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Mr. Bill’s Adventureland Review

( Riddle of the Sphinx II )

Reviewed by  Mr. Bill & Lela

Some myths and legends never die: they seem to strike a responsive chord in us, as if they speak to some long forgotten memory of our soul. And once again (as in Riddle of the Sphinx), Jeff and Karen Tobler have addressed one of those ancient unresolved enigmas, combining rock solid research of the available literature on the subject with their own logical reasoning and conclusions. It all makes for a fascinating story ….. and is of course the perfect backdrop for a game.

In your search for understanding and a way to stop the impending disaster, you will need to explore selected areas of several ancient civilizations: Easter Island, Chichen Itza, the ‘Devil’s Triangle’, Stonehenge, and (ultimately) Atlantis, as well as visit an English manor and an old Celtic compound. And you are taken to each place in style, by a delightful driver named ‘Hump’, in everything from a Rolls Royce to a seaplane.

Logically, your search takes you into areas not previously explored by archaeologists, like those beneath the famous monuments and on the ocean floor, or to secret Knights Templar areas under cover of darkness. Nevertheless they have a certain beauty, often startling, as when you unexpectedly come upon a veritable waterfall of emerald light from above, or notice the eerie charm of the full moon in an old Celtic cemetery, or the muted colors beneath the ocean waves. The original soundtrack is sparse and moody, expertly adding to your feeling of isolation. Because basically this is a solitary game, with only a few human encounters (and no two-way conversations), but those few do an excellent job with both acting and character portrayal.

As in the