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THE LAST CROWN: MIDNIGHT HORROR is a Jonathan Boakes game for the Steam media on the home PC.

It is a stylish horror tale that runs in both linear and non-linear fashion. By this I mean certain actions do simply follow on from the previous ones while others require players to go round talking to people (and animals), looking at everything you can and making notes of what you see and where you see it, or who told it to you.

It is a point and click adventure set in the quaint, but eerie, small, haunted, village of Saxton, and to crown it all it is Halloween. To prove Halloween is in the air Trick or Treaters arrive at your door very early in the game. There is a bowl of sweets on the side next to your front door so it is better you give them these than suffer their "trick" as it requires you to go to the bathroom to clean up afterwards.

The first thing you will notice is that the game is in black and white with colour spots that highlight nothing in particular - I mean these aren't always clues, but some are, such as the sweets. This adds to the bleak atmosphere required for a ghost hunting adventure.

Being a point and click game means you cannot always go where you want, you have to move where the arrows (found at the screen's edges) allow you to. It also means that whenever the cursor changes to a grabbing-hand you can collect items and objects for your inventory. What you do with those items and why you would want to collect them can often be a mystery in itself. 

In your home you look in the bathroom, under the bed, in the desk, the backpack so many places, and you will find a whole lot of stuff that mainly comes in useful at some point during the game. Thankfully this isn't a logic puzzle, or even a logical game, and so it doesn't matter there are no sensible reasons for you carrying all that you do.

You drive the story by triggering effects as you go, sometimes not even knowing that you have started another part of the tale by the action you just did. As with all adventure games (give or take one or two) there are things that you can see you want to do and that actually make sense to do, but of course until you hit the correct trigger - which as I say is either obvious or not - you cannot do what is necessary.

Throughout the game there are little challenges, mini games that you need to solve before you can continue, which are sprung on you, often without warning - which makes it more fun. Speaking to Nanny Noah in the Bear Inn (after you have burnt a straw man of course - let's face it why would anyone leave a bunch of straw men next to an open fire if you weren't supposed to put one on the flames ?) opens up one of these challenges. In this case you have to match photographs of local people to items on the table. If you succeed you are a step forward in the game, if you fail then go off and do something else - there's always plenty to investigate and explore - and then come back later and take the challenge again; it will be the same puzzle and the same photographs, but possibly with different objects.

There is so much to discover on your journey and many questions you have may remain unanswered by the time you reach the end of the tale. Why are all the books in one row in a corridor at the Bear, all called "Angela VI" ? Why did the Mankels become the Mankles ? Why did the game begin with you reading "A Warning to the Curious" ?  Are these questions important ? or even answered ? The answer to those last questions really doesn't matter. The game is a good Halloween special spooky one and full of fun whether you discover all of its secrets on one run through or not. In fact there are enough hidden bits that you can complete the game more than once taking different routes each time. Naturally you will be doing many of the same things over, but it is a lot of fun just trying things in a different order as well as looking for new routes and possibly items you missed previously - even if they don't have a use in the case.

        

Most point and click adventures have good stories, most have ridiculously amazing inventory pockets, and all are generally illogical.  The Last Crown: Midnight Horror is a cut above the majority the pretty standard point and click adventure game because it is so stylish; and the spot colour amidst the black, white and greyscale really sets it off a (trick or) treat.

Link to game walkthrough: this shows a point by point bulletin of how to succeed and also shows how illogical some of the things you need to do are. The main thing to remember is that even if something doesn't make sense now, it may (or may never) make sense sometime later.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015