Dark Secrets of Africa (c) New Generation Soft/THQ
Introduction / Plot:
Well this is a pretty unkown title from a pretty unkown german development house. In brief the game is (Yet Another) an RPG, where u take the role of an archelogist out for huge discoveries about ancient Egypt. Years passed an no one was able to find the secret of the temples, it was time for someone (you) to walk across the desert and find out everything about their secrets.
It sounds dull, but in 30 minutes you will find what, as far as the plot states, no one was able to find for hundreds of years, and funny enough it does just involve using a shovel for 2 minutes to bring the ancient door to the air.
Games introduction, menu, options are really as easy as possible and don't even cover everything the game would need, anyway DSOA is light enough to be played on elder pcs and doesn't require a 3D accellerator.
Gameplay / Controls:
Gameplay would be great, the game is well balanced, there are times when you are alone and times on the desert where you will need to be helped by 'slaves', enemies flow is well targetted too, you will never be flooded by enemis but you will not be left alone wandering for some flesh to burn.
Well that's everything about the PROs of the game, now it's time to use some red ink... Controls are completely ugly, they are supposed to be just point and click, instead they will act like they were point and click, click, click, point, click, click, insulting, click, point... well ok you got the point I guess. It seems like pointing in an empty place is not enough, you will be forced to find both an empty location and a location that the character wants to move to. Further more if the destination is behind a wall, even if the door is easily seen, don't hope to have the path resolved by the game, you will have to get mad with a lot of point&clicking.
The level design (inside temples levels) is not thought enough and even with linear gameplay they were able to let you be teleported instead of drawing stairs or even just arrows. This way just on the first temple you will go around clueless till you'll choose to go close to the right wall... that will get you *puff* teleported on another point of the map, really dumb, I know for sure there were no teleports in ancient Egypt, OK? Yes, Mum told me...
Outside levels are well done, there will be less point point point and click, click click due to a wider playable area, and spending money to build up a caravan to afford the desert is one of the best strenght of the game.
Sound / Music
Yummy, musics are really well composed, funny enough, the one blasted during the introduction is the best one. Samples fits well, while there's no speech whatsoever, they choosed to let you read directly the story with some on screen long texts.
At least you don't need a D3D accellerator to play DSOA, everything is sprite based with an isometric view, with walls inside temples covering completely the characters. Sprites are not ugly, altough this game seems like a couple years old, not many frames of animations and no special effects anywhere, this game wills to be thrown on the budget bin as soon as it hits the stores.
So, the plot is really breathtaking, pretty better than more top-games, the RPG is well thought, everything is ready for a surprise, instead dull controls and just decent graphics slash this title down to playable only with point and click hearth attacks!
We did look at the version that is currently being spreaded by thq. Let's hope few patches in the future fix the interface, and maybe few graphics enhancement. A patched Secrets of Africa with some multiplayer options could have been a worthy christmas present.
Anyway, if you are able to forgive them for the controls, going on with the game is a real pleasure, feeling to be the one discovering the lost temples of pharaos is an higly enterataining experience.