If the real strength of a computer role-playing/adventure game is to captivate the audience in a suspenseful, evolving tale of horror, then Veil of Darkness is strong indeed. In fact, the background, locales and decidedly eerie surroundings, soundtrack and characters all add visual and audio delight to this dark and foreboding tale of vampirism in a far away, lost-in-time Romanian valley. Combining elements of the aforementioned genres, the game moves at a quick pace and can be played within a period of a couple of weeks, even less if intensive marathon game play is your style.
With a horror theme, Veil of Darkness deviates from the normal fantasy worlds seen in so many games of the genre (circa 1993). The result is a refreshing romp in a dark world filled with things that nightmares are made of, namely, undead creatures and the shadowy existence of a vampire. The artwork in the game is appropriately gloomy and dismal and coupled with an eerie soundtrack and sound effects, creates a distinctive mood of being caught in a time-forgotten realm. In all likelihood, you will come away from Veil of Darkness and the confrontation with Kairn with a satisfied feeling that you've rid the world of a nefarious evil (assuming you defeat him).
Most of the administrative features of the game (graphics, music, game play options) have a horror-like quality and motif which adds to the overall feel of the game. Those who enjoy vast hordes of creatures to fight may be a bit disappointed by the relatively small number of combat encounters but the depiction of the ghoulish contingent is sufficiently horrific enough to help allay those concerns. Veil of Darkness has backbone and the smooth way your character travels around the world and the underground portions of it is obviously a goal well met by the designers. A good mix of combat, adventure, NPC interaction, conversation trees and background story combine to make playing the game a worthwhile experience.
The manual contains a 32-page prelude titled The Forge of the Evil Heart which sets the scene in an extremely nice fashion and serves as the boilerplate from which the story builds. Well developed options such as print capability (maps and NPC text), item magnification and inventory management (there are ways to exceed the twenty item cap) coupled with puzzles and mazes that won't keep you tied up for days on end lend themselves to enhancing game play. All things considered, there are not any major flaws in the game and the minor ones can be forgiven in light (or should that be dark) of the compelling story. If you like your adventures tinged with the dark forces of evil and chaos, Veil of Darkness is worth a look.
Graphics: Appropriate moody artwork, slightly choppy animation and somewhat dated graphics.
Sound: Music and scary sound effects are integrated well with the game environment.
Enjoyment: Good storyline, fast paced action, good voice acting and moderately difficult mazes and puzzles make for a rewarding and challenging experience.
Replay Value: Not much to do a second time through.
Veil of Darkness is a adventure game with RPG elements featuring a fixed isometric perspective and a fair share of action-RPG style combat.
You take the part of a cargo pilot whose plane is shot down by a mysterious force while flying over a remote valley in Romania. A helpful village girl named Deirdre rescues you from the crash and takes you to her father Kiril, who informs you that your arrival via plane crash marks you as the chosen one who is prophesized to destroy Kairn.
Kairn is the local vampire lord who long ago murdered his father and brothers so he could inherit control of the valley. Ever since he's used his powers to cut off contact with the outside world Kairn has been living it up, torturing the villagers with madness and death, feeding off of them like livestock, turning the village women into his personal vampiress servants, and generally being a spoiled pain-in-the-butt. Meanwhile the villagers are miserable, as every day they face the possibility of either being devoured by werewolves, gnawed on by zombies, driven into stark raving lunatics, or turned into vampires by Kairn and his posse.
Since Kairn has cut off all ways out of the valley the only way you're going to leave is, as the old saying goes, over his dead body. That's not going to be very easy, however. Wild animals and unnatural creatures roam the countryside. While some villagers wise to help you rid them of Kairn, others have been driven mad with despair and by the valley's oppressive aura, causing them to commit unspeakable acts or otherwise act in an unhelpful manner. Even your most trusted allies may turn out to have a few skeletons in the closet...
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