Of Light and Darkness: The Prophecy

a game by Interplay Entertainment Corp.
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
Rate this game:

Overview

Once every thousand years, gates are opened between the waking world and the realm of dreams, offering a chance to save humanity from extinction. It’s the end of the Millennium and we are nearing the Apocalypse. Your job, as The Chosen One, is to redeem the Apparitions (masks of famous historical ne’er-do-wells) in the Village of the Damned and defeat The Dark Lord before time runs out on the Clock of Judgment.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Of Light and Darkness: The Prophecy is a first-person real-time adventure game, in the tradition of Myst and Riven. If you’ve navigated through Myst or other similar games, you’ll adapt to this fairly well. Very simply, you just point where you want to go and click to get there. Your mouse pointer will change to let you know whether or not you can get somewhere and whether there is something to hear or look at. You also have the ability to pick up things such as light orbs, artifacts and Trans Portals, and can access your inventory and use the items within it by right clicking or through keyboard commands. It can take a while to get used to the way Apparitions are found and redeemed, so reading the manual thoroughly and playing the game in Free Tour (learning) mode is a good idea. Don’t expect a meandering stroll through the Village, though. This game is a lot faster, requiring quicker thinking and action, than other games of this genre. You are on a time limit, and time runs out very fast.

Graphics

The graphics are simply stunning. The gorgeous 3-D environments in which you move were created by talented artist Gil Bruvel (whose other works can be seen at www.bruvel.com). The "Village" and the rooms within have the look and feel of a surrealistic shopping mall at Mardi Gras. The best part about this game is the smoothness of motion -- instead of having to wait for a picture to load when you move, you simply zoom there. There is also a smooth-turning 360 degree range of vision, which is a big help when navigating some of the more maze-like portions of the map. The movie-quality character rendering in the cinematic animations is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Things move while you’re actually in play. If you’ve been around the Village a few times already, the replaying of the movies can be a bit annoying, but you can always just click through them.

Audio

The audio is not bad. No major explosions or anything that would require a heavy-duty sound system. There’s some decent music, a few neat sound effects, and some very good voice-over talent, including James Woods as Gar Hob (our villain) and Lolita Davidovich as our heroine Angel Gemini. There’s a lot worth listening to in the background ambient noise, although it’s not really necessary to gameplay.

System Requirements

Pentium 90 or faster, Windows 95 (will run on NT 4.x), 16 MB RAM, 4X or faster CD-ROM drive, SoundBlaster or compatible sound card, 30 MB free hard drive space, Microsoft-compatible mouse, Direct X 3.0+

Documentation

A very useful map and artifact identifier, a quick reference guide, and the "Book of the Damned" manual with the game instructions, some useful hints, and an essential list of the Apparitions are included in the documentation. (The clues here can actually help you get through the game more easily, and I highly recommend reading them prior to playing the game.)

Parental Advisory

There are rather mature themes and images throughout the game, including references to violence and sexuality, although no major graphic depictions of either. The Apocalyptic theme and strong religious references could also be disturbing to some. This game is best suited for ages 13 and up.

Bottom Line

Great ideas and some very good work on all levels. The graphics are outstanding and the game is unique. The storyline is well-thought-out and it plays like an interactive music video at times, though perhaps not quite often enough. The dialogue is very well-written and often quite funny (visions of James Woods as Hades in Disney’s Hercules kept coming to mind). As with the unfortunate curse of other games of this type, there isn’t a lot of replayability, although the specific assortment of the various star colors and Apparitions does change from game to game (be sure to save your game after each level) and there is a customize option. The gameplay itself suffers from being both a bit too hard to figure out at first (unless you do the smart thing and read the manual that has so thoughtfully been included), and then a bit too easy once you’ve figured it out. Don’t expect the varied brain teasers like you get with Myst and Riven, or the "what do I do next" feeling you get with some other adventure games, particularly text-based ones. There can be a sense of tedium now and then when redeeming yet another darned Apparition in the same way you have the last 10. Perhaps due only to the game’s Apocalyptic theme (after all, it does focus on Millennium prophecies and the Seven Deadly Sins) rather than the actual intentions of the game designers, there’s a fairly heavy moralistic tone to some of the storyline, which I found rather annoying and not exactly necessary to gameplay. If you’re easily frustrated, used to games where you just run around and blow things up, or impatient to get to the end of the game, this may not be the game for you. However, this game should appeal to mature game players with time to kill and an appreciation for the gorgeous graphics and interesting ambience. I wouldn’t call it a particularly exciting game or one that involves a lot of critical game-playing or puzzle-solving skills, but it’s a good way to waste a weekend. If nothing else, it’s interesting to watch someone else play. Maybe not one to spend your last 40 bucks on, but well worth a look.

Download Of Light and Darkness: The Prophecy

X More on GameFabrique NBA Jam

Download NBA Jam