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The Mystery of the Druids

aka: Das Geheimnis der Druiden, The Mystery of the Druids (Special Edition)
Moby ID: 5047

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 63% (based on 31 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 21 ratings with 1 reviews)

An enjoyable adventure game without action or arcade - the non-typical plot makes this one different.

The Good
In this game, the ancient druidic cult has resurfaced in Britain. These modern druids are descendants of infants into which powers were transferred centuries ago. They still practice the original cult rituals – including human sacrifice. These are cannibalistic druids who believe eating the flesh of human beings increases their powers. (Needless to say the content of this game is not for children!) Of course, their identities and locations have been kept secret and almost nothing is known about them or even about the original druids from whom they derived their magical powers. During the course of the game, Brent Halligan (the main character) uncovers a rumor that the ultimate ritual, world domination, will be performed in the very near future. He must find a way to stop it.

The game comes with 3 CDs labeled “Installation Disk”, “The Present” and “The Past”. There is hardly any disk swapping if you remember where you were when you begin again and insert the proper disk. A well-written, 18-page manual, comes in the box too. An insert is included which contains your “case file”, the one given to you at the beginning of the game, and explains the evidence and suspect interrogations for the previous murders. These two items were a pleasant surprise since many adventure games these days contain so little information other than installation instructions.

My desktop didn’t like Mystery of the Druids at all, so I tried it on my laptop (with Windows XP home edition). Surprise! Installation went without a hitch and I was playing in a short period of time. It ran flawlessly throughout. Go figure!

The interface is easy to learn – a left or right click of the mouse performs all actions. Your keyboard is used only to access the Main Menu and type in your save game name. You can save as many games as your hard disk will hold and put them anywhere you choose, another welcome feature. And, when you begin again, the game automatically returns you to where you left off. The limitless inventory is at the bottom of the screen at all times and can be viewed by pointing your mouse there. The inventory items are not given names, but a right click on one provides you with a verbal description from your character. Adjustments can be made to volume (music, voice and sound effects) and you have a choice to turn subtitles on or off.

The graphics varied in quality. The majority were terrific but a few were only so-so. (See the screenshots). Full video cut scenes were excellent in every respect and were in keeping with the feel of the rest of the game. The original musical score was orchestrated very well and was both pleasant and atmospherically mood-enhancing. The music became louder and more intense when something important was about to happen. Lip-sinc during speech usually occurred in the videos since there were no close-ups during normal speech. Voice acting is really good with proper inflections, grammar and pronunciations. Sometimes conversations were even accompanied by some body language.

One of the most fun things about MOTD is that you play as two separate characters during different parts of the game. You start out playing Brent and swap intermittently to playing Melanie, a cute anthropologist. They interact well together and the story attempts to build some romance between them, which comes off fairly well. Although I enjoyed both Melanie and Brent, nothing about them really endeared me to them. I felt no emotion one way or another when they were in fear for their lives, but that may have been just me.

The puzzles are typical adventure type – no arcade or action involved here. There are various types of inventory based puzzles in which you use one object or a combination of several items. Some conversational topics are dependent upon whether you have done something else (a few are a bit far-fetched) and you may find yourself travelling back and forth too often to get more information. You’ll be using some scientific equipment as you examine evidence. Unfortunately, there is a maze and some sound puzzle clues. But, none of the puzzles kept me awake at night and I wasn’t stuck for very long, so I would say they were all of medium difficulty.

The story flowed nicely from area to area and from situation to situation, and the puzzles were integrated well into the plot. The secrets of the druidic cult evolved slowly and were revealed gradually. The places were interesting and well detailed.

The Bad
I enjoyed almost everything about Mystery of the Druids, but I can find fault with a few things, so here goes.

There were too few in-game clues to help you solve the puzzles, so you are guessing most of the way through.

Some of the rooms were very dark and it was hard to see. At least there is an in-game Gamma adjustment to brighten things up, but even that didn’t help all the time.

Some of the characters looked a bit pixelated, but most were very good.

The Bottom Line
The theme of this game is a little on the dark side and there is some blood, so I wouldn’t recommend it for young children. For the rest of us, though, it is a good adventure game and a worthy play. It has a decent length and will probably keep you interested and busy for a good week or more. As detective mysteries go, it is not quite up to par with Tex Murphy, but those are hard shoes to fill. MOTD is comparable to the Broken Sword games in many respects and will appeal to gamers who like the 3rd person perspective in their interactive adventure games without action elements.

Windows · by Jeanne (75367) · 2002

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Jeanne, Scaryfun, Xoleras, Wizo, nyccrg, Patrick Bregger, Tim Janssen, Sciere, Cantillon, vedder, Cavalary, Gonchi, ☺☺☺☺☺.