Thursday, November 3, 2011 The Lost Crown: A Ghost Hunting Adventure

Let me start off by saying this is by no means a new game. In fact I myself owned it for several months before I actually got stuck in to playing it proper.

Now that I have given it some real time I can safely say this is one of the most interesting games I have ever played.

Set in a fantasy version of East Anglia (yep, how often does that sentence come up in gaming?) this game taps right into memories of reading old ghost books as a child. You can practically smell the musty pages of those creepy books, with their weird black and white pictures, as you play.

This comes as no surprise when you realise the author of the games screenplay, Jonathan Boakes based the game on his own childhood memories of reading "A Warning to the Curious" and other ghost stories.
The game itself employs point and click brain melting puzzles with some very interesting paranormal investigation mechanics.
You can scan areas and items for EMF, take photographs, record EVP and even use a night vision camera.
The creepiest sections of the game involve navigating in pitch darkness seeing only through the camera's LCD screen.

Graphically the game uses mostly black and white pre-rendered backgrounds with 3D characters on top. Where the game really stands out is in its use of photographs as part of the background. The author uses many real life images of his home county Cornwall (noteably the towns Looe and Polperro) and many real life objects. The whole game is presented in a dream-like monocrhome with odd but relevant splashes of colour on objects such as flowers or lights.

Being a massive fan of the Discworld video games good ol' pointy clicky fun holds no fear for me but some people might feel the gameplay mechanics are a little out of date. While the animations may feel a somewhat clunky and the interface is very basic, nothing can take away from the overall creepy atmosphere and fantastic story telling of this game.

The only issue I had when attempting to play for the first time was the voice acting, which I found a little poor, leading me to shelve the game for a couple of months before I reattempted getting stuck into it.

After a more in depth play through I actually feel the odd, slightly jarring voice acting (very british, a little cheesey and seemingly only a couple of voice actors providing VO for every character) really adds to the dreamy atmosphere of the game.

This game now sits up near the top of my gaming love list, and is probably my favourite low budget PC game of all time. Not to mention being the only game to make even a half decent attempt at accurately portraying paranormal investigation thanks to the author's research and input from "This Haunted Land".

So even if point and click puzzling just isnt your thing, I would reccomend playing with a walkthrough just to experience the brilliant story and atmosphere of this adventure gaming master piece.

Buy the game now for around 6 quid!


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