Of Light and Darkness: The Prophecy Download (1998 Adventure Game)

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Of Light and Darkness is a real-time surrealistic adventure in which the player must take action to redeem the collective souls of a multitude of famous (or infamous) historical figures. More than 30 entities, ranging from Quechua, Mythic Godking of the high Andes (5000 B.C.) to the modern day mass murderer John Wayne Gacy (1994 A.D.), are present and accounted for in the race against the encroaching apocalypse.

Action revolves around gaining possession of artifacts belonging to the evil doers, using them to coax the apparitions into appropriate "Halls of the Seven Sins" and ultimately redeeming their souls. The game features a vast array of talented voice actors, including James Woods and Lolita Davidovich, with game environments and artwork created by Gil Bruvel. Options to explore (Free Tours) each game level prior to actually committing to game play as well as in-game strategies to extend the "doomsday" clock countdown to the apocalypse are available for those put off by timed games.

Of Light and Darkness can be played in any one of three modes including the aforementioned free level tours, a real-time multi-level challenge against Gar Hob, the Dark Lord of the Seventh Millennium, or in customized levels in which the apparitions change each time the game is played. The interface is mouse driven and the real-time action is fast paced with the use of portals and light orbs designed for quick movement from locale to locale within the game.

While "adventure" games don't exactly dominate the market these days, they do have their high points. Sure, the action isn't as exciting as 1st person shooters like Quake or Unreal, and they don't generate as much satisfaction as building up enormous armies and bases seen in Starcraft or C&C. The real fun comes from the thought-provoking puzzles and intriguing story.

When a game lacks these two major points, the end result is Of Light and Darkness, a "game" that involves mindless clicking around on the screen, solving uninteresting puzzles and no real gratification. If you insist on staying in the "point-and-click" adventure genre, you would still be better of checking something else out.

You are named the Chosen One, with the task of saving humanity. At the onset of the game, after a bizarre "briefing" from an ominous jack-in-the-box, the player explores the game world, discovering in each room apocalyptic prophecies dating almost to the beginning of time. After about ten minutes of random artifacts, voices, and FMV scenes (starring James Woods I might add), most players will be stuck with the question: What the hell is going on?!

Basically, throughout the three levels (all the same with artifacts in different places), there are different apparitions, or ghosts who have been trapped by the own sins. Players must redeem these apparitions by getting their artifact, find which deadly sin it corresponds to, then finding the room for its sin.

After figuring out what the object of the game is, playing the game is extremely simplistic. Anybody with a mouse, hand and two fingers should get by with no problem (no, opposable thumbs are not required). Basically, players will soon find themselves mindlessly clicking around every possible area, desperately searching for clues.

Throughout the levels, players will acquire different artifacts, orbs of light, used in redeeming aparitions, trans-portals and keys (yep, those are the only objects in the game). These can be used by clicking away at that mouse again.

Other than redeeming aparitions, there are no puzzles, and no chance to really test your intellect, an important aspect of this genre. Thus, a majority of the time will be spent just moving from room to room, clicking around, rather than finding clues and solving thought-provoking puzzles.

When looking at the overall point-and-click genre as a whole, Of Light and Darkness' graphics, which basically consist of different pre-rendered scenes and various video cuts, are really nothing special. The game does have smooth camera zoom ins and outs as the player moves to different regions of the level. Basically, given the fact that every single aspect of the game has been pre-rendered, there is nothing impressive about the visual quality of Of Light and Darkness.

Like its graphics, nothing can really be said about Of Light and Darkness' sounds except that they are extremely average. From basic effects used when setting off orbs of light to the voice-cuts of apocalyptic prophecies, it seems pretty hard to botch up any audio aspect of a click-adventure.

This is the real problem: Of Light and Darkness just isn't fun. Unless you're new to the idea of a using a mouse, the game's basic gameplay, boring puzzles and average graphics won't keep anyone in front of the computer for very long.


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