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DANCE of DEATH: Du Lac & Fey - From Camelot to Whitechapel

Salix Games on PC (Steam)

Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey is a third-person perspective point and click adventure. It uses the action hotspot system and allows the player to control the characters of Du Lac, Fey, and Mary.

 

FIGHTING the DEMON at the beginning of the game
This is like a side-scrolling combat game with a combi-health bar that shows how well or not you are doing.

 
 
 
 
 
 
DEMON or DRAGON ?

 
  

This is such a good story and so well told but the animations are so stoic, dogged, dreadfully slow, and the whole thing grinds along like a steamroller in a Formula One race. I keep returning to it because it is so compellingly good as a detective game (even though you are led by the nose too often) and a wonderfully engaging tale, but then I get frustrated when the character I am currently controlling wanders all over the screen looking for the footprints that allow movement between scenes - why the designers couldn't have just used the old but specifically easy Arrows on the side, top or bottom ? or better still have the scenes seamlessly meld together as the cursor reaches the edges. Instead you have to locate the footprints (which are not always where you would expect them to be for the direction you wish to travel) and wait a few seconds for the screen to change and settle; your character cannot just move between scenes, Grrrr!!!

The scenes of which I speak are made up of a 2D background with some almost 3D characters in them. Some of these NPCs have the occasional regular physical movement, an arm moves, a head nods etc but generally they stand where they are and don't interact with you or do anything other than look the part. You seem to glide along slowly, a double tap of the mouse button appears to make you move a little faster but I think that's just a trick of the light. Shops and pubs you enter have the same people in the same places except when you are to meet someone specific and then they will be found until the conversation is over.

   
If when you get close enough and click on a person a (...) will appear above their heads and then they might have a speech for you (which will repeat every time you talk to them - most of the time) or you may be able to ask them a question. You are often given the choice of three questions or answers, click on one to say it. Unlike many other games the other questions you might have in the list do not always reappear and thus your questions and answers help build up the story as you play. 

 

You begin by controlling Du Lac (who you later discover to be 'the' Lancelot Du Lac) fresh off the boat at London Docks. With you is your 'friend' Fey, who is a dog that can talk (and it is soon obvious some foul magic has transformed Morgan Le Fey from human to mutt). As you go about your business (which it seems is to find Merlin and get Fey returned to human form) you can switch between these two characters when the script calls for it - Fey can talk to other dogs for information etc and may also be able to get into places Du Lac cannot. 

There are short side-missions and elements of the main mission such as trapping a Demon in a mirror or going on a Troll Hunt (19th July 1888 through to 22nd August 1888) but neither the animation nor player interaction is expressively good.

 

There is a fair amount of 'adult' language, especially during conversations with NPCs. Sadly these chats are force fed - they speak and you have to read/listen and then click to allow the discussion to continue. Okay at times this is fair because some of the speeches are longish and if you are taking notes of what is said then you don't want to be playing catch-up for unlike a film on the screen you cannot simply rewind by moving the action bar back, but they can be long and all the while you are doing nothing.

Beware the Ballad Singer outside Christ Church she starts off in a friendly tone but her manner and language become rough and ready very quickly and for little reason.  

Some of the Quests (or whatever you wish to call them) are basic and boring; 'Find a place to stay' 'Get a room' that sort of thing and although they do not take long to accomplish in most cases (plus you are reminded of your success and requirements in the top left corner of the screen - played on PC via Steam) with the game being so slow they seem to take an age. 

A couple of other things that have caught my eye as far as I have managed to get to date - have no worry I will continue with this to the very end (unless my mind boggles and head explodes while waiting for the scene to change or someone to move from scene to scene) and these are that a) many of the stores have lights on and look to be open for business, but you cannot enter them. Too many people spend all day in the same position in the street or bar or store etc.

