Heart of Darkness
[ All ] [ PlayStation ] [ Windows ]
Critic Reviews 75% add missing review
Power Unlimited (9.7 out of 10)
Wat kan ik zeggen. Dit vreselijk verslavende, sfeervolle, prachtige, warme en mij tot de tranen roerende spel maakt het leven van een PU-redacteur een hemels genot. Dit spel is zo goed, het zou verboden moeten worden.Jun 1998 · Windows
Computer Gaming World (CGW) ( )
Overall, HEART OF DARKNESS is one of the best games I’ve seen in a while. It’s bug-free, has great gameplay, and achieves all this without 3D-accelerated graphics or multiplayer mode. Maybe it’s nostalgia or the lack of a good side-scrolling platform game for the PC, but HEART OF DARKNESS ranks up there with great 2D games such as SUPER MARIO BROS. 3 and the recent CASTLEVANIA: SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT. Too bad it’s such a brief ride.Nov 1998 · Windows
PC Action (Germany) (85 out of 100)
Heart of Darkness ist wieder einmal eines jener Spiele, die deutlich vor Augen führen, daß Hochglanz-Look nicht alles ist. Die Abenteuer des kleinen Andy haben so viele "innere Werte", daß man die etwas angestaubte Grafik dafür gerne in Kauf nimmt! Allein die liebevoll ausgearbeitete und ungeheuer facettenreiche Hintergrundstory ist eine Klasse für sich – hier "lebt" wirklich jeder Charakter, und die Atmosphäre erreicht eine solche Dichte, daß man sich im Land der Finsternis schon fast zuhause fühlt. Auch beim Gameplay spielt Heart of Darkness in der obersten Liga mit – kinderleicht zu steuern, aber trotzdem auf jedem Bildschirm eine neue Herausforderung! Und noch etwas: Schließen Sie hochwertige Lautsprecherboxen an Ihren PC an, wenn Sie Heart of Darkness spielen, damit Sie den wirklich genialen Soundtrack in seiner ganzen Schönheit genießen können!Jun 17th, 1998 · Windows
JeuxVideoPC.com (17 out of 20)
Heart of Darkness fait partie de ces petits joyaux qui appartiennent à l'Histoire du jeu vidéo. Développé sur une période de plus de quatre ans, ce qui lui valut une sortie en 1998 lorsque la 3D commençait à s'implanter sérieusement, il est en quelque sorte le chant du cygne des jeux d'aventure-action en 2D.May 9th, 2006 · Windows · read review
Game Over Online (84 out of 100)
Well, here it is. The "long" awaited sequel to Out of this World. Long awaited may be overstating things but it is nevertheless a sequel to a somewhat popular game. The game design has the appearance of a basic side scroller but without the repetitive, mindless gameplay of one. Every screen is a puzzle in itself, ranging from easy to perplexing. As the game progresses, several screens are linked together in one larger puzzle. You may have to do 3 things in one area so that another area is passable.Jun 23rd, 1998 · Windows · read review
Gamezilla (82 out of 100)
Heart of Darkness is a fun platform game that will give even seasoned gamers a challenge. The gorgeous graphics, fantastic musical score and rich storyline make this one a keeper in my book. I did find that the game was a little too short and left me wanting more, but overall I give it high marks.Oct 7th, 1998 · Windows
Komputer Spel (4 out of 5)
Spelet innehåller faktiskt tullräckligt många utmaningar för att du ska bli fullt sysselsatt under flera mörka nätter. Blir du lika begeistrad av spelets atmosfär som vi, kommer säkert släkt och vänner rännande mer än en gång när du beklagar dig över att Andy åter igen fallit offer för glödande lavaströmmar eller för en överdimensionerad daggmask.Dec 1998 · Windows
Reset (8 out of 10)
Do nieco większych niż zwykle pikseli można się jednak dość szybko przyzwyczaić, więc nie wpływa to zbyt ujemnie na przyjemność z grania. Pozostaje żałować, że HEART OF DARKNESS składa się z ośmiu zaledwie poziomów, które (choć są długie i trudne) można bez większego problemu skończyć w tydzień lub dwa. I co wtedy? Koniec. Bo po co przechodzić drugi raz te same komnaty? To jest największy brak Serca Ciemności. Spodziewałem się, że będę się tą grą rozkoszował nieco dłużej. Najchętniej tyle, ile na HOD czekałem.Sep 1998 · Windows · read review
PC Player (Denmark) (8 out of 10)
