“ Genre: Adventures & Role-playing „
Having kids in the house made me want to provide them with indoor entertainment for the evenings, and my search took me into Yahoo games, where there are downloadable games which are free to try on a short term basis, but cost around the fifteen Pound mark, if you decide that you wish to keep the game for future use.
One of the games that I tried was MCF: Prime Suspects, and downloading the game took about five minutes on the slowest form of broadband, which wasn't too long to keep the kids waiting. It takes up about 38.5 megabites which was not too hefty for my computer, and works on Windows 98/ME/2000 and XP. It is stated on the download page that a user needs 500MHz, and 64MB of ram.
Opening the game, it shows you that you are to be a detective. This delighted the kids. You read about the criminal you are investigating, and then go into investigative mode, where you are taken to a map with 29 locations, and only the ones that are in play are highlighted. The idea is that within those locations you find hidden objects, and here the graphics of the package really are interesting, and the objects well hidden. I played with the kids, and we all looked for the treasures together because it is a one player game that actually is friendly for a family to use together.
I liked the fact that the hiding places were well chosen within the location. I liked the colours and design of the locations, and what we discovered was that each person sees different things, and as a joint effort get to pinpoint those objects that are listed on the left hand side of the screen, although some are a little obscure, and American descriptions were a little misleading.
If you get to the stage where you really cannot find the items, you have five hints, but use them sparingly. Once they have gone, you may be left with objects that really are too difficult to find, and the clues chose the objects, rather than the player, and here we were kicking ourselves for getting clues for objects that really were quite obvious after studying the picture.
One feature the kids were delighted with was the magnifying glass used to find pieces in a darkened area on the map. Before you can use it, you have to find the battery which works the magnifier in another location and this added a bit of perspective to the game.
Having found the majority of pieces, you are then taken to an area of puzzle and shifting the pieces around to form a picture tells the player where that crook was at the time of the crime. The depth of the colours, the richness of the illustration cannot be denied here, as it really is inviting to kids.
My overall opinion of the game.
We played for the free period. We used new players each time, because what we found was that by doing that, you got to see different locations and each had its' own atmosphere and difficulty level. One thing that we did notice towards the end of our free play was that the familiarity of where things were hidden got boring, as the objects were often the same ones, hidden in the same places. They advertise the fact that there are 22 levels, but in fact the difficulty level doesn't change. Only the locations do, which was rather disappointing and monotonous.
When you switch on the game, the screen adjusts its resolution automatically for the game, and the original resolution is restored at the end of play.
Coming onto the bit where you win your case, this was a little bit silly and too childish to hold the interest of the kids, aged 9, 7 and 11, and to be honest was the games weak spot. We thought that the game should have had more investigative work, other than just looking for objects, because by the time you have played the game several times, it really doesn't hold any surprises. The game takes about half an hour, is timed, although we never ran out of time. Hopping from one location to another, we found that we were doing so out of boredom rather than enjoyment. The puzzle at the end is rather mundane and the colours fade into the background as you put them into the right place on the picture. This was supposed to be the finale, though the kids actually didn't like this bit very much, as there was less chance of participation of other players than there was in the search area.
All in all, it's an okay game, but one that children get bored with. Download it and try it but at fifteen quid, there are better games available out there. Since the full game is available for download, and the bought game offers nothing more than access to more locations that offer the same options, I cannot see it being of any advantage to buy it, when you can actually play the game online at Yahoo.
The Queen's Hope Diamond has been stolen! Interrogate a rogue's gallery of sinister suspects, search 29 unique locations, and uncover clues cleverly hidden within beautiful illustrations in your investigation to recover the pilfered gem!