It seems that The Joker, the famed Batman villain who loved to kill with a smile, was ahead of his time. In the latest edition to the Art of Murder series, Federal Agent Nicole Bonnet must track down a serial killer who, like The Joker, appreciates a good tease. He plants clues, selectively and cleverly, that’ll bring the feds – particularly Ms. Bonnet – to the scene just before the crime unfolds. If she looks closely enough, she’ll find one obvious connection every time: a playing card.
These mysterious murders are the catalyst for Art of Murder: Cards of Destiny, a game that happily follows the point-and-click playbook. Players will be expected to click on just about everything; doors, windows, pictures, maps, pens, notepads, evidence bags, cameras, keys, keyholes, tables, counters, and so on. The list is virtually never-ending.
Cards of Destiny does not discriminate against objects that are completely useless – in fact, it uses numerous objects, clickable parts of buildings and other worthless elements to distract the player from the most important parts of the environment. This forces you to investigate (and often re-investigate after leaving the area, talking to someone, and then going back to where you started) absolutely everything.
While this certainly adds a degree of real-world drama to Cards of Destiny – let’s not forget that there are endless possibilities for what a real FBI agent may encounter at a crime scene – it is also the beginning of the game’s biggest problems.
Unlike a real crime scene, where anyone can touch anything and take whatever they want at any time, Cards of Destiny forces you to do everything in a specific order. If you come across a camera and some evidence bags, it should be obvious that they’ll come in handy at some point. Realistically, Nicole should be perfectly in synch with the assumption the player is currently having – after all, this isn’t her first murder investigation. But in this scenario (and many more than I can count), Nicole tells you that she doesn’t need the items, that she isn’t going to take them right now, or responds in some other way that’ll make you want to pound your mouse until it breaks.To obtain (unlock) the items, you’ll need to run around, talk to various characters and examine several areas. Then, once the necessary items are in your possession, you’ll have to go through the motions once more, and re-examine many (sometimes all) of the same areas you just took a look at.
Let’s Go Crazy
Cards of Destiny is overflowing with items that need to be combined in order to do something important. Ex: using a spray bottle (item one) and paper towels (item two) to clean off a dusty projector window. That makes sense. Likewise, it was easy to see that a glass (item one) full of Alka-Seltzer (item two) could be used to clean a rusty bolt (item three), which must be cleaned in order to read the inscription on it.
Most players will also realize that a bucket (item one) full of heavy bricks (item two) can act as a weight to hold down a crank that wants to spin out of control. As the combinations get more expansive – who knew that a copper tube, a brick, and the top of a manhole could be used to make a door-opening device? – fans of point-and-click adventures will appreciate the developers’ creativity. Even simple combinations (like using a fork and some old gum to pull a key out of a metal rod) could fool you.
There is one catch, however: in most every case, the items must be combined in a specific order. Remember the spray bottle/paper towel example? My first attempt failed because I tried to combine the paper towels with the spray bottle. Instead, I must first select the spray bottle and then select the paper towel.
Law and Order? No. Trial and Error? Yes.
While this might sound like a minor grievance, it becomes a serious issue when you start to second-guess the solution to a particular puzzle. You’ll examine the same group of areas – or click all over the screen until something works – with the hope that the current dilemma will come to an end. However, as soon as it does, another one presents itself, creating a game of never-ending barriers that the player must overcome.Furthermore, many of the puzzle hints and solutions are hidden within the story. That might sound like a great idea, but Nicole’s dialogue is atrocious; with weak reactions and bad catch-phrases (her most common: “Nothing doing”), she can turn the most suspenseful scenario – like a murder she just witnessed – into something awkward and annoying.The other characters (who she must interact with frequently) are even worse. I wanted something to compare them to and wondered if Wikipedia had an entry for a “wet paint” sign. Sure enough it does, and reading that page was somehow more fun than listening to these characters speak.
This game can run excellent with system requirement Intel Pentium dual core cpu E5300 or higher, 1 Gb of RAM, graphic card such as Nvidia Geforce 7600GT or higher or Ati Radeon 9800Pro, Windows XP SP2 or higher or Vista ultimate edition or Windows 7, DirectX version 9.0c or higher like dirextX 10 compatible, Nothing more to waste your time! go and buy the DVD game install it and enjoy it.....