Var Heart of Darkness kommet 'til tiden', havde det i dag været en udødelig klassiker - ingen tvivl om det. Desværre er tiden en hård dommer, og det, der dengang havde været store tekniske landvindinger, er i dag gjort bedre af mange andre. Men at afvise det på grund af den tekniske standard ville være dybt uretfærdigt.1998 · Windows
PC Games (Germany) (80 out of 100)
Achtzig Prozent für ein Spiel, das nicht einmal VGA-Auflösung bietet? Das sich zu der ungeliebten Gattung der Jump&Runs rechnen lassen muß? Das selbst bei der Steuerung Schwächen aufweist? Die vermeintlich zu hohe Wertung erklärt sich durch die unzähligen witzigen Ideen, die überall in den Levels versteckt sind, sowie durch die perfekte Präsentation. In Heart of Darkness steckt mehr Spielspaß als in so manchem Spiel, das sich durch eine „zeitgemäße“ Technik aber nicht inhaltlich vom üblichen Einheitsbrei abhebt. Man freut sich mit der Spielfigur, und man bangt um sie, allein dies ist eine Empfehlung wert.Jul 1st, 1998 · Windows
GamePro (US) (4 out of 5)
They say everything old becomes new again, and the gaming industry seems intent on proving the adage true at every possible turn. In the case of Heart of Darkness, the venerable saying is appropriate simply due to the length of time this game was in development. Not to put too fine a point on it, kids who were newborns when HOD began development are now starting school.Jan 1st, 2000 · Windows · read review
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) ( )
Even though I like arcade games of all types, I am not generally a fan of platform games. They too frequently have action that is repetitive, directionless, mindless, and utterly unfulfilling. But to be honest, despite its obvious limitations, I love Heart of Darkness. I think this truly amazing game is head-and-shoulders superior to any other platform game ever released. Although it is clearly the kind of game not everyone will enjoy because of its graphics deficiencies, gameplay style and odd combination of childlike and terrifying qualities in its storyline, the decisions made by the game designers seem to suit me just fine. The more I got into the game, the more I began really to care that Andy find his dog, and the more my heart was truly touched by the epic nature of the adventure and the unique mixture of dark and light elements that make the game so truly fun.Oct 5th, 1998 · Windows · read review
CyberJoy (4 out of 5)
Gdyby HoD wydany został dwa lub trzy lata temu - tak jak początkowo planowali jego twórcy, nie tylko mieściłby się w ówczesnych standardach ale stałby się rewelacją. Dziś jest po prostu platformówką z fajnym klimatem i filmikami, jedną z wielu - bez akcelerowanej grafiki i fajerwerkówch graficznych. Czy to wystarczy?Oct 17th, 1998 · Windows · read review
PC Joker (78 out of 100)
Interessant: Ich spiele und ärgere mich über die VGA-Auflösung. Um mich herum steht die gesamte restliche Redaktion und beteuert: „Fällt doch gar nicht auf!“ Und tatsächlich - tritt man einen Schritt zurück, macht die Optik einen prima Eindruck. Um so ärgerlicher, daß ich bereits nach vier Stunden den Abspann zu sehen bekam. Weil sich aber die Rätsel auf den schwierigeren Stufen nicht verändern, sondern nur die Schattenarmee größer und gemeiner wird (eigentlich wird man in jedem Schwierigkeitsgrad schon in den ersten Screens von Monsterhorden überflutet), werde ich mir Andys Abenteuer wohl kein zweites Mal zu Gemüte führen. Auch weil die genialen Zwischensequenzen und der coole 3D- Abspann vom ersten Durchgang als Savestände erhalten bleiben.Jul 1998 · Windows
Power Play (78 out of 100)
Über die hochwertigen Filmsequenzen haben die Entwickler jedoch das eigentliche Spiel etwas vernachlässigt. Sicher, die FMVs besitzen — wie die Musik — beinahe schon Kinoqualität, die Hintergründe sehen hübsch aus und die Charakteranimation ist außerordentlich flüssig. Auch am eigentlichen Gameplay gibt es nichts zu meckern (segnet man an einer Stelle öfter das Zeitliche, hat das Programm mit dem geplagten Spieler sogar Erbarmen und gibt ihm Tips). Allerdings ist „Heart Of Darkness“ nicht besonders umfangreich. Hardcore-Zocker werden den Titel nach einem langen Nachmittag bereits durchgespielt haben — und das ist für ein Produkt, an dem sechs Jahre herumgebastelt wurde, schon etwas mager. Ebenso stören die äußerst klobigen Sprites das ansonsten beachtenswerte Erscheinungsbild. Läßt man diese Mängel außer Acht, erhält man mit „Heart Of Darkness“ eine kurzweilige Unterhaltung für die ganze Familie.Jul 1998 · Windows
