The Black Mirror

Review

posted 12/3/2003 by Tyler Sager
other articles by Tyler Sager
One Page Platforms: PC
The forward momentum of the game, however, is not done as smoothly as the puzzles. Like most adventure games now days, it’s not possible to move on to the next scene or chapter until all of the necessary tasks are accomplished. In a good adventure game, it’s usually apparent which tasks need to be done, or at least once a something vital is accomplished, it’s obvious why that particular task was needed to forward the plot. In The Black Mirror, however, it’s not always readily apparent. At one point, for example, I was waiting for a character to finish a task for me. I kept going back, asking him if the job was done, to no avail. I decided to wander around, talk to everyone (again), and pretty much retraced all my steps. Nothing seemed to help. Finally, I noticed (somewhere completely unrelated) a broken window, clicked on it, and Samuel made some offhand remark about the rain coming in. That must have been the final trigger necessary to move the plot along, because now the job was done and I could move forward. Problems like this make for some frustrations.

The Black Mirror is a lot more lethal than most of the recent adventure games. Mistakes and wrong moves can result quickly in the “Game Over” screen. While this is a bit frustrating (and makes it much more important to save frequently), it does add a bit of tension to the game. The “try everything” approach still works, but only with frequent reloading.

The background 2D graphics are quite good, and it usually easy to discern what’s happening onscreen. The character animations aren’t as impressive, though. Again, most are fairly well done, but Samuel’s animations just aren’t the same quality as everyone else’s. Or it might just be that more of the game is spent staring at Samuel, so any shortcomings are more noticeable. The sounds (other than the acting) are decent, and the music is properly threatening and ominous.

The Adventure Company puts out some solid adventure games. The Black Mirror is certainly not their best, but during this time of scarce adventure titles, we’ll take what we can get. On that note, this is not a title for those wanting to try out adventure games for the first time. For die-hard adventure gamers, The Black Mirror will do a decent job of holding us over for a while. Just as long as we remember that “mute” command…


C-
A fairly decent adventure game with some surprisingly bad vocal work. Subtitles are our friends.


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