Jud’s Game Rating:
Graphics: **** Player participation (PP) ***** Satisfaction Factor (SF) *****
Frustration Factor (FF) * Fair Play (FP) **** Tedium Factor *
Dead Time refers to the time window during Hallowe’en when ghosts are most prevalent, and so more easily accessed. The story appears to be about ghost hunters in peril, but it is so much more than that. This game is genuinely spooky! The Cards of the title are Tarot cards, and their use is excellent – you are given their meanings, and they play a huge part in the story, and are vital to the solving of the mystery at the game conclusion.
This is more an Adventure game than a Hidden Object game, and is rather unusual. It has a really basic Options, which is odd – you have to wait until you reach the Book icon for Chapter 1 before you can adjust the music and sounds volume, captions settings, visit the Main Menu, and Save and Quit. As soon as you press Start you are asked to choose between Relaxed and Challenge Modes of Play, and insert your name as Player.
You then get some fragments of the story out of sequence to whet your appetite, followed by a Data-base Tutorial about the various icons at the bottom of the screen. If you need to see the story replayed you can click on any parts of it in the Main Menu. The story continues to intersperse the game-play – a little intrusive at first, and slow between scene changes which is a little tedious – but after a while you realise that this game is about the story more than it is about game-play. So if you want a game that’s heavy on play then this is not for you.
It takes a while for you to notice that you aren’t actually doing a lot. There are Hidden Objects sites of course, but these are also unusual. Instead of the usual list of objects to locate you are given Connections with themes – for example: Things that cause Phobia = Spiders, Snakes, etc. – and how to use them is given in the initial instructions. These connection themes continually change from site to site. There are also Linked sequences – they give you 1 linked to two boxes which need to be 2 and 3. So it makes you work out what you are meant to be looking for before you start your search for it. When you have found 100 HOs you gain another Hint to use.
This game requires you to make choices as you go – and these cannot be undone and dictate the outcome. You also select the order in which you choose the Tarot cards, which act as portals to the next sequence of sites. Despite the fact that the PP is low game-play-wise, you are still constantly involved due to the decision-making required. Despite the fact that the Graphics could be clearer – and my views on that should be known by now (see the Bah Humbug list) – I BOUGHT IT as soon as my free hour was over. I then second-guessed all the way till the end – thinking I’d made a mistake buying it. But I hadn’t.
I highly recommend this game – it challenges you in a whole different way.
(C) Copyright Jud House 15/05/2012
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