Jeuxvideo.com (15 out of 20)
Voici bien un titre qui aurait mérité une meilleure reconnaissance de la part du public car il est indéniable que Heart of Darkness nous transporte via son univers enchanteur. Un peu court mais doté d'une bonne jouabilité et d'une variété de situations traversées offrant un rythme soutenu à l'action, ce condensé de plaisir aura néanmoins séduit toute une frange de joueurs cherchant du challenge et une atmosphère onirique.Oct 6th, 2009 · Windows · read review
Absolute Games (AG.ru) (75 out of 100)
Я не ретроград и не консерватор, но, несмотря на слегка устаревшую графику и игровой процесс, свойственный еще Another World’у, Heart Of Darkness мне весьма понравился. Причин я искать не хочу. Есть ширпотреб, а есть стильные вещи. HoD относится именно к последним. Если вы не брезгуете низким разрешением, а дух Эрика Чаи близок вам — вы без сомнения полюбите новую игру от Amazing Studio.Jun 24th, 1998 · Windows · read review
GameSpot (7.1 out of 10)
Heart of Darkness isn't a bad game. It's a bit short and a bit frustrating, but it's always moderately fun and it's occasionally very fun.Oct 1st, 1998 · Windows · read review
Attack Games (7 out of 10)
Trots att Heart of Darkness inte är revolutionerande har utvecklarna gett oss någonting riktigt trevligt att sätta tänderna i.Nov 1998 · Windows
PC Player (Germany) (70 out of 100)
Eigentlich müßte Heart of Darkness zwei Wertungen bekommen, eine für die Zeichentrickszenen und eine für das eigentliche Spiel. Sind erstere noch echt schnuffig, hakt das Spiel an einigen Stellen. Da wären die Materialschlachten im ersten und achten Level, in denen die Gegner gleich legionenweise weggebraten werden müssen - hier wären ein paar denklastige Puzzles mehr nicht schlecht gewesen.Jul 1998 · Windows · read review
Svenska PC Gamer (69 out of 100)
Det tog nästan fyra år för Epic att göra Unreal. När spelet lanserades bjöd det verkligen på en härlig upplevelse. Amazing Studios tog sex år på sig för att få färdigt sitt plattformsspel. Visst fick spelet mig att dra på smilbanden vid flera tillfällen, men det räcker tyvärr inte. Ett spel som utvecklats i över fem år, borde kunna få mig att jubla, glömma bort mitt sociala liv och kasta bort alla andra spel.Sep 1998 · Windows
Gameplay (Benelux) (64 out of 100)
HOD is een gemiste kans: de opzet is goed, de uitwerking veel minder. Ik heb wel leuke momenten gehad maar niet erg veel. Vaar overheerste de ergernis wat wil zeggen dat het subtiele evenwicht tussen uitdaging en gameplay zoek was. Bovendien is het spel duidelijk veel te kort om waar voor je geld te kunnen bieden.Sep 1st, 1998 · Windows
GameGenie ( )
Overall this game is okay. I does make you think while bashing you with hoards and hoards of the shadow dudes. One wrong turn or missed shot and you're lunch. The difficulty of the game makes it hard to enjoy. On the box it says ages 8 and up. But it should say for ages 21 and up. If and 8 year old can excel at this game without crying to mommy. He or she needs to seek a career in professional game playing.1999 · Windows · read review
Gamesmania.de (60 out of 100)
Nur Liebhaber des Genres finden HoD sicher ganz nett und wer gerne für seinen schwachbrüstigen Rechner im 3d-Zeitalter mal wieder was klassisches zocken möchte, ist mit HoD auch nicht schlecht beraten. Mir ist es zu frustig und viel zu kurz. Ein Wochenende und das Teil ist durch. Ein netter Low-Budget-Titel, wenn's denn billig im Laden steht. Mehr ist es leider nicht.1998 · Windows · read review
GameStar (Germany) (60 out of 100)
