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Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual

Score: 78%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: City Interactive
Developer: City Interactive
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual is a mixed bag that could leave hardcore adventure gamers cold, but less experienced ones with a nice challenge ahead of them.

Story and puzzles aside (we will get to those later), The Scorpio Ritual looks great. The game's pre-rendered backdrops have just the right hint of animation to make the game feel more dynamic than it really is, and Sylvie Leroux's and other characters' movements are nice and fluid. From a presentation standpoint, the only places where I had any real issues came in the game's translation from Polish (but not as much as other localized games) and the lack of lip syncing (typically during the cutscenes).


Gameplay:

Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual has a story that, quite frankly, has been done to death at this point. Sylvie is an archeologist working in the field when she gets a call from her uncle who has discovered some religious artifact at his own dig. He tells her to rush home to help him, but when she arrives, both he and his artifacts are gone.

What follows is a story very much like The DaVinci Code. Sylvie must run around and uncover the truth behind a religious militant group that once worked for The Vatican (although, this one is called the Knights Hospitaller and not Templar). Her journey will take her across the world, all in the hopes of finding the artifacts, her uncle and clearing his name (the law thinks he stole the treasures). She will be joined by a couple of fellow professionals including James Anderson (a linguist) and she will have to deal with a rival archeologist, Henri Simon. While enjoyable, the game is just a bit too predictable in it's plot, but at least the puzzles all fit nicely into the story and the solutions typically make sense.

There is one more thing about the game's story that I have to say before moving on, and that's how abruptly it ends. With very little warning, the plot points all seem to rush to resolve themselves and the story gets wrapped up. It's hard to tell if this is intended to be the predecessor of another Sylvie Leroux adventure, or just the result of a development team that hit a deadline they couldn't move.


Difficulty:

Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual has a ton of puzzles (both logic and inventory-based) puzzles in it, but truth be told, not all that many feel very original. Experienced adventure gamers shouldn't have any trouble jumping through the game's many hoops, but those who haven't seen these tricks dozens of times before might still find it to be a challenge.

At least the game handles the balancing of the puzzles (and your inventory) really well. There is always some goal that you need to get through and several smaller puzzles to achieve that goal, so you are never at a loss of direction. Between that and the fact that inventory stays fairly clean throughout, there are very few frustrating moments where you feel like you don't have what you need to progress.


Game Mechanics:

Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual doesn't really offer any new mechanics to the genre. Both the interaction with the world (standard point-and-click) and the inventory and Menu systems feel like pretty much every other adventure game out there. This is good, because it means that pretty much anyone can just jump in and play with a very little learning curve, but this is also bad because it makes the game blend into the already saturated background.

Hardcore adventure fans might want to get this game, but only if you are looking for another DaVinci Code-story clone. If it is intriguing and unique puzzles you are looking for, you might be disappointed. Other gamers who only dabble in the genre, on the other hand, should enjoy The Scorpio Ritual a lot more, and as long as you can get past the occasional translation issue, you should give it a chance.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows XP/Vista, 15 GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce or ATI Radeon 64 MB RAM graphics card compatible with DirectX 9, 1 GB Hard Drive space, DirectX 9, DVD-ROM, Sound Card compatible with DirectX 9.
 

Test System:



Alienware Aurora m9700 Laptop, Windows XP Professional, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 2.41 GHz, 2 GB Ram, Dual NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

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