Chronicles of Mystery - The Scorpio Ritual is an interactive puzzle style of game developed by City Interactive. It is based on a mystery of a hidden group from the age of the Crusades, known as the Knights Hospitaller. Set in present day, you play a character named, Sylvie. The premise is her uncle in Malta has made an archeological discovery and uncovered a mystery surrounding this covert group of the dark ages. It has been years since Sylvie has been here and she is a bit nostalgic from her childhood of running around the streets and neighborhoods as a child along her uncle’s side.
Within the set graphical interface you operate Sylvie by mouse clicking in various scenes on the screen to unlock, pick and place items. It requires a degree of ingenuity to topple this game. With inventory items you collect along with evidence in speaking with various characters you piece together the puzzle and unlock others by combining inventory items at times.
The rendering of still scenes is nice and the developer did well here. Also they formatted Sylvie well and I admittedly enjoyed walking her around. You drive her inquisitive and engineering nature to unravel the mystery of this story. For myself, I really tried to work the scenes and soon found myself reaching the point of diminishing returns. This in turn led me to break down and take the easy route. Maybe puzzle and investigation games are just not my gig. Whatever it was, this game broke me and I went to the GameBoomers.com’s cheat pages to hold my interest. I commend its author for sticking it out.
In its genre this game holds its own. Though the story line certainly lacks in originality, it tries to make it up in its attention to detail and ingenuity of mis-matching and rigging items to work in an imperfect graphical world. The hats you wear are various, part pseudo-McGyver, part Sophie Neveu from the Da Vinci Code, and has you spending hours unraveling riddles, prying information, and negotiating puzzles.
But as the game is, you are not totally in the dark when it comes to running the maze. Tidbits of information are provided by hitting the “?” button on the menu. When you do that, the scene will light up with “?” marks showing you where items or triggers are. These hints will help so that you do not miss anything, but you still have to put on that thinking cap to put things together which the hints will not provide. Clues to the mystery are everywhere, even a piece of trash may be helpful later as you pick it up and stuff old newspapers into Sylvie’s tight fitting jeans. She is quite the pack rat in this game.
The music went well enough to keep it suspenseful and entertaining. The sounds seem to be on queue for the item interfaced. As you speak there is a script provided as well. The sounds and music are nothing too out of the ordinary for this style of game. Although there is a talking parrot that is interfaced at one point. I felt this character was cheesy as I could tell it was a human voice pretending to be a parrot and honestly are you going to interface with a parrot to find clues to the disappearance of your uncle? Then too, how valid is the source? But hey it is just a game and I recall playing Hell, another puzzle style game, years ago and interfacing with demons playing a game of poker, so a parrot is not that far of a stretch.
If you are the type of person who likes to mull over a puzzle on a Sunday afternoon, then this would be a pretty good buy for a bargain price. If you are looking for action, or think that Sylvie may evolve into the next Laura Croft then you will be gravely disappointed. I personally would keep this game around as something different from the fast-paced shooters, or plethora of arcade and mindless games that I love. It challenges me and is easy going enough to keep my heart rate low. There are no save or way points required and you can save at any point. It is recommended that you do save often in case you have to back track and before entering a new scene. The hints I felt were weak and if the cheat site was not available I would have easily lost interest, uninstalled and never picked it up again. I rate this as a solid 5 for what it is, a puzzle style game, it does its job. No it is no Myst, but there are enough trinkets to pick up along the way and riddles to incorporate into clues to solve the Mystery of the Scorpio Ritual.
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