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I've loved the medieval era for a long time, and I've also loved adventure games, so when I discovered Secrets of DaVinci: the Forbidden Manuscript, it was a thrill to see my two loves blended into one. This is a terrific game and if you'd like to read my full review of it, please head over to Just Adventure.com to check it out.
Great review catbelly. I'm sticking my review here, too, for the sake of posterity. It was originally posted at Spyglass.
Well, well, well. A game with virtually no advance press, no hoopla, no nothing - and it's released within 2 weeks into direct competition with another game that has a similar title during a time period when many long awaited titles are unleashed. What's a gamer to think? Who will even find this title, much less play or review it?
I did. I found, I played, I conquered, then I rejoiced. For the first time in quite a while I loaded up an adventure game that kept me coming back to it to tinker around "just a few minutes more" only to find myself still glued to it an hour later, and maybe for another hour after that. And it wasn't even a RPG or action/adventure. This no longer ever happens to me, yet it did. I'm thrilled.
Leonardo Da Vinci has left behind a codex that is so valuable and rare that noone is even really sure it exists. My job was to find out whether it does exist, uncover it's location and procure it for an unknown 'employer' of mine. I begin my search at Le Chateau du Clos Luce in France. You know it - it's your dream house. And so my investigation begins...
So what's so great about the game? The flow, for one thing. Although I occasionally got hung up and thought I was stuck, I never really was. I would always trip over something new, something that had changed or something that would trigger an idea. The game constantly moved along and took me with it. I never felt swept away, bored, or left behind. This aspect is something I've really missed in adventure games recently.
The graphics were very well done. Some of the castle locations were a bit dark but remember it's supposed to be 1522 - a time when overhead lighting was a fistful of candles stuck in a wheel shaped thingie. There was a very realistic feel to every location. Some were cluttered with interesting stuff and others looked slightly neglected as though the caretaking was a bit too much for one or two people. The characters looked proportionate and real in the context of the game. Voice acting was pretty darn good for the most part and the conversation was brief, yet informative and timely. The music suited the time period and was in context during play.
What about the puzzles? This is the area that I felt the game really excelled in the most. The puzzles were logical. Wait, let me say that again. The puzzles were logical. That feels so good to say. Even the most difficult of them had a solution that was either amply clued for you or had a pattern that you would soon understand so you could complete it. For the most part there's no guessing about what to do, only figuring out the best way to do it. Huzzah!! Also notable is the fact that many of the things you need in inventory are available in more than one place or as more than a single object. Many things can be accomplished in a few different ways. When was the last time you needed to remove a lens and had a bunch of tools in your inventory and a couple of them were actually useful? You will not find yourself hunting for a rubber duck to stick gum on to open a sewer grate.
There are several endings to the game, making it replayable. Your character has a little devil in him sometimes, it's your choice how saintly you want him to be. Character development will ultimately influence the game and is fun to behold.
Computer Specs: Even the recommended computer specs are user friendly. I ran this game start to finish without a single glitch, hitch or crash.
Pentium III 800 Mz
64 MB RAM
CD-ROM 16 Bit
Graphics Card - 64 MB Dx 9 compatible
1.2 GB Hard Drive space
Normally I don't give games a rating but I will this time. I rate this game: extemely enjoyable.
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