|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Jonathan Boakes (Darkling Room)||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Got Game Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
It's hard not to develop at least a mild fascination with ghost stories and the unearthly legends of the people who've long passed on from this world. Such tales - particularly if they are well-delivered - can raise the hairs on your neck and send chills down the spine. The Lost Crown: A Ghost-hunting Adventure is steeped heavily in the folklore intrigue of the spirit world rather than the full-on gore and flesh eating creatures found in horror games, but it still delivers a winding story full of scary moments and interesting twists. It's a creepy game that dabbles equally in aspects of ghost-hunting, searching for ancient treasure, and old fashioned detective work. If you're into ghosts, you'll love digging into this haunted adventure mystery set on the fog-laden coast of England.
After stumbling across records of paranormal research at work and making off with copies of the sensitive documents, Nigel Danvers seeks refuge from his pursuers in the small town of Saxton located on England's eastern shores. All is not what it appears in this sleepy village populated with eccentric characters, plenty of folk legends, and a dark history of haunting memories. Danvers soon becomes drawn in by local stories of hidden treasure and the town's ghostly inhabitants, and he sets out to recover Anglia's last Anglo-Saxon crown while documenting paranormal activity around the area. The story is much of what makes a point-and-click style adventure game sparkle, so we'll leave the rest to the imagination and discovery. It's safe to say our protagonist will make some unusual acquaintances and stumble into many bizarre and eerie situations on his journey over, under, around, and through the Saxton landscape.
One of the unique and rather odd aspects of The Lost Crown is the game's visuals are almost entirely black and white. In stark contrast, very subtle and meager amounts of color are used sparingly to accentuate minor details like budding flowers, a few pictures, tinted glass, bloody fish carcasses, and so forth. Quite often only a hint of color will be given to a single element in an entire screen, and in some cases you can travel for awhile without encountering any color at all. This is a bit odd initially, but it fits the mysterious and spooky atmosphere remarkably well.
Even with the extreme black and white presentation, nearly every graphical aspect in the game is impressive. There's a very high level of photorealistic detail in the environments and settings. Each location is highly realistic, and many are based-on actual places in the real-world. The great variation in visual settings keeps the exploratory component of the game from getting stale since players must traverse through caves, beaches, forests, buildings around the quaint town, and beyond. Just as you'll begin to get tired of a particular area, the next will present a whole new interesting locale to explore. The only graphical setback comes from the character animation and detail. Each person in the game looks decently convincing until they start to move and talk. The stiff movement and turning animations and strange eye and mouth reflexes make the characters look like motorized wax museum figures. It's a flaw that players shouldn't find too difficult to overlook, but it's unfortunate when compared to the excellent scenery.