Celtica is a first-person point-and-click adventure with a supernatural Irish setting, similar in style to Broderbund's multimedia masterpiece Myst. Players traverse a fantastical Emerald Isle to seek out and solve two dozen main puzzles. The game begins with an ancient Celtic tale of Otherworld gods, who visited long ago but found mankind uncivilized. They left behind three important artifacts: The Ascension Amulet, a source of magic, The Book of Ascension, which chronicles their beliefs, and The Ascension Harp.
Celtica is a good, old-fashioned, first-person, point-and-click, Myst-style adventure. The premise of Celtica is that in an ancient time, an alien race traveled to earth and left behind an Ascension Amulet, Ascension Harp, and Ascension Book, all of which hold powerful secrets and can allow the one who possesses them to ascend to the domain of the alien race. Celtica takes place on an island, and as gameplay progresses, you uncover the story of the people that went before and have since disappeared from the island and their search for the items you are also trying to find. The story is actually quite detailed, and part of the fun of the game is getting more pieces of it as gameplay progresses, so I'm not going to give away any more here.
Graphics are quite beautiful. Despite the Myst style of the game, it holds up completely on its own, with really well-rendered environments to explore, including some rolling countryside dotted with ancient Celtic statuary, a monastery, Stonehenge-style ruins, a mansion, caves, lighthouse, graveyard - the island is really filled with explorable locations. There are a couple of areas where path hotspots can be missed or are not really clear, and this can hang up gameplay a bit as you retrace steps or looking for which way a path should go, or even if there is a path.
I heartily enjoyed the accompanying music. It was designed and presented in keeping with the Celtic theme, and it certainly gave the environment the definite air of the ancient Celts. Lots of harp and flute, all of which was certainly right on target as far as I was concerned.
The puzzles were an absolute blast. Some were more difficult than others, but all fit into what was happening in the game. The game also was linear, but it was designed in three big open sections so that the player has a tremendous freedom of movement right from the starting point of the game but cannot progress past each section until all puzzles in that one area are completed.
The game also features an unusually beautiful interface, with Celtic-styled designs bordering the overall game screen, and also a very aesthetic and complex (in style, not use) interface, where the player can see what portions of the overall puzzles have been won and how much of the quest of the game has been completed.
There is also a separate clues menu interface, which stores books with clues that are found by the player. As such, it acts as a hint file and also tracks various collected manuscripts that enable the player to piece together the story.
If you love peaceful, leisurely paced, first-person games where you can take your time, explore, and uncover a good story, Celtica is definitely going to be right up your alley.
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