 

An odd thing that struck me was that Mr Jenkins (when in the pub) looks very much like the excellent Canadian actor 'Christopher Heyerdahl' (That's him above; unfortunately he isn't one of the voice actors so the likeness must just be a coincidence. Speaking of the voice acting, there is an Amazing Cast of Voice Actors from Films and Television. Many you may think that you have never heard of,  but so many that you will almost certainly have seen in one or more TV programmes or movies. Included among these fine vocalists are: (in order)

Perdita Weeks (Magnum P.I. 2019, Ready Player One, Penny Dreadful, Rebellion, The Musketeers etc etc etc)
Rupert Vansittart (Game of Thrones, Doc Martin, Outlander, Father Brown, Casualty, Braveheart, Foyle's War etc etc etc)
Alexandra Roach (Utopia, Black Mirror, No Offence, Hunderby, Being Human, Candy Cabs, New Tricks etc etc etc)
Ingvild Deila (Rogue One, Avengers Age of Ultron, Relationshit, + + + + )
Anthony Ingruber (Batman video Games voice of the Joker, Avatar, How it Should have Ended + + + )
Gareth David-Lloyd (Torchwood, The Widow, Casualty, Robind Hood: The Rebellion, Waterloo Road + + + )
Priyanga Burford (London Spy, Marcella, Criminal, Press, Star Wars: Last Jedi, No Offence, The Thick of it  + + + )
Amelia Tyler (Boon, Verdict, Superman Requiem, Tales of Bacon, a myriad of video game voices, + + + )
and
Tom Lawrence (The Crown, The King, Catherine the Great, Doctors, Silent Witness, Inspector Lynley + + + ) 

 

DEATH in the SNOW

 

 
 

Du Lac (Lancelot)                                    Fey (Morgana Le)
 

 It isn't but it could be The Olde Curiosity Shoppe

In one of the stores you will see a book (very rare and in Ancient Welsh) about King Arthur - this is when you are in control of Mary (a friendly girl shall we say) - and the owner of the store tells you the tale of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere and Lancelot Du Lac which is extremely interesting to you because being a commoner in East London this is not something you would have knowledge of.

 

 

Some of the tale of Jack the Ripper comes into play in the game, perforating the adventure with snippets of information, names of the victims and the suspected, and leading you to get involved in the hunt for 'Jack'.

 'Charlie' Is he the beginning of Holmes' famous Baker Street Irregulars?

 

Inspector Frederick Abberline: Chief of the London Metropolitan Police. Famous for investigating but failing to catch Jack the Ripper.

There is much for me to do in this game and many hours more game play. I look forward to continuing my journey even with the frustration of the specifics for movement. I truly wish it wasn't such a PITA but the tale is strong enough to rise above the impracticalities and hold the intrigue and interest of the player. 

If you have any interest in Jack the Ripper and/or King Arthur and you enjoy stories seen from different angles and viewpoints then this is most certainly worth the $30.00 cost (it is launched on 5th April and as yet I can see no £sterling cost).

 

Th following message has been released by Jessica Saunders of Salix

Dear Salix Community,

It's been a rough ride launching Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey - something we knew might happen from the moment we decided to self-publish. Our ability to polish the game would rely on two things; time and money. We sadly ran out of both.

As a result, our day one release simply wasn’t good enough and for that we are deeply sorry.

 

Some of you will know there was an issue with save games on our April 5th launch, but we worked hard to resolve the problem and by April 9th it had been fixed. The following week, thanks to our incredible community, we'd fixed the most critical issues reported and resolved several major blockers. We plan to release further regular updates over the coming weeks which will refine potions gameplay, character movement, as well as further developing some of the characters' stories in our world.

 

We have now released our 200+ page art book and original soundtrack, which is almost two hours’ worth of music spread across 39 tracks by two world class composers Jools Scott (Flanders Remembers St Paul’s Cathedral) and Jeff Rona (God of War, Devil May Cry 5). As existing users, you will have access to them both as part of your purchase. We are very proud of the music and artwork in our game and sincerely hope you enjoy them!

 

We are a narrative adventure with a rich and layered story and a cast of compelling characters through which to experience it. If you’re a lover of narrative, character, and a damn fine mystery and haven’t given us a go - please do. If you tried us and were let down by early technical issues, please give us another chance, we sincerely believe you'll be rewarded.

 

We’re only a small team, but we are listening and we are fixing. We want this game to be the best it can be and we won’t give up until we get there.

 

Thank you for reading, and your support.

 

Jessica Saunders

CEO Salix Games

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015