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Written by  :  jTrippy (63)
Written on  :  Dec 20, 2007
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars

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A flawed classic

The Good

A game can't go wrong with Jane Jensen at the helm. This third, and likely final, installment of the classic adventure series is once again endowed with a rich plot, fascinating characters, and mind-boggling puzzles. The new interface and free-form approach to the mystery (puzzles have multiple solutions, and you can miss a good 30% percent of the game if you're not on top of it) provide an added level of depth. Fingerprint kits and a functioning laptop computer bring Gabriel's archaic and intuitive techniques a modern flare. This time, Gabriel fully shares the bill with Grace as co-protagonists.

The Bad

While the previous two games were practically honed to perfection, this one retains some significant, if excusable, flaws. Infighting meant the development was rushed, and you can feel this at the end, when the game abruptly shifts into climax mode without provocation, leaving a significant puzzle introduced only a short time before unaddressed (Lady Howard's fang picture). The polygonal models are awkwardly shaped, and Curry's voice acting, while familiar, sometimes falls ridiculously flat. The atmosphere is distinctly lacking in this game -- the environments are almost cheerfully colorful and bright, and the free-roaming camera ability eliminates suspense in key elements of the game. Unlike the previous two entries, Robert Holmes' powerful and pervasive score is missing, a key element of the series success, replaced with David Henry's sometimes-obnoxious lounge jazz ambiance. The final puzzle of the game is a bit Tomb Raider-ish, but that's not necessarily a negative.

The Bottom Line

All in all, this is a fantastic game, and a good note for the series, and indeed the genre as a whole, to go out on. While not as timeless as its predecessors, it's replayability factor gives it added value. The plot is deep and interesting enough to be a novel (and was indeed portentous of Dan Brown's DaVinci Code), and its an essential play for any fan of the series or the genre. Unfortunately, it spelled the death of intellectual gameplay. Play it once through for the experience, and again with a walkthrough to cover the things you inevitably missed.