Ja, Heart of Darkness ist durchaus mit Abe's Oddyssey vergleichbar. Nein, an dessen Qualität kommt es leider nicht mal annäherend heran. Woran's liegt, zeigen die vielen Bißspuren in meiner Tastatur. Oft ist in den einzelnen Abschnitten kaum etwas zu tun, und wenn doch, wird's meistens gleich frustrierend schwer. Hat Held Andy den happigen Bildschirm A im fünften Versuch endlich geschafft, stirbt er garantiert ohne Vorwarnung in Screen B, nur um sich wieder mit Bildschirm A herumschlagen zu müssen. Erst in den letzten drei der insgesamt kurzen acht Szenarios geht es einigermaßen ausgewogen und dennoch anspruchsvoll zu.Jul 1998 · Windows
IGN (5.8 out of 10)
It's finally here, but is it really worth the wait?Sep 29th, 1998 · Windows · read review
Just Adventure (C)
For five years, the vaporware Heart of Darkness has been touted first as an adventure game and lately as an (buzzword warning) action/adventure game. The vapor has finally solidified, and HOD is now available for the PC and the Playstation. Is Heart of Darkness an adventure game? Quite simply, no. There are some adventure elements incorporated into the framework of the game, but HOD is more about having an adventure than it is solving an adventure. There have been numerous inquiries as to whether the average adventure fan would find HOD enjoyable. If you have played Out of This World or Flashback, then you are already familiar with the play mechanics of HOD. The difference this time is that HOD unfolds in a world that is populated by the shadowy bogeymen and grotesque exaggerations of a child's imagination. If you have not played these two classics, then maybe this review can serve as your guide.Mar 28th, 2003 · Windows · read review
A great game cast from a mold long long lost.
by Brian Hirt (10439)
Okay, okay the opening story isn't that belevable, but one thing you better believe is that this game is great. A classic in my book and surely my favorate game of 1998. On the surface, Heart of Darkness may appear as a simple platform game, but don't be fooled because it is much much more. This game has character and is fun to play -- from the silly shadows creeping around to the flame-throwing skeletons burning you to your bones. Once you start, you won't put it down until you are finished, and once you are finished you will curse that people have to sleep because you will want to play it again.
The different levels, each with their own strengths and required skills to complete will make sure you don't get bored from repetitive uninteresting gameplay. The balance between action and puzzle solving is nearly perfect. In addition to the changing gameplay, the atmosphere changes from level to level in a fluid way that complements the story (and games as a whole) rather nicely.
Andy, the boy you control, has many movements, all of which get used throughout the game. Even though this is a platform game, he is often required to do things in places you just don't expect in a genre like this. Additionally, small in-game movies are well-placed to help give the illusion that Heart of Darkness isn't a dated platform game. All of these things have convinced me that there is much more life left in this genre. I just hope other developers follow suit.
The main complaint I have with this game has nothing to do with gameplay, graphics or any of the other important characters of the game. My beef is that there appears to be NO way to skip past a cutscene the first time it is played. Some of the cutscenes are quite long and I'm sick of seeing them. Every time I start Heart of Darkness from a clean install, I have to sit through the cuttscenes over and over again. To add salt to an open wound, the end credits are almost 10 minutes -- let me skip them so I can start the game again! I've pounded on the keyboard, kicked the machine and cursed something horrible. If anyone knows the magic touch please let me know and I'll eat my words.
Apart from that tirade, I only have two minor gripes:
First off, the graphics or pretty low resolution and the palette rarely uses over 200 colors. Considering that this game came out in 1998 and still runs on a 486/66 I'm not going to gripe too much. But the fact that this game does run so well on low end hardware pisses me off because I could have been playing this games for the last six years with no problem -- geeze.
