Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple Review

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Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple Publisher: City Interactive
Developer: City Interactive

Platform: DS
Reviewed on DS

Archaeologist Sylvie Leroux finds herself flying to Malta after her mentor, an historian investigating a Crusader chapel, vanishes. Only by discovering the web of reasons behind the professor's disappearance and delving into the secrets of the Knights Hospitaller will Leroux get to the bottom of this mystery.

Kyle Ackerman

Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient TempleChronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple is exactly the sort of game that should be reaching the DS. Nintendo has been striving to reach gamers beyond the "hardcore" set on its platforms, and few styles of game are better suited to the DS than "hidden object" games. The world is full of people who play casual online games during their lunch breaks, and yet don't consider themselves gamers. Those are the folks who should grab a friend's DS and pop in Curse of the Ancient Temple.

To be fair, Curse of the Ancient Temple isn't solely a hidden-object game. It's an adventure-game-style interactive novel replete with straightforward puzzles. But the bulk of the play comes in the form of screens where the player is tasked with finding a variety of objects hidden in the scenery. Both the story and the "Hidden World" extra activities are filled with these challenges – the upper DS screen shows the overall scene, while the lower screen scrolls around the larger scene, allowing players to hunt down the various objects scattered around. To maintain replayability, the objects that need to be found change from play to play.

Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient TemplePuzzles are constantly interjected, and while none are particularly difficult, they are interesting enough to serve as a welcome break from the usual action. These puzzles range from balancing weights to matching symbols, to navigating mazes and tracing difficult paths. All of these puzzles can also be practiced outside the game's story mode.

Everything is tied together in a pleasant narrative framework, following the storyline. The story can either serve as a welcome framework for the puzzles, or can easily be ignored by those who want to get straight to searching for stuff. Occasionally, the story doesn't sufficiently indicate which adventure game-style action to take (such as sweeping yellowish areas in a garden with a broom), but a hint button will always drag you by the nose to the next action.

Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient TempleThe one serious issue with Curse of the Ancient Temple is the story's language. The tale itself is fine, but was clearly written and translated by a non-native English speaker. Peculiar idioms sneak in, and a few glaring spelling errors really drag the player out of the experience. Fundamentally, more-natural and less-stilted, foreign-sounding English is the one thing that would dramatically improve the experience for casual gamers. But at $20, there's not a lot to lose by trying out Curse of the Ancient Temple.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on November 12, 2009 8:30 PM.

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