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Cursor  Member Reviews - The Woods Are Dark

3 Ratings
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
  Mon 9th Jan 2006
By David Whyld - See all my reviews

The majority of adventure games that set out to be chilling and scary fail miserably - they’re neither chilling, scary or (99% of the time) any good. The Woods Are Dark is one of the few that succeeds.

You begin with a lengthy introduction which, while perhaps a tad too long, does give the game a certain amount of depth that is quite refreshing. It makes a nice change to all those adventures where you’re dumped in the first location and have no idea what you’re even doing there, although an option to skip the introduction might have been a good idea.

The Woods Are Dark concerns a hunt for friends lost in a wood on the Irish coast. Years before a brutal murder was committed in the area. Is there a connection between that and the events of the present? You better believe it.

There are several things about this game that are appealing: the well-written introduction, the location descriptions, the use of puzzles... Each location comes with a proper description that makes you feel like you really are there - there are none of the one line room descriptions that so often plague adventure games of this short. Descriptions are lengthy and interesting, often containing items that need careful examination to reveal necessary clues. There are an impressive amount of static items to be examined, and although the majority of these are nothing more than scenery they add a proper level of depth to the game.

I particularly liked the way most of the puzzles were put together: sometimes just trying something because it seems like the logical thing to do works. No doubt quite a bit of time has been spent on this aspect of the game and it shows.

As you play the game, a genuine sense of unease builds up, added further to by the fact that the game is told in the past tense. This helps give a sense of realism that precious few games manage. It also adds considerably to the atmosphere, a feat made all the better by the stylish writing which, though lengthy, is always interesting to read. If the author hasn’t considered a career as a writer of horror fiction he perhaps should do.

The Woods Are Dark is certainly the best of the recent games written with ADRIFT and a testament to the fact that, with effort, it is possible to write a genuinely decent horror game.

Logic: 7 out of 10
Puzzles are amazingly straightforward and it’s quite interesting how easy to figure out some of them are when you just give them a little thought.

Problems: 9 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if what you’ve encountered is a bug or not, but after I dealt with the puzzle relating to the dolls house I discovered a ball had mysteriously appeared but I was unable to pick it up. I also found myself unable to pick up the cat. A bug? Or was I simply going about things in the wrong way?

Story: 9 out of 10
A definite winner. Atmospheric, spooky and - quite often - downright chilling.

Characters: 0
No actual characters which was a pity.

Style of writing: 9 out of 10
Impressive throughout, from the opening sequence to the location descriptions.

Game: 8 out of 10
A very well written horror game that is the sort of adventure we ought to be seeing a lot more of.

Overall: 42 out of 50

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
  Mon 26th Nov 2012
By Kennedy - See all my reviews

A fairly good game, if somewhat short.

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