Secondly, the final sequence in the game is brutally hard. I think I'm pretty good at these types of games and I was pounding my head quite a bit. Every time I finish the last scene, I get the feeling that I won it by chance, not skill.
The Bottom Line
If you are an oldskool gamer and you haven't got this game run... don't walk to you nearest dealer. Get your fix while you still can becaue this is the good stuff.
Sep 6th, 1999 · Windows
Watch it for the moon in the time of noon!
by MAT (235985)
Just when all the hopes went away, and we started thinking how platform level-based genre was extinct, we're blasted from the past with another touch of classic. This game can easily be compared to good old rule called Another World, in both story and graphic quality for its time, as well as animation and music quality. Once I started this game, I was like a glued to my computer side of me. It showed me the history, and unraveled longly forgotten part of meback when I enjoyed a perfection under the a name of Blackthorne.
You're playing a waggish li'l boy whose only fear lies in the bottom of the darkness. The scene opens as you're sleeping on the class, and your terror-like creature of a teacher is trying to punish you by closing you in a small closet, but, as the ring went off, you wriggle down below, and run out as fast as the wind carries you. There you find your faithful friend and a dog, start wearing your baseball hat, and you run yelling 'freedom!'. Just as you found a nice spot on the grass to spend your rest-of-a-day vacations, sun eclipse approaches, and with a nice eye-darksun effect, your dog disappears, and you end up only with his hat.
No matter the fears you confront as a young man, your dog is more then a reason to surpass those fears, and free him the darkness. You enter your tree-hut cabin, take your gun and stuff like that, and fly sky to find your dog captured. As you come to some canyons right from the clouds above, you strike some black creature and stuck in some nearest cleft. Thus your adventures begin.
As much as it took the game maybe too long in development for such a shortness of playing, it holds really breathtaking stunning effects and graphics, and the animations are worthy playing. Just if you know how funny they can be... hehe, I'll leave that to you for discovering. Controls and playing skills are more or less all taken from Out of This World and Prince of Persia game types, so it'll be easy to adjust and settle as in home if you've played any kinda platform game of similar style.
Music is clearly enough for you to realize some heavy orchestar compositions are involved, as with that kinda music, it's no such wondering that there is a soundtrack for this game available. Since you'll meet many friend and foes during the game, not all will be clear to understand, but they sure holds the ability for fun and are adjusted to that world's settings, so everything actually comes to the right place. Wether the sound is distance, or is there yelling or begging involved, wether your laser is on, or some mountain creeks, wether you fly or swim, talk or fight, the sound and background and story music are perfectly combined to work as one.
As I noticed here, there were some major efforts in making many different, and highly detailed places, and yet having only one or two of each specific different place. I believe I also noticed that in Another World as well. The thing is, developers usually once they do the level frame, and all the wall and ground and background images, pump that to volume of like at least twenty levels all of the same type and look, but only difference lies in the level net and scheme output. On 'Another World' aka 'Out of This World', and this game, 'Heart of Darkness', levels are really detailed, and the traps and enemies are almost unique on each levels, with different puzzles to cross to, and even though they coud've make ten levels with each graphic elements, they still didn't misuse their quality, and that's the main reason why both games, AW and HoD are actually rather short to play, but unique in every aspect from player's viewpoint.
Well, the fact that game is actually short wouldn't be a minus, as that's the way it is. Just imagine if you'll have to spend a year of playing on any game, where would that lead? I'll tell ya. That would lead to the point that you coul play about 80 games in your lifetime... hehe, and we don't wanna live like that, now want we!? :)
Also, both of the games, this one, and Another World have concentraited their main strength on the last level. Why? We all come to the end easily, thinking how the game's short, and then stuck on the last level. It's not impossible, you'll manage to end it once you play it couple of extra times, but think it this way. If they directed the final strength of the level through the whole game, we would automatically play each level longer, getting the feelings as the game's a bit longer then we thought so.
