DREAM CHRONICLES; THE ETERNAL MAZE; THE CHOSEN CHILD
by PLAYFIRST; KAT GAMES; GAMEHOUSE; SPINTOP; BIGFISH
Jud’s Game Rating:
Graphics: **** Player participation (PP) ***** Satisfaction Factor (SF) *****
Frustration Factor (FF) *
I realise that much has been written about this series, and what I have to say may be no different, but I would be remiss if I didn’t review them – loving them as I do.
In DREAM CHRONICLES, Lilith, the Fairy Queen of Dreams, casts a spell over Faye’s house and her village of Wish, puts her daughter, Lyra, into a deep sleep, then kidnaps her husband, Fidget. In order to awaken Lyra, your quest, as Faye, is to undo the spells cast over the land as you travel to find Fidget.
The Graphics of this Game are wonderful – colourful, imaginative, intricate, delightfully Art-Nouveau – as you would hope to see in anything in the Fantasy Genre – whether Game, Movie or Novel. There is also an element of fun in some location details. And the degree of light in all the locations is wonderful – except of course in the external night scenes until lights are located. This ‘lightness’ characteristic is present in the Graphics of ALL the Games of the Series. The use of light creates visual clarity for the Player – visibility of, and within, locations while maintaining, where required, a run-down or gloomy atmosphere.
Left to your own devices – there are no Hidden Object lists in this Game – you scan the locations to try to discover what is required of you, what are the tasks, where you must go, how to move on and ultimately reach your goal. This creates much more PP – you are actively involved in the decision-making, and if you miss something you are unable to proceed until you have resolved the issue.
The Puzzles and the Hidden Objects fit neatly into the uniquely stylized background, although the latter are sometimes difficult to locate. It’s a matter of perception and focus – the way to identify them. Fortunately as you move your cursor over the location items, including those hidden, are named – chair, desk, bed, stones, bushes, fountain etc. Likewise, some of the Puzzles require concentration as well.
There are Dream Crystals, that go into Dream Jewels, to collect in every location. In this Game these are coloured and easy to see, but don’t miss any. There are a couple of places where this is easy to do and you can’t return for them. Check every puzzle area for them as well, and pick them up first.
With a tutorial that is given as you progress, this Game makes you work the first time through, but is very addictive. You don’t want to leave it till you are done. Of course it plays easier, and in a way with even more SF, the more times you play it.
In THE ETERNAL MAZE, we see that just as you reached Fidget, the Fairy Queen of Dreams, Lilith, who wants to marry him, snatched him away again, and trapped you in a Dream Prison. So now you must escape then continue your journey to rescue him.
The same parameters and comments as the first Game apply here, but there is access to Instructions via Options should you need them. The Graphics are gorgeous and well-imagined, the settings intricately Art-Nouveau, and the animation of the still water is glorious. Also this time the Dream Crystals are clear, which makes them harder to see, and consequently easier to miss. Be vigilant as you need to collect them all if possible.
If you are stuck, if you wait a while an object will sparkle so you can collect it – this requires patience and vigilance – try to be aware of ALL the screen, an overview, as you may miss the sparkle if you are watching the wrong part of the screen. Also to add a little more confusion, there are unnecessary things that glitter intermittently – that are ‘red herrings’ in the game. If you click on them and nothing happens move on.
The tasks require attention to detail, patience, logic, and persistence. The Tower levels are challenging – especially finding the music sheets; and playing the organ, the keyboard buttons of which I recommend you map. Remember to scan the scenes carefully as the name of the hidden objects will enable you to find that last item that seems not to be there.
Tip: The order in which you press things in the puzzles is important, using trial and error, but not difficult.
Tip: As soon as you are shown the maze maps, copy them, then as you progress note the locations of the items and features you find there. This will help you move more freely back and forth and around them.
Tip: As there is no Hint button in this Game, it is vital that you collect ALL the Dream Jewels, then that you unlock the Secrets in the Journal. These, when decoded, act as Hints for specific item locations, or tasks.
Tip: Though I don’t usually give such specific tips, look for and click on the word LEG around the edge of the Cauldron/Vase in the Armoury to collect the last really obscure piece of armour.
In THE CHOSEN CHILD, it seems that you have lost your memory, and must embark on a journey to discover your real identity. Upon return to your home you find that your daughter Lyra has now been taken by Lilith. So your search resumes.
Once again similar parameters apply to this Game. A Tutorial is given during the Game; Instructions are available in Help in Options; and you need to collect Dream Pieces and Dream Jewels – the former to go into the latter, which are then used to unlock Portals in and out of the Nexus Gateway. The Dream Crystals are still clear and much harder to see in this Game. You also need to collect Gold pieces to use in the Forge further into the Game.
This Game seems longer and more detailed – there seem to be so many more things to do and places to explore. This could be an illusion of course, and maybe if they were ‘counted’ I might get a surprise. But I can’t imagine taking the time out to do the counting – you get lost in the Game-play, time passes, interruptions get ignored, you get cold and stiff from sitting so still and engrossed, till finally you have to make a dash for the bathroom!
The Graphics are once again intricate Art-Nouveau, colourful, light and gorgeous – with details like fish swimming around outside the algae-edged windows in the Underwater maze and Chambers. Every element of this series has been carefully devised and edited, and is worthy of high praise. Also the background Music is so suited to the series – and it changes as locations change, to suit the new environments as they are encountered.
Tips: When you can’t find the last windmill vane look in the bottom right grassed area of Windmill screen. The last planet is at the right bottom edge of the Forge screen. And follow the Octopus symbols after the Steam Puzzle.
Tip: And most important MAP THE UNDERWATER TUNNELS as you go. As soon as you have found the first Chamber – easy if you stop and visually look down all tunnels at each turning – then map between chambers. Or you’ll go around in circles endlessly.
I reiterate – this Series is clever, enchanting, challenging, interesting, addictive, imaginative and memorable. Each Game is a step on from the previous one – you can see the developments, some subtle, some obvious, but each extending and improving the Game Quality and the Game Play. The Series is worthy of awards!
I can’t speak highly enough of these Games and wait in anticipation for the next one to be released. Highest SF, great PP, magic Graphics, and almost no FF!
For Walkthroughs of this Game go to UHS Hints at: www.uhs-hints.com/
(C) Copyright Jud House 6/08/2011
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