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The Black Mirror (Windows)

74
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Jeanne (75624)
Written on  :  Feb 10, 2004
Rating  :  4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars

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Summary

Intense, engrossing, creepy ... GOOD!

The Good

Have you ever played a game that you liked so much that you couldn't stop playing ... depriving yourself of sleep just to play a few minutes more? The Black Mirror is that type of game - at least it was for me.

The story is deeply "immersive" and creative. You can tell when Samuel first arrives that his family has had a long and prosperous history. The Gordons have lived in the beautiful "manor", Black Mirror Castle, for centuries. Servants take care of the mundane tasks around the lavishly decorated manor and its grounds. The Gordon home hides many secrets in the main living quarters and in those parts that are unknown (there are "secret" areas, of course!). The discovery of an early family feud between twin brothers and the curse one put upon the other is only the beginning of the intrigue. This tale kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The Black Mirror has all of the components that make an adventure great. Besides the wonderful story, it is easy to install and use, and the graphics are utterly beautiful. 3D effects were carried out wonderfully! Babbling brooks, horses bobbing their heads in the stable .. even moths fluttering around a lamp at night.

Try wearing your headphones while playing it! You'll be amazed at the sound effects and the mood-enhancing music. Double the experience by playing in a dark room! Everything from the lovely sounds of birds in spring to the pitter-patter of rain was authentic sounding. The lightning made me jump out of my skin! The actors and actresses did a marvelous job portraying the parts, their speech laden with natural inflections, tones and accents.

The puzzles are so well integrated into the plot that they feel like mere "problems" to be solved. But, not all of them are easy - quite a few are downright hard.

The Bad

There's a misprint on the box and in the manual. Try installing this on a Pentium 2 and you'll be sorely disappointed. The "Read Me" file corrects the specs - it needs a Pentium 3 400 minimum.

I don't blame companies for wanting to copy protect their software, but I didn't particularly like the brand of software they chose for this one.

Several puzzles had me digging into the dictionary and encyclopedia to find the answers since none were provided in the game.

I didn't particularly like the ending. I was really anticipating a huge confrontation with the forces of evil. What I got was ... well, a bit disappointing. Although I must admit that what happened naturally concluded the "family curse" dilemma.

The Bottom Line

I loved The Black Mirror! Other than the few things I listed above, I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I can see why they released it just before Halloween. This is a really good, haunting story with all the suspense of a detective mystery .. with a twist. It played flawlessly throughout ... not a glimmer of a problem anywhere. There's quite a lot of dialogue between characters, and just a bit of reading. Plenty of save slots too. Wonderfully designed and a game I won't easily forget. My rating 5/5!