Here's great example of game using that think on us. Whoever played, and finished Eye of the Beholder, he or she will know that the game was hard enough on the every level, and finally, when getting to the end, that Xanathar creature was as easy to kill as every other creature, and you even got plenty of space to do the fight. That way, the game gets longevity a bit extended, and nobody has to try more then once the final fight, and end animation, if there is any :)
The Bottom Line
As good as Out of This World, as fatal as Blackthorne, an adventuristic as Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, funny as Secret of the Monkey Island, and addictive like none of the mentioned. This game will w/o a doubt give you hard time on some places, but reward you decently, and give you some of the best elements you can find in game - easy controls, fine story, nice music, great adventuristic spirit of action, and well done animations. Can you trully ask for more knowing the game crawled from the dust of our 2d memories we were always happy to dealt with :) Except that, this whole mumbo-jumbo about 2d is actually oriented a bit more to 3d then I've spoken during this review, so there's another reason why you should try this game out.
Mar 16th, 2012 · Windows
Out of This World at the Heart of Darkness...
by Accatone (5312)
Phew! Almost 6 years in the making and at last it's RELEASED! You can't get yourself asking, "why it took so long?" I don't have the answer, neither believe it's so important: If you like the game, there is no problem!
In general, I liked the game. Especially being able to find yourself again in a world similar to Another World and Flashback after all those years is a great enjoyment --just like playing the Curse of Monkey Island! So as expected Heart of Darkness improves the known quality to a incredibly lifelike experience.
The opening intro of the game is a perfect example for this thought. This stunning
animated cutscene is just like watching a movie, like watching an earlier work of
Steven Spielberg. It's not difficult to understand the interest of him in making
a computer generated movie with the story of Heart of Darkness. Maybe, it'll be a
second Toy Story affair, eh? Who knows? Amazing Studios (the developer of the
game) is currently working on setting up a new company to handle CG movies.
Although I like the gameplay, it's definitely frustrating to play. You didn't manage to cross the section you were in? The game immediately sends you back to the action and waits you perform your required skill. Unfortunately there is no alternative way to find in Heart of Darkness!!
For a 1998 game the low-resolution graphics could also be a problem. But you can't blame
the developers for this because it's in the making for a long long time. So you had better
amuse yourself with the 3D dimension they had filmed for the end sequence :)
The Bottom Line
One state-of-the-ART! 'Nuff said...:)
Jul 13th, 2000 · Windows
One of the most underrated, best Adventure/Side Scrolling games of all time. Period.
by Dragoon (106)
(Note: I am talking about the PS version when I played it, but the PC version is still identical to its PS counterpart, so what I say about it is true to both versions of the game. So please forgive the console sounding overtone.) One day, I was looking for a good Playstation game to rent, like any other Friday. Unfortunately for me, Final Fantasy VII was out, the one game I had bought a PS to play. Then I spotted a copy of Heart of Darkness. Whats this I thought, another cheap animated Disney-type kid's game? A closer examination revealed that this was that game more delayed than Daikatana, in development for four years. Without wanting to go home open handed, I picked up this game and never knew about the awesome ten hours that would follow. HoD is very much like underrated and unknown SNES and PC classic, 'Out of this World'. It's a 2D, side scrolling adventure through a land of shadows about a kid named Andy and his dog that stumble into a fatasy world that could make a better movie than Jedi Knight or the console game Metal Gear Solid. It's THAT good. Cinemas are of course 3D CG, and some of the best acting and overall time Amazing Studios took to make this game. Cinemas are so good, and fit perfectly into the story; you won't know what the heck is going on without these cinemas; you'll WANT to know what happens next in the seamless Gameplay to Cinema transfer. Of course gameplay is the meat of any game and HoD has got it in spades. It's 2D side-scrolling, one-way-to-get-passed-obstacle gameplay with puzzle elements that are excellently put in the game at the right time. Some people will call it very hard (which it is sometimes, but you keep playing to advance the storyline) and demanding in making you do exactly what the designers want you to do may sway some players from it, which is unfortunate, because the game is so good, its one of the finest games ever. I would say more about it but it would ruin it. So good, Steven Speilberg wanted to make a movie based on it. Anyway, if you like Out of this World, or like good games, buy this, even though its too short, you WILL want to play it again, because the characters and storyline are very memorable. For the sake of all things good, buy it! It even revives and pays tribute to the long dead side scroller genre, and does the genre justice. Possibly the last great side scroller.
