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THE SERPENT'S CURSE is the 5th in the BROKEN SWORD series of point and click adventure games
from REVOLUTION Software. It was mainly funded by a Kickstarter campaign. It is Part One of a two part
tale, so be prepared for an abrupt ending that isn't entirely satisfying.

The story begins with the theft of a painting in Spain just before WWII. The scene then sets to a small
Parisienne Art Gallery and the murder of the Gallery owner Henri as the painting is once again the subject
of theft, this time by a Pizza Deliver person wearing a Motor Cycle helmet and carrying a gun in a pizza box.
Henri's death occurs in front of Father Simeon, George Stobbart, Nico and Hector Laine. 

George & Nico are known from previous Broken Sword games, meeting at the Gallery is unplanned.
Father Simeon is in the Gallery because of the religious implications of the painting, a 1937 piece painted by
the artist known as El Serp and titled "La Malediccio".
George Stobbart works for the insurance company who have insured the painting.                                                   
Nico now works for La Libertie news media. They meet at the Gallery by chance.
Hector Laine is an art critic and also a character known from a previous Broken Sword adventure.

          

The story is very good with clues that are usually locatable through perseverence, including continually asking
the same question again and again until it is no longer available to ask or the answers simply regularly repeat.
Logic plays a good part in your investigations but as usual you cannot jump the gun. There may be something
so obvious that you know you have to do it but until you have reached the part in the story where the author has
deemed it necessary for you to do so, you simply cannot act as you would want. This is the same in virtually all
point and click adventures; the leads do follow a trail but it isn't necessarily the logical order of your train of
thought.

After Henri's death and before the police arrive George (that's you) has the opportunity to question Father
Simeon and Hector Laine. Nico rushes out after the killer. George can now investigate the manner in which the
theft was engineered.

Once the police arrive - the wonderfully French Inspector Navet and his Sergeant Moue - you need to take on
a more devious route. This is when you switch characters and Nicole "Nico" Collard comes back onto the scene.
Mainly you will control George, switching over to Nico only for brief but important interludes, but for now you
have to discover all you can about the thief - luckily you took some photographs - have a cup of coffee (or two)
and find a way to get back into the Gallery past the somewhat gullible but religiously obedient Moue who stands
guard on the door.

           

Despite the fact that George was in the Gallery when the theft occurred and that he was seen by Nico, Hector and
Simeon Inspector Navet deduces that George is the murderer - I couldn't understand the logic here at all. George is
arrested when he (you) finds the murder weapon, but he is soon released, though Navet still considers him to be the
prime suspect.

Movement around towns is by walking
(mainly) until there is a screen change or you get the map (Paris for example) and click on the area you wish to visit.
Once you are in the correct area for the next piece of the puzzle - the detecting of the main plot and killer being the
puzzle - you cannot leave it until you have discovered all there is to find at the time. When hunting for a clue there
is a Hints button which you can use to get a cryptic clue, an easy clue and finally the complete solution only if you
persistently click on Hint.

As I said previously, the game is blessed with an interesting and addictive story, which is good because the play moves
at quite a slow pace. Sadly the atmosphere this creates is one of frustration and serenity not of excitement. Most of the
characters have pretty dodgy accents but luckily you can play without sound and read the subtitles which are mostly word
for word.

Unlike games like Monkey Island there are no real comedic episodes but neither does it have the eery sensual atmosphere
of a game like the recent Sherlock Holmes games. What it does have though is an occasional spark of memorable innovation
such as when the Battersea Power Station is seen way in the background of a scene, the Flying Pig of Pink Floyd flying high
above it.

Although it is addictive, maybe because it is addictive, experienced players will probably finish this within 6 - 8 hours of total play.

 

 

           

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015