Daughter of the Serpent is a graphic adventure game with a point-and-click interface.
An exotic, ancient city bustling with life. A strange, unnatural creature. A murder. And you, on a business trip to Alexandria, Egypt, suddenly involved in the case of a mysterious cult that deals with strange forces. Take a piece of ancient Egyptian mythology, add a pinch of demonology a la Lovecraft, and mix with a decent dose of colonial middle-east romanticism -- those are the ingredients for the sinister adventure game Daughter of the Serpents.
Daughter of the Serpents would be a pretty common adventure game, if it wasn't for one remarkable feature. Quite unusually for a pedigree adventure game, you have to design your character at the beginning of the game. You may chose a gender as well as one of six professions, ranging from traveller to private eye or occultist. Each category consists of four to five talents, in which you can then invest skill points. You may thus specialise your character in toxicology, let him learn the Arabian language, make him an excellent observer or an expert in necromancy.
The talents have no influence on the plot, but a marginal one on the dialogues; you will get slightly different conversations depending on your knowledge of certain subjects. Your choice of profession, however, opens three slightly different approaches to the mystery, culminating in three different endings. Although the basic course of events does always stay the same, a few scenes are exclusive to each branch. Also, you will be accompanied by either the greek occultist Ariadne Elytis or the rational inspector Bimbashi Cameron. Check out the screenshots section for examples of different scenes.
Daughter Of Serpents contains enough arcane knowledge to provide a crash course in Egyptian Mysticism. The background to the game has obviously been meticulously researched; however, this vast amount of facts could be put to better use in the story, I think. The plot becomes a little confusing, a little too far-fetched, and it becomes hard to suspend disbelief at the strange goings on.
After the first screen opens, it takes awhile for the next two to initialise, but be patient. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen. Then you are presented with a screen that gives you three choices:
1. Create A Character.2. Select A Character.3. Quit
My advice is to choose 'Create A Character' as you can tailor-make your character here. (In option 2 you have to choose a character that the game-makers have already created.) After you've created and saved your character, this persona can be accessed from the 'Select A Character' option from then on. You will be asked to create or select a character at the start of every game.
In the next screen, you'll be asked to Choose A Scenario or Return To The Main Menu. If you click on Choose A Scenario, the game will start with a video sequence. Unfortunately this sequence will play at the start of every game, and I can't reveal any way to escape it.
This is unlike any other adventure game you might have played before. There aren't many puzzles or inventory items (which is good), but there are lots of discussing, analysing and reading. It took me so long to get the hang of the tricky interface and handling of inventory items that I think I'll enjoy it more the second time around. The game is designed so that you can play it many times, and each time the plot unfolds in a different sequence of events.
The game varies according to:1. The decisions you make during the game.2. The character you choose at the start.
An enjoyable aspect of the game is that you can create the main character at the beginning with your choice of name, age, gender, skills, qualifications. The other characters will even call you by the name you choose. If you've always fancied being one of the titled English aristocracy, you can now swan through the game as Lord or Lady whoever. If you're more into an Indiana Jones persona, then with the click of a mouse you're a qualified, skilful, investigative type who is treated with all the deference someone with your position would expect.
The story is set in Alexandria, Egypt in the 1920s. You're visiting Alexandria to investigate some archaeological digs when you're contacted by a mysterious lady offering you an ancient scroll containing magical spells. (This plot will change according to the choices you make along the way.) The scroll also reveals information about an ancient, evil god who seems intent on returning and regaining control of the Egyptian people. He must be stopped. But who can challenge a powerful deity and live?
Well, there's you, intrepid adventurer...
Created by the same team that brought us atmospheric text adventure The Hound of Shadow, Daughter of the Serpent suffers from almost nonexistent puzzles and short length. Nevertheless, the plot, which involves ancient Egyptian curse and artifact-smuggling ring, is excellent. Many possible endings (depending on skills you select at the start) also invite multiple replays that compensate for the short length. In all, a good introductory-level game. The game was updated with voice acting and animations (although with same dated graphics) and re-marketed as The Scroll in 1996.
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