Games Gazette Logo

The LOST CROWN is a Ghost Hunting adventure based on the writing of Jonathan Boakes. I received the game as a download
code for the game library media STEAM and thus the pictures I have added to this page have been located and borrowed from
the internet. They are respective of the game. It is developed by Darkling Room and has only recently been launched for Steam
in the UK and Europe though I understand it was available in 2008 in the USA.

The opening screen I saw was an ominous murder of crows flying in a perfect circle after which I was offered the opportunity
to take the tutorial or jump straight in. I opted for the tutorial but after a short while it seemed that I had fluently moved into the
game on my own without noticing the transition.

There are two main characters in the game who work together, after you have had a shaky start controlling the male in the soon to
be dynamic duo, Nigel Danvers. A train, the Sleep Walker, arrives in the fictional East Anglian (UK) village of Saxton at Sedgemarsh
station. Danvers alights. After a brief chat with the rather grumpy Station Master (by the way, that's the name of a great game from Mayfair
Games) where you discover that only you and a young girl were on the train when it arrived at the station, Danvers is allowed (by
the game mechanic) to walk along a path towards the village. I say "allowed" because this is an example of what occurs in most 
point and click and adventure games - you cannot do what seems obvious until you have triggered that action within the game's
mechanism. As you follow the path, walking round the woodlands you encounter two or three villagers with whom you can strike up
a  conversation - not always a two-way chat - and eventually you find your way into and through a cave that brings you out on the shore
and close to the village. At this point there are places you can see but cannot reach and people who you meet who have nothing to say.

Having been told that it is always busy this time of year you discover that the only hotel, the Bear Inn, has no rooms, though you are given
the keys to a local cottage, which you soon find is in a state of disrepair. Thus you are settled in Saxton and ready to begin your adventure.

Nigel Danvers is wanted by his employers at Hadden Industries for supposedly running away with a number of important company papers.
Two agents of Hadden Industries, introduced to us as Mr Hare and Mr Crow, are fairly hot on Danver's trail but are as yet to be seen.
Visions of swirling humanoid shapes which appear to be either organic or pure energy are seen in flashback.

Now it is your turn to wander around, fairly freely, asking questions and gathering information. You hear talk of treasure in the village and
soon you team up with the young girl, Lucy, to search for the Lost Crown, the mythical ancient treasure of an Anglo-Saxon Lord. There is a
wealth of characters to be discovered, each of which has been well rounded out to bring them to life, though the animation is acceptable but
not particularly quality. When Danvers is walking it is more like he is hovering and gliding, and other actions, are cumbersome and stoic.

The game continues in this fashion. You discover clues by searching and questioning. You and Lucy uncover all manner of secrets from various
sources, often ghostly spectres that either help or hinder. You move by clicking in the direction(s) allowed by the cursor changing to a pointer.
The game doesn't always totally direct which way you should go, it isn't totally linear, but as previously stated there are places you cannot go
until you have discovered and activated the trigger to release them. You pick things up - not all things can be collected even if you feel they
would be easy to store - such as newspaper pages - by clicking on them and then you can read or examine them in your inventory. Often items
in the inventory can be manipulated together.

Overall though, the LOST CROWN is a well directed and excellently produced adventure into the world of ghosts and the paranormal. The tale
twists at just the right moment - just when you think you have cracked it. The game is played mostly in Black & White but every so often a touch
of colour is added to the scenery which, along with graveyards and dusty rooms in the village buildings, completes the eerie effects. It may be six
years old but the gameplay is as fresh as any point and click 3rd person adventure you can find.


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015