Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics: ****   Player participation (PP) ***** Satisfaction Factor (SF) *****   Frustration Factor (FF) **

This Game is excellent!  Time consuming, frustrating, but excellent.  High SF as you see.  The 3D CG Graphics are brilliant in almost all respects – in fact take your breath away in places.

  • It opens as a CG movie, using Windows 7 from the Hard Drive with no disk needed with no problems at all.  If you prefer you can Reset it to XP using the Control Panel/Troubleshooting/ Earlier Versions in Windows 7 and following the Prompts.  In Options you can overwrite your Save before you Exit, which is handy.  The Options are indeed quite useful, allowing a degree of flexibility should you choose to do so.  I used all but the Anti-Aliasing mode.  My computer would have handled it okay, but I chose not to do so.  There was some pixellation due to the size of my screen, but it was negligible.
  • The Location Graphics were magnificent – the interiors and exteriors of the house on Shipwreck Island were detailed and authentic – nothing was missed.  The furniture was right, the decor was interesting and varied in the bedrooms but within the parameters of the era, and the type of paintings, light fittings, statuettes, tableware, and accessories were perfectly appropriate.  It was truly impressive.
  • The Exterior Graphics were staggering in their credibility.  The ocean was wonderful, particularly in its stormy mode, right down to its movement onto the sand of the beaches.  The cliffs and rocky outcrops across the island seemed real, and the abundance and variety of plant life across the meadows of the island was astonishing.  It contributed to the wildness and inhospitable nature of the terrain, mostly untamed except the gardens beside the house – and even those were unruly due to neglect.  The Atmospherics were also brilliantly done – the storms, the rain – sometimes viewed from within looking down as the drops go past – really neat and innovative.
  • The Character Graphics are also good – may have been better with the Anti-Aliasing as it would have softened them somewhat, but I wanted the graphics to be as  clear as possible.  Of course their degree of CG realism is dictated by the year in which the Game was created – so it is relative.  Nowadays, a very few years later, 3D CG Graphics are unbelievably good.  But this is something that I am barely taking into account when I rate these Games.  This Game has, like a few of the CSI Games, the problem with the visual set of the armpits of the characters – a problem that later Games seem to be solving.
  • The lip-syncing is fine, and the mechanics of moving the characters around the Game is also excellent.  The various controls for their walking and running, picking up things, looking at things, etc, are simple to use and add immensely to the PP of the Game.  As with the MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, all characters are in 3D, in their 3D setting which changes perspective as you move around in it.  Very clever!
  • The Manual is very comprehensive, giving not only installation instructions should they be needed, but also the History of Shipwreck Island with a location map (I recommend that you draw a mud-map copy of the plan-map of the island when it becomes available in the Game); the verse TEN LITTLE SAILOR BOYS; general running instructions including the Options, Inventory, Journal and Cursor use; house plans of both floors; and finally the First Five Minutes of Gameplay, which I consider rather optimistic time-wise re that play.
  • But having said that, I recommend that you follow it, as it enables your Gameplay while giving you a walkthough of what you need to do and see and carry out without too many details – it generalises, for example, about your need to speak with the other characters.  I didn’t bother this time, having played the Game a couple of times, but not for a while.  My mistake, as I missed something which was an early ‘heads-up’ that I found I couldn’t reclaim.  The Game still played, but I felt anxious about it for a while.  No-one wants to have to start again, once they are underway.
  • This Game carries a fair degree of FF due to the fact that you spend a great deal of timing walking/running back and forth around the house and island.  And there are many places in the Game when it appears to stall – more FF as you go over and over ground you have already checked.  There are usually just odd little things that must be done in order to move on to the next level – one more murder and one less Sailor!  These odd things include looking at someone through a keyhole; checking all the rooms to see that all are in their beds; putting batteries in a torch; and finding an antidote outside not inside.
  • I can provide you with more details of these – and if you really want me to, you can contact me with a Comment on this Blog to which I will Reply – but think that perhaps you should look up the Game in the Hints website at the bottom of this Blog.  It is an excellent Hint site, allowing you to choose how much info you need to be able to progress by giving it a bit at a time.  You can download the entire Hints for this specific Game there, and keep it in your Faves or in the same folder as your Game.  But you need to press ESC to go out of the Game via Save in order to look them up.  This can be tedious.  And adds to the FF.
  • Another minor FF is that you can’t back out of or fast forward Dialogue.  This is desirable when you are rechecking to see if there is anything else you need to do with or to something, or if you missed a hotspot in the location.  You get a repeat of the same Dialogue each time you click on that spot, and you just have to wait it out.  You know what it will say, but yet there is that possibility that something new now is happening there – as it does elsewhere, and this prompts you to click it again.  Rats!  FF.
  • Finally as a Bonus Ending when the Game is over, there is one more mini challenge – which if you have been vigilant during the Game you will know immediately how to solve.

Enjoy this Game.  Persevere through the FF, just push on with the PP and the SF will be great!  Let me know if you like it.

For Walkthroughs of this Game go to UHS Hints at:

(C) Copyright  Jud House 23/06/2011

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