Hmmmmm.......too short, although I'll go backto it again, I smell a sequel. Also, sometimes you will hate the do-what-the-developers-wanted-you-to-do gameplay, but aren't other greats like Half-Life the same way?
The Bottom Line
2D/3D side scrolling goodness with an EXCELLENT storyline and cinemas.
Jul 30th, 2000 · Windows
by Zovni (10617)
Heart of Darkness is an excellent game, disregarding 3D accelerated graphics, complicated interfaces and all that mumbo-jumbo, Heart goes back to the basics and delivers a gaming experience based only on the ingenious and inventive machinations of these 2D gods that used to be Delphine soft. It truly is one of those cases when it's "so old, it's new"
The story is inconsequential (which is unfortunate, see "the bad") but the gameplay is nothing but genius. It combines excellent level design with simple yet interesting puzzles, and some of the most beautiful 2D artwork ever to grace a platform game. The game uses the time-honored super-fluid animation Delphine was known for in their previous games, and also includes breath-taking animated backgrounds which makes the game stand firmly as an example of how great, detailed art can enhance a game experience. The music too is top notch, with an impressive arrangement of orchestral music that is so good it rivals some of the best orchestral music found on feature films.
Heart of Darkness is truly a game too good to be true. One wouldn't think that someone would actually do a game like this in this day and age. But it's simple yet inventive gameplay, it's attention to detail, and it's great production values make it a timeless jewel.
Well, essentially the resolution is too small. The game uses only 80% of the screen and the graphics sometimes produce a startling amount of "pixelitis" which is a real shame considering how beautiful the art in this game is. Aside from that you have the fact that the game is too short, which isn't necessarily bad, but since it's so damn linear it makes the game take a real value hit. You can't really expect to pay more than 20 bucks for the kind of value you get here. Also the final confrontation seems downright cheap, it's "shoot everything and get to the last screen!"...
But those are mostly small gripes. The only real problem I have with the game is that sometimes it seems like a waste. Don't get me wrong, I love the game, but I don't exactly enjoy the fact that it is so kiddie-oriented. I mean, remember Out of this World? If you look at both games they are essentially the same: character trapped in strange world, trying to get back (or simply survive) and who gets involved in native problems. Gameplay is the same. So what makes "World" better than "Heart"? The underlying maturity that was present in it. "World" had a clear message in it, and created an emotional storyline, with great characters and somewhat deep connotations without a single line of dialogue (well unless you count your alien buddy's grumbling). I can't help but think that if "Heart" had dared to be mature it would have been elevated to the category of all time classic like it's predecessor, now it is simply an excellent inspired platformer.
All that wouldn't imply a change in the game itself, the game can convey a somber and serious tone sometimes, which make it contrast a lot with the cutesy cutscenes. In fact, I often thought when playing it that those who made the game and those who made the cutscenes must have been thinking of different games altogether. In the game itself you have a more dark and moody conception of the gameworld, and you have some downright mature details like some exceptionally gory death animations (ps. If anyone wants to know how to convey gore and death without the blood just check this game and enjoy Andy's many deaths). But whenever you go back to the cutscenes, it's back to cutey-land, and if you told me that they told a nice storyline then yeah, I guess I could accept it, but the story here is nothing to remember.
...Ahh tsk, tsk. Well I guess you just can't have it all, huh?
The Bottom Line
Regardless of all my grumping this is a great-great-great-great game. Just don't dream about what it could have been and you'll be fine... or if you have no problems with the kiddie factor then dive right in!
Jul 18th, 2001 · Windows
If at first you don't succeed: try, try again
by Katakis | カタキス (43228)
Heart of Darkness is a platform game similar in style to Another World. Andy is a teenage who likes to study for someone else and gets in all kinds of trouble. One day while attending class, he gets in so much trouble for bringing his dog Whiskey to school, that he is doomed to spend time in the closet, which he somehow escapes. Later, both Andy and Whiskey study on a lush, green meadow when things start to happen: a) the moon covers the sun, b) Whiskey is taken away, and c) Andy gets transported to a strange dimension where every living creature is his enemy. As Andy, you must find your beloved dog and escape this dimension.
