Thursday, June 01, 2006

If You Want an Intriguing Story try Playing Barrow Hill instead of the Da Vinci Code game

This game review of the Da Vinci Code made me want to delve into the ancient world of the Celts in a game entitled Barrow Hill instead!

New York Times: "It's a shame Da Vinci wasn't handed over to Shadow Tor, a tiny company whose low-budget adventure game Barrow Hill displays a far better feel for story.

Barrow begins as the player's car breaks down on a dark English road. Wander down the road and you soon come across a gas station-hotel, deserted except for a man hiding in the hotel office who babbles excitedly about some sort of creature that is hunting him and has done something awful to everyone else.

The story becomes clearer as you explore the hotel and learn of an archaeological dig at Barrow Hill, a nearby burial mound topped with a stone circle. You also find torn pages from the journal of a seemingly insane archaeologist and the pamphlets of a group protesting the desecration of the mound.

Trapped in the Barrow by an invisible force, you must learn what happened and how to set it right, helped by survey reports, a metal detector and pamphlets on the history of the Barrow. Puzzles are intelligent, fair and uncontrived. The game does an excellent job of placing clever clues throughout the environment; often you'll need to reread journals to catch information that seemed meaningless earlier.

Barrow Hill is decidedly low budget, using a node-based interface popularized years ago by Myst in which the player can stand only in certain spots and look in certain directions. But while the graphics are only serviceable, the game has a strong sense of atmosphere. The woods are filled with the sounds of rustling leaves and snapping twigs, the pay phone whispers eerily when you lift the receiver, and despite its mainly static graphics, the game offers a couple of genuine scares."

"Join the adventure, and uncover the secrets of the past. The legends of the Cornish world will live again; renewed, refreshed and hungry. Time has no meaning, as the sun sets low across the landscape." - Barrow Hill