Reviewed: June 16, 2008
Have you ever wondered about the paranormal? Ever wanted to go ghost hunting or visit a haunted house? Well if you’re not looking to spend a small fortune on pricy equipment or a plane ticket to some of the most haunted locations in the world then I have the next best thing. The Lost Crown, a PC game by British developer Darkling Room is probably one of the most interesting adventures titles I’ve played in a while.
You will play as Nigel Danvers, a man on the run after discovering something he shouldn’t have, and Lucy Reubans, a local girl that lives around the town of Saxton. Together you will uncover the mystery behind a lost Saxton Treasure. To aid you through this tale you will have access to gear used by actual ghost hunters.
Before I get to the review part of this article I have to say that The Lost Crown is without a doubt one of the most eerie, unnerving adventure titles of all time. I’ve played titles like Penumbra and Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, but none have captured the subject matter of the paranormal more brilliantly than The Lost Crown.
The interface of The Lost Crown is pretty easy to pick up on and easy to us. This title is your basic point and click adventure with realistic and integrated puzzles built into the environments. Unlike most adventure titles this one brings something new to the table.
In this adventure (as stated above) you actually get to use equipment that is used by professional ghost hunters. I think this is very cool since no game has ever done this before or been the basic for a game. I personally enjoy learning about the paranormal and the thought that there are unseen presences around us all the time.
You will have access to devices such as a night-vision camcorder, a digital camera with a motion sensor, a voice activated Dictaphone (or voice recorder to most) and an EMF Meter. Once you can access to these items you can use them in various place such as the Harbour Cottage, caves and other locations.
The cool thing about The Lost Crown is that that you are visiting real life places. The town of Saxton is very, very much real. All of the places have been renamed by Jonathan Boakes, the man behind this title and Barrow Hill, and presented to the player.
There are a fair number of people that you will run into during your adventure, most among the living, but some that seek you from the other side. But be warned, not all of them want you there. Some want to stop you from finding what they say should remain buried.
The one thing you will notice is that this title is actually quite long. It took me nearly 30 hours to bring this mystery to a close. This is fairly impressive for an adventure title, but the deep storyline helps move things along pretty steadily.
One of the many complaints gamers have about adventure games is that they hate having to get something on the other side of the world map to solve a puzzle somewhere else entirely. I will admit that sometimes I agree. However with The Lost Crown everything you need to solve a puzzle is generally in the same area as the puzzle. This reduces the amount of senseless wandering trying to find the items you need to proceed and more time progressing through the story.
As far as the graphics go I have to give The Lost Crown credit for trying something different. Pretty much the entire adventure is shown in black and white. The places you navigate through are pretty much photographs of the places that Boakes actually visited while doing researching for this title.
The character models are lacking in just about every way. They just seem out of place against the beautiful and often creepy backgrounds. Character movements are also painfully slow at times even with the quick screen transitions. You will quickly see what I am talking about if you decide to give this one a go.
The Lost Crown does have one saving grace when it comes to the graphics. The use of color periodically throughout the adventure gives certain locations a bit of a dramatic look and appeal. Often colored items will draw your attention to key components for that area.
The photograph stills used in The Lost Crown, after a bit of editing, gives the player a pretty satisfying look and feel just like the adventure title AnaCapri: The Dream also published by Got Game Entertainment. There are also cool particle effects such as fog, dust, wind and even water.
Sound-wise, The Lost Crown is a mixed bag for me. The large cast of voice actors range from the completely boring to the fairly good. The voice acting as in most adventure titles are not all that good, but this title is able to stay afloat.
The true area where The Lost Crown shines is in its sound effects. The variously creepy noises that can be heard throughout your adventure will unnerve you a little at time. The first clue that will alert you to this is a genuinely creepy menu screen complete with a haunting score and the sounds of children and crying.
Throughout your adventure you will hear the sounds of people in certain areas only to get there and there is no one. There is some seriously creepy moments to be had in this title and the chilling original score doesn’t help one bit.
Value wise, The Lost Crown is huge. There is a lot to do in this adventure. The title retails for $30 dollars which pulls it out of the usual $20 budget mark and I think that this title is well worth the $10 extra dollars.
Most adventure titles are made by teams of people and are often mediocre at best. However there are people like Jonathan Boakes, a single person, who create fantastic titles like The Lost Crown, and Darkfall. Jonathan is a fantastic storyteller and it shows in every one of his works.
All in all I was fairly impressed with The Lost Crown. A deep story and a disturbingly creepy score put this title high on my list of creepy adventure titles and of adventure titles in general. A first glance when I loaded up this title I thought that it wasn’t going to be very entertaining but I was wrong.
The voice acting often got on my nerves and the character models definitely could have used some work but all in all it was an enjoyable journey into a land shrouded in mystery and tragedy.