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While consistent rumors are circulating
about a third episode being in development already for the 7th
Guest series, Trilobyte will release their new adventure game called
Clandestiny in October. After having visited the haunted mansion of the
sinister Stauf in The 7th Guest and The
11th Hour, players will now explore an ancient Scottish castle
whose walls reveal the odd history of the clan MacPhiles.
Written by author Jahnna N. Malcolm, the story of Clandestiny appeals to a broader audience extending to younger players, for whom the terrifying dramas of The 7th Guest and its sequel were not directly targeted. Besides, the presence of cartoon animated characters versus live video sequences using real actors will delight adolescents as well as their parents. However, if cartoon style graphics give you the idea that Clandestiny is just another game specifically designed for children, let me assure you that this is not the case. The story about the strange destiny that awaits Andrew MacPhiles, even presented in a funny manner, holds intense and dramatic feelings that will entice both novice and experienced gamers.
The over 5 minutes long introduction is a first of its kind, featuring unique cartoon-style graphics flawlessly designed with 3D computer rendered art work. Using the Trilobyte proprietary Groovie system developed for The 11th Hour, the video plays exactly like TV supposing your machine matches the system requirements. For slower configurations where full screen viewing might rise occasional difficulties (eg. sound breaking up, frame skipping), the quarter screen option will solve these problems. Beyond the system requirements, watching the video run at up to 30 frames per second in 65,000 colors (even more depending on your video card) is a real pleasure, especially when graphics are not interlaced contrary to many other game introductions. With such display quality, the video turns into a true cartoon that well supports the comparison with Disney and Don Bluth's animation. There are approximately 40 minutes of video included in Clandestiny, and as in The 11th Hour, you can watch the full-length 'movie' when you complete the game.
Playing with Clandestiny is in many ways similar to the two previous games from Trilobyte. Basically, the game consists of exploring the castle and then solving logical puzzles and other riddles. If you are familiar with The 7th Guest or The 11th Hour, the main difference between them and Clandestiny is the absence of 3D animated sequences following each of your movements. Here, once you pointed out the direction with the skeleton hand, the next screen will appear with a smooth transition just like "Shivers" or "Myst". With the help of the beckoning skeleton hand that will show you the possible paths, you can move forward, turn left or right, and even turn 180 degrees. The same hand will shape into a rolling eyeball whenever there are specific items you can examine, and transform into a moving jaw when there is something to be heard. Last but not least, the Throbbing Brain icon indicates that this puzzle has yet to be solved. Overall, there are 31 puzzles featured in Clandestiny divided into three categories: logic puzzles, artificial intelligence games and door riddles. While logic puzzles and games will unlock doors and secret passages in the castle, the door riddles will keep the doors closed until you find the solution. Here is an example of what you will have to solve:
To allow both novice and experienced players to fully enjoy the game's puzzles, the designers introduced three levels of difficulty: Brave, Nervous and Cowardly. At the Brave level, the challenge is extreme, and if you think it might be too difficult for you, you can choose the Nervous level that represents half the difficulty of the hardest level. The third choice puts the player at only one move from solving the puzzle, but this of course drastically reduces the challenge. Nevertheless, we recommend players to play with the Brave level since the TIPS section of the GuideBook will provide them with helpful hints.
The GuideBook is accessible by moving the cursor to the top of the screen. In there, you will find various options to save your game, look at the map of the castle, get some hints, look for Scottish terms in the Glossary and learn about myths and legends from Scotland in the Lore and Sights sections. Since there are clues meticulously hidden within the Lore and Sights parts of the GuideBook, it might be a good place to start before jumping into the adventure. Throughout the castle, you will find other books filled with facts, stories and even recipes. Of course, Scottish cooking might not be your liking, especially when you see what they put in there, but some recipes might be worth a try and may actually taste good!
As you explore the castle, you will be dazzled by the beauty of the 3D environments such as dungeons, towers, gardens and gloomy caves, and equally charmed by the original score composed by Mason Fisher. Both graphics and soundtracks contribute to make the atmosphere tense and frightening, yet feature a good dose of humor with the characters encountered in the game. And if you have always wondered how people speak in Scotland, Clandestiny will give you a sample of what you could hear if one day you visit the country, with the strong Scottish accent of the characters.
Conclusion:Clandestiny is a game that must absolutely be on your shopping list if you are into adventure games. Its unique graphics, and the now classic puzzles from the devious creators at Trilobyte will make this game a top choice for everyone in the family. And with its success quasi predictable, I won't be surprised to see a sequel in a year or two!
Written by Frederick Claude
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IBM-PC compatible computer with a Pentium P-60 microprocessor or
100% Sound Blaster compatible sound card.
1225 Crater Lake Avenue,
Medford, OR 97504.
PublishersIn North America:
Virgin Interactive Entertainment,
Hints: 1-900-288-4744 ($.75 per minute)
Web site: Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Electronic Arts UK Ltd.,
Technical Support: +44-(0)1753-546465
Electronic Arts France,
Electronic Arts GmbH.,
Electronic Arts Software S.A.,