HOD is created by the same people who did AW. The same enemies that you face – shadows, flying beasts, and monsters – are similar to what gamers faced in AW. The controls are the same: jump, run, and shoot, and most enemies can use a secondary attack to take your out. The only difference here is that Andy can use his special attack to deal with the most difficult obstacles. Andy's special attack can also be used on enemies to knock them out in one shot. The only problem with this is that special attacks have to be recharged before they can be used, and that takes about five seconds, during which time you could be killed before you have the chance to use it on something. Andy can also somersault in the air and perform long jumps.
The game consists of eight short levels, and most of them take a bit of patience to get through. More often than not, you are more likely to get killed by an enemy or some object because you may either get your timing way out of line or do things that you are not supposed to. You have unlimited lives, meaning that you can try each scene again and again until you get it right. In each level, there are a series of restart points which can save you a lot of time if you do have trouble with such scenes. It is interesting to watch how you die. Most enemies gobble you up in some way or throw fireballs at you. The enemies have excellent AI. Once they see you and follow you, you can't retreat to the previous scene because they usually follow you off-screen.
Throughout HOD, there are a number of cut-scenes which made me think that I am actually watching a 3D children's movie. The graphics in the cut-scenes are right there with the movies, and the script is well thought-out, and it was exciting for me to know that at least one creature is Andy's friend, the Amigos that you meet in Level Two, and in almost every cut-scene, you can be sure that something always bad happens.
I was impressed with the metaphor that the game uses. When selecting the options, you are not treated with the usual boring choices, but with a first-person view of the gadgets in Andy's workshop. You cycle between options (New Game, Continue Game, Options, etc.) by using the left or right arrow keys, and except New Game, selecting one will cause a monitor to show something that is relevant to what you are doing. My personal favorite of these would be Options, where a clean, green GUI shows up on the monitor above the selection.
The environments in which you travel to are detailed than those from AW. You will try to fight off enemies as you travel though a canyon, swamp, jungle, caves, lava areas, and more. You can even swim underwater. The enemies are drawn nicely while looking nasty at the same time. There are puzzles in each of these environments. The puzzles range from growing a seed in the right place to take you up to a higher platform, to figuring out a way to get a certain object in the one place, which may be a difficult task.
The music is performed by the Sinfonia of London and conducted and composed by Bruce Broughton. Most of the music can be heard in the cut-scenes. I rarely noticed it while I was playing the game. The sounds coming from each enemy in the game is interesting to listen to, especially the shadows and the winged beasts. As long as there aren't any enemies in the scene you're in, you can hear the sounds of other creatures in the next scene, so you always know what to expect in that scene.
The screen has a black border around it. Why this is the case, I don't know. Maybe the software that the game was programmed in didn't allow for full-screen graphics.
The game is a bit difficult, especially when you get to the last chapter of the game. You are faced with too many enemies at once while you have to repeatedly jump or duck just to avoid their attacks. It is so easy to mistime your jumps or perform the wrong action when you get into situations like these. In the last level, you have to press either [Alt] key twice to somersault, to avoid attacks, but sometimes the double key-press just did not register, and I had to suffer dealing with the same enemies that I just killed.
The Bottom Line
Heart of Darkness is a great platform game, similar to Another World, expect that you have more moves. The game consists of eight levels, which require a bit of timing and practice before you can complete its scenes. The moves you master will be put to the test in the final level as you battle with so many enemies at once. The music and sound effects are excellent, and the environments are beautiful. The cut-scenes within the game are what you expect from a children's movie.
If you are looking for a decent platform game, one that really bites, it's hard not to miss HOD. Before that, Another World was all the rage. If Delphine Software had made this game like they did to AW, and not just a few people from that company, then it would be totally different.
Mar 5th, 2006 · Windows
Contributors to this Entry
Critic reviews added by vedder, Patrick Bregger, Xoleras, Emmanuel de Chezelles, chirinea, Scaryfun, lights out party, JudgeDeadd, Apogee IV, COBRA-COBRETTI, jaXen, Klaster_1, Wizo, Parf, Cantillon, Jeanne.