Adventure at the Château d'Or

2001 Karma Labs
Designed by Kevin Morris, Peter Snowden
Reviewed 2002 February 8

Rating -5 Linearity narrow
Reasonability sporadic Connectivity minimal
Difficulty pedestrian Relevance weak
Interface 1st paned simple Real-time minor

A princess inherits a castle, the Château d'Or, from her uncle, the Duke. You must help her unravel the mystery of the Château and the Duke's collection of "sensory focal devices".

There's not much of a story, just a quick excuse to plop you on the estate and point you towards some puzzles. The Princess is nothing more than a reason to be there, and the Duke is just a generic bad guy.

You'll find some info about Paris in the library, and you will be tested on it, like in school. The reason, like the reason for pretty much everything you do, is only that the Duke is lacking in sanity. This excuse for puzzles is a sure sign that the designors are lacking in creativity: if you can't figure out how to integrate the challenges, make a rich crazy/eccentric character to put them there.

Other than the pop-quiz, there are few challenges. Most of those are puzzles that don't require deduction, just trial and error -- i.e., a combination lock where the "solution" is to try every combination until you get the right one. There is also a nasty timed sequence, which comes at you with no warning, and with no way to save during it.

The interface is a first person slide-show, with transition movies between nodes. It was serviceable, although it was short on nodes (player locations) so that navigation was sometimes confusing. The disc space was used on the Paris documentaries, I guess.

There were some serious bugs in the game. You can't actually complete the real-time segment. Fortunately, you don't have to, you only have to gather information, so your resurrected self can continue on (assuming you saved the game at some point). There are also times when items don't go into the inventory, or disappear from it. I got around that by editing the saved game file with a text editor.

The plot and challenges seem to be afterthoughts. The game iteself is buggy. The only points of interest are the historical movies and the château itself -- for that, a trip to the library is preferable.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.
David Tanguay's Game Reviews
Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.