Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
The Druids were a religious order of Celtic priests in prehistoric and preChristian Britain, Ireland and France. The word means 'oak-wise', and they were so called because of their habit of meditating for enlightenment under oak trees. Like the Hindu Brahman of the East, they were both widely respected and greatly feared because of their superior knowledge and occult powers, which were handed down from generation to generation. Among other things it was said that the Druids were proficient in astronomy, taught reincarnation ..... and practiced human sacrifice, both voluntary and involuntary! And Stonehenge, that circular arrangement of perfectly aligned monoliths in England, was apparently built by them, although exactly how or for what purpose is not really known.
But it is precisely because so little is actually known about the Druids that so many wild and horrible stories have been told about them. This is one such fantastic tale: a well written but very gruesome murder mystery that takes place in both the present and the distant past.
In the prologue we travel back in time to witness a strange and foreboding Druidic ceremony. Faced with their own ultimate extinction by the new religion of Christianity, the pagan Druid priests have come up with a plan for survival, and they have strapped 5 helpless babies to an altar in Stonehenge. But as we watch in horror, much to our surprise the infants are not sacrificed. Instead we see a much larger sacrifice take place, one that is FOR the babies ..... and it imbues them with a supernatural, demonic power!
Now it is 1000 years later and you are young Brent Halligan, a police detective with Scotland Yard who has been ordered to investigate the latest in a series of grisly, ritualistic murders. They are called the 'Skeleton Murders' because all that is ever found are the victims dismembered bones, carefully and completely stripped of all their flesh. Who is committing these atrocities in this day and age, and why? You must find out. But you will soon discover that you are totally unprepared for the shocking truth, or for what you must do in order to stop them.
This is a linear, 3rd person, point and click game with standard inventory and subtitles. The characters are 3D in a 2D prerendered environment and gameplay is easy and smooth. There is some graininess in the short video sequences, but the environmental graphics in the game are impressive: highly detailed, realistic and convincing. And the many locations (both real and imaginary) in the present and past are varied and fascinating, with a real-time soundtrack to enhance the mood.
Most of the game you will play as Halligan, but you soon find that there are a few times when you need the aid of your friend, noted anthropologist Dr. Melanie Turner, and you then play as her. Both the voice acting and dialogues are good, with the English accents and idiomatic expressions lending authenticity (and sometimes humor) to the situation. However the conversations are not linear, so you must choose your topics wisely or you will be forced to repeat them to get necessary information.
The puzzles are excellent, integral to the plot, and are solved with clues or inventory. They start out easily enough, and lighthearted, but become more serious, challenging, and sometimes obscure as the game progresses. And there are several areas where you must look very carefully to find small needed items. However even if the situation is urgent (and there are at least 2 places where you can die) the feeling is not, and you can take your time to solve them.
We must admit that, with the exception of the minor flaws mentioned, almost everything in the game is very well done, and gameplay is engrossing. Nevertheless be forewarned: the game is built around a story of black magic and horror. And that story includes, among other objectionable things, a graphically explicit and revolting scene of a living victim being tortured to death.
We personally found that very disturbing and we would not have played the game, despite its good points, had we known beforehand that such things were included. It is definitely not suitable for children.
Visit The Mystery of the Druids Website to see screenshots, download a demo and more.
Developed (2001) by House of Tales and published by CDV Software Entertainment.
Minimum System Requirements: PC Only!
PC: Pentium 200 MHz Processor (Pentium II 400 MHz Recommended); Windows 95 / 98 / ME / 2000; 32 MB RAM; 2 MB Video Card (3D Acceleration Card Recommended); 16 Bit Sound Card; DirectX 8.0; 200 MB of Free Hard Drive Space; Mouse
Walkthroughs or Hints: