouse.com where the game is available at a price of $9.99. System specifications call for a 1.4GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM and 260MB of hard disk space running Windows 7 and later.
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