Heart of China (DOS)

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Written by  :  RussS (819)
Written on  :  Sep 02, 2009
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars

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A good adventure for it's time that holds up well.

The Good

The game is played from the first person view which makes it much more involving to play, and gets around the clunky problem with many point and click adventures of the era; having to watch your character plod across the screen. The graphics are done in a blended photo characters against drawing style, which in this rare example works and creates a believable environment where the style is consistent. This is probably helped by avoiding any animation whatsoever in the cut-scenes, which would betray the actors against a blue-screen. There's also no audio aside from the soundtrack, which is great, voice acting and encoding in this era were generally terrible, so better side-step that until the technology caught up.

The plot is a standard globe-trotting pulp adventure so common to adventure games, complete with cheesy love interest, though it is all told in a fairly cringe free manner. The story-telling is done fairly well, with good dialogue and an interesting ability to approach problems from several different angles, standard fair today, but for the time it's handled smoothly allowing for a more involved sense of storytelling. The title is a bit of a misnomer as much of the game happens outside of China, but hey it sounds catchy.

The Bad

Whilst the story unfolds fairly well, it does allow you to get stuck in dead ends quite often, though the characters often hint that so you need to save regularly to be able to go back. It falls prey to several cheesy scripting elements, such as dodgy jokes and such in an attempt to make the game feel like a comedy/adventure film such as 'Romancing The Stone'. The game engine is solid enough though a little fussy to use, you have two methods of calling up the inventory each one acting slightly differently. The arcade elements of the game look out of place, but actually play ok, so no problems there.

The Bottom Line

A light and breezy game, that is simple to play and fairly short. I like games like this whose puzzles take the more logical approach to the point of straying toward the easy side, rather than trying to be fiendishly hard and obstruct the plot. It handles the sound and graphics well for a game of its age and still plays well. Recommended to anyone with some time to spare who wants a quick adventure.