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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dark Fall: The Journal (2002)

Up until 2002, I had been more interested in Real-Time Strategy games- like "WarCraft" and "Command & Conqueor: Red Alert", and Turn-Based Strategy games like "Civilization".  That changed when Jay (from "Film Reviews From the Basement") lent me a simple Point & Click Adventure game called, "Dark Fall: The Journal"...

After receiving a cryptic message from your brother on your answering machine, you head to Dorset to investigate.  Upon arrival at the abandoned train station your brother was preparing to renovate, you discover that he's gone missing... just one in a long list of strange disappearances that have occured over the years...

"Dark Fall: The Journal" is a very basic, Point & Click Adventure game that relies on a good story and mood.  The graphics are not top of the line for the time- but still effective at adding a great, eerie atmosphere.  This is only enhanced by some of the scripted moments.  One in particular still gives me chills.  It's when you're in a hallway, and the lights start going out from one end of the hall, heading towards you.  When you're alone in a darkened room, this is quite effective.  The sound quality isn't great, but had potential.

I really liked the way the story is revealed as you go along.  There are newspaper clippings, journal entries, etc that you can read.  There is even a phone you can use to hear a ghostly voice pleading for help.  You also gain some equiptment that will help you investigate the station and expose more the story.  If you're not into exploring and spending your time reading every little piece of paper that you find, then you can always forgo that.

If you're not into solving puzzles, then you may not want to play this game.  It is fairly puzzle heavy, and many of them could be rather obscure though interesting none the less.  I would've preferred a more balanced use of the puzzles- and used ones that were fairly commonly known.  It would've been great if the puzzles themselves actually had something to do with the story in order to add even more depth to the gameplay.  It felt like I was being taken out of the game from time to time just to solve the puzzles, as some of them didn't fit in with the rest of the game.

In the final analysis, I have to say that despite it's flaws, I really quite enjoyed, "Dark Fall: The Journal," and it was effective at introducing me to the Point & Click game genre.  I'm going to put this game in "The Good".

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