|"There's nothing like treasure maps and hidden gold to make an otherwise dull day become one full of adventure. While cleaning the attic on what could have been a perfect Saturday morning, a young girl comes across a treasure map, leading her on a search for gold hidden by her great uncle over sixty years ago. On the way, she will encounter snakes, bears, caves, salamanders, dirty bathrooms, and a sweet-as-a-pit-of-vipers troublemaking gang."
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Mon 9th Jan 2006
By David Whyld - See all my reviews
Finally released after much delay on the writer’s part, Black Sheep’s Gold follows the adventures of a young girl called Maria as she embarks on a quest to find her great-grandfather Rupert’s hidden treasure. Rupert, it turns out, is the black sheep of the game’s title and the gold is the proceeds of a bank robbery some sixty years before, and while Rupert himself was arrested for the crime the location of the gold was never uncovered. Until now…
Black Sheep’s Gold has a professional feel to it throughout. Locations are very well detailed with most of the static items examinable and often containing either items or clues to help you through the game. There’s no hints system used here but then Black Sheep’s Gold doesn’t really require any hints. Most of the puzzles are straightforward and direct and are mainly a case of whether you have the right object for the right task. Even when you don’t have the right object it’s not difficult figuring out what you need and how to get it. There are very few instances when you really need to struggle to figure out what to do next.
Where the game excels is in the writing which is excellent throughout. It’s mainly a light-hearted game and is enjoyable to play for the most part. In fact, the only really negative thing I could find to say about it involves the kidnapping of the little girl by a gang of thugs also after the gold and an unpleasant incident when one of them stamps on her wrist. Considering that Black Sheep’s Gold had been pretty much a cheerful and happy game up to that stage, the sudden kidnapping and assault comes as quite a shock and doesn’t seem to fit in well with the rest of the story. At times, it’s like the writer decided to combine two very different games and the result didn’t quite work.
Bad things aside, this is certainly a game worth playing. Mystery and Campbell Wild even pop up as characters in the main town (examining Mystery leads to an amusing comment about beta-testing which was probably the funniest thing in the game!) Unfortunately the rest of the characters aren’t particularly enthralling; conversation isn’t well handled on the whole, being just a simple case of “talk to [character]” and a set response. There’s no real interaction which is a shame because the game would have benefited immensely from this, especially in light of the hints in the magazine found in the first location which specifically tell you to talk to the characters.
A few rough edges - the kidnapping and assault and some truly bad guess the verb problems - let the game down but nevertheless Black Sheep’s Gold is certainly a decent game.
Logic: 9 out of 10
Nothing really illogical about it although when exits just mysteriously appear after a task has been completed when there was no sign of them before, it often leaves me scratching my head in confusion.
Problems: 5 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
Guess the verb – the dreaded bane of quite a few games – was out in force here. Getting through the wall in the cave was a nightmare even though I knew roughly what I should be doing but the worst problems hit with the bear. I must have typed twenty or thirty different phrases (all meaning pretty much the same thing) before the damn bear finally took the honey and left me alone – “feed bear” and “give honey to bear” failed miserably. It also didn’t help matters much that when both the snake and the bear had been dealt with the location description still has them listed as being present.
Story: 8 out of 10
Well written and interesting enough to hold your attention.
Characters: 4 out of 10
Better interaction would have been a great bonus as, while conversations with characters are possible, they don’t have a lot to say and what they do say generally doesn’t have much relevance.
Writing: 8 out of 10
Excellent from start to finish. Some of the darker elements of the story could have been toned a little though.
Game: 7 out of 10
Despite a few unpleasant moments, this was a great game overall and definitely bodes well for the writer’s future adventures.
Overall: 41 out of 60