Does Scotland intrigue you? Do castles inspire you? Does the need to solve mysteries and puzzles run through your blood? Then Castle MacPhiles is the place for you, full of "ghosts, ghoulies, and long-legged beasties," Scottish lore, and even recipes (including the ever-popular "haggis" -- horrid-sounding stuff indeed). Clandestiny is a delightfully whimsical adventure, sure to please those of you who have just a bit of child-like awe still left inside.
You begin playing Clandestiny by watching an animated movie starring our hero and heroine, Andrew and Paula. They head off through the hills in their tiny car, to heed "destiny's call" at spooky Castle MacPhiles. Andrew, our unlikely hero ("a wimp from a long line of wimps") and Paula (a girl who fears almost nothing) are entertaining to watch as they wander throughout the castle. Make no mistake: Castle MacPhiles is a true Castle, with a capital C. Besides the ghosts and ghoulies, you will also find numerous gardens, caves, dungeons, towers, and secret passageways -- all there for you to explore. The story is quite charming, and it is always interesting to learn more about the -- dare we say -- odd inhabitants of the castle.
The controls in Clandestiny are easy to figure out: either you can go some place, or you can't. Similar to the controls in, a beckoning hand will clue you in to where you are invited, and a hand shaking "no-no" will let you know when you can go no further. At times I became annoyed with the "no-no" hand, because -- like a rambunctious two-year-old -- I seemed to encounter that symbol more often than the beckoning hand.
I loved the sounds used in Clandestiny. The bagpipe music and the characters' Scottish accents added to the feeling of the Scottish setting, although I must admit that too much time spent in one room can result in an "overload" of one piece of music.
Clandestiny has a great look. You can tell Trilobyte spent a great deal of time and energy putting it together. The rooms have an authentic "castle" look about them, complete with lots of knick-knacks, pictures, and articles of interest just begging for a closer look. The animation/video clips are really what carry the plot, and they are interesting and fun to watch. All of the characters are created well and have their own unique idiosyncrasies, just waiting to be discovered in their own sweet time.
The "games" in Clandestiny include logic puzzles, AI games, and door riddles. The difficulty levels range from nervous to cowardly to brave -- basically from "my 5 year old could solve this in one move" to "what in the world is my goal here?" This reviewer tried the game on all three settings and decided that the brave level was the one for me. I enjoy a challenge, and while some of the games were fairly easy to figure out, there were a number that had me stumped for a while. Perseverance, in this world, is rewarded with more video scenes of Clandestiny's 40-minute animated story. Clandestiny has a unique way of saving a game, one that I found to be quite fun. When you click on the camera icon and then click on save, the camera will flash and take a still picture of where you are. The photos are then saved in the Guidebook, under the photos section (naturally). All the saved game photos are lined up, so that you can easily choose the one you want. The Guidebook will become your constant friend and companion. Not only does it have a spot for saved games, but also a tips section, maps, lore, photos, and a glossary. The glossary proves handy when you need to figure out what in the world that strange-sounding word means, while the Lore and Sights sections will fill you in on the popular myths of Scotland. I hope you can figure out what the Maps and Tips sections are for.
P-60, 8 MB RAM, Win 95, 2X CD-ROM drive, 16 MB hard disk space, VESA video w/1 MB memory, mouse, SB compatible sound card
Recommended: P-133, 16 MB RAM, PCI video w/ 2 MB memory, 4X CD-ROM drive, SoundBlaster 32, powered speakers
Reviewed on: P-120, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, Diamond Stealth 64 PCI
As a whole, Clandestiny is an entertaining, fun-filled game. The only disappointment that I encountered was when I discovered that there wasn't much direct interaction with the characters, and that fact does affect my scoring somewhat. While most of the puzzles related well to their surroundings, I still felt disembodied from the action at times. But regardless of my wishes for more interaction, I can tell that Trilobyte has done some major research, working hard to create an intriguing game, one definitely worth trying. I enjoyed Clandestiny for what it was -- a game of logic puzzles, with the reward of a movie -- and will happily give it a score of 81.