The Blackwell Legacy
Description official descriptions
The Blackwell Legacy is the second commercial adventure game by Dave Gilbert. The premise is based on his 2003 freeware adventure game Bestowers of Eternity. This game uses the same characters; the young writer Rosangela Blackwell and the ghost Joey Mallone, major parts of the storyline, but not the puzzles. Bestowers of Eternity was originally meant as the first part of the series, but never continued. This game can be considered a remake, but with a much broader scope. The Blackwell Legacy is the first in a series of episodic games, with standalone cases, similar to the 2006/2007 Sam & Max games.
Rosa is a freelance writer in New York. Her aunt, who took care of her when her parents died, until she was five, has just passed away. Her memory fails her for the exact events, but her aunt was hospitalized. She was kept sedated and didn't utter a word for twenty-five years. When Rosa visits Dr. Quentin, the care physician at the hospital, she gets to know her aunt and her grandmother had a condition that drove them mad. They deliberately inflicted injuries upon their own bodies, were very aloof, and talked to themselves. While Rosa is worried about the hereditary traits and gets sudden headaches, she receives an assignment for the Village Eye, a local newspaper, to investigate a suicide in a student's dorm. The game takes place in New York and the storyline covers two days.
Using the AGS engine, the game has a classic interface with the two mouse buttons for examining or using objects. You can strike up conversations and change the outcome based on your responses. Rosa carries around an inventory and a notebook where she jots down clues. You can combine clues to link events, and then use these new observations in conversations. Gameplay is largely based around the storytelling and dialogues, rather than complicated puzzles. All characters have full voice-acting, there is a complete soundtrack, and a director's cut mode with an audio track where Dave Gilbert interferes regularly while playing to explain the design choices of the game.
After finishing the game, you receive a code to unlock the voice-acting bloopers.
Credits (Windows version)
45 People (28 developers, 17 thanks) · View all
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|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 76% (based on 18 ratings)
Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 33 ratings with 2 reviews)
The game has a very nostalgic vibe about it with a VGA look (320x200 resolution and 256 colours) and colourful backdrops. The setting and story is quite good although a bit primitive in places. The interface is kept very simple and easy to use.
Almost every area of the game is flawed:
The backdrops look a bit primitive in places which I generally don't mind but combined with the game being very short and having only 4 locations (and 12 screens in total) they could have done better.
The story is rushed through, really. Adventure games have to have a good strong story so background info to flesh it out is important to me. The letters from Rosa's grandmother were a good start but it went downhill from there, with even the ghost Joey not really giving any info or refusing to. It makes it feel like the game is too shallow and flat.
The game is also terribly linear, with a single step being able to stop you completely. Most puzzles are very logical, but it's less fun when you constantly have to travel around the same areas to unlock the next clue. Since this game relies on your notebook, every clue ends up getting passed around everyone you can talk to (only a few people luckily).
Voice acting is a mixed bag - I thought Rosa's voice was pretty annoying at times. She may fit the character very well in a realistic sense, but it didn't make it very appealing to listen to her talk all the time.
The main annoyance, is the game's length though. You can complete it in three hours - that's how long I took and I didn't rush at all. Half the time is spent running back and forward trying to find the next scrap of info but generally, it's far too short. When the game ended, I thought another story would follow but it doesn't, that was it. In size, this is about the first part of Monkey Island 2 where are on Scabb Island.
The Bottom Line
It's an adventure game that borrows from many others (Gabriel Knight for one) and keeps it simple. Rosa, the girl you play, has a ghost called Joey who hangs out with you and together, you solve mysteries. It's also more an investigative adventure game (think Discworld Noir) and less a game centered around object hunting and combining.
Windows · by Stevie Parmentier (2) · 2011
I am a big fan of point and click games like this having played all the LucasArts, Gabriel Knight and that sort of stuff way back on my old '486. This game falls squarely into that category and I liked it a lot.
I liked the backstory even though it is not completely told in this opening episode and there are many unanswered questions about both Joey and Rosa's mother & aunt. I expect more will be revealed in the later episodes.
I was surprised to find the whole story fully voiced. For me the voice acting seemed very good. There's also music which was OK and at least did not annoy, and sound effects.
The artwork is what I'd expect playing a retro style game and it worked for me, plus there were no pixel hunting scenes - everything I needed to find I found easily it was what to do with it that I had problems with (see below).
There's not a lot in this game that I did not like. My main problem was that I got stuck a couple of times and had to resort to a walk-through. You know that moment in a point and click game where you've done everything at least a couple of times - well I had a couple of those. What I learned was that, of course, I had not done everything and once I knew what I'd missed I was back on track again.
I don't like using a walk-through but in this case I learned how the game works and I hope to carry this knowledge through to the next episode and play through unaided.
The version I bought included bonus commentaries from the developer, on Steam there's an achievement if you play through the whole game with both commentaries enabled. I had one of these enabled by mistake and there came a point in the game where it kicked in to tell me that when the original voice track was recorded a marching band walked past outside and could be heard faintly in the background. This is undeniably interesting but I did not need this information and I especially did not need it at that point in the game. I disabled the commentary and won't be collecting that Steam achievement. It's a good thing if that's what you like but it's not for me.
The Bottom Line
I bought this game as part of a discounted bundle on Steam. It's probably best thought of as episode one in a series than as a game in itself. It's about three hours long, longer if you replay trying to get all the Steam achievements, and I consider the £0.89 it cost me extremely good value for money.
Windows · by piltdown_man (222472) · 2020
There was a limited CD-ROM release of 15 copies for $5 more than the regular version. It includes a glossy 5x7 photograph of the Blackwell poster, signed by Dave Gilbert, Abe Goldfarb (Joey) or Sande Chen (Rosa).
In Kelly's room, there are some references to Dave Gilbert's earlier games: the poster on the side of the closet is a low-res version of The Shivah poster, the doll on top of the closet is an early draft of the Rosangela character, and the KISS poster in the back also appeared in Two of a Kind.
Related Sites +
The Blackwell Legacy
Product page on the developer's website
- MobyGames ID: 25676
- Steam App: 80330
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Sciere.
iPad, iPhone added by Kabushi.
Additional contributors: Cantillon.
Game added December 25th, 2006. Last modified June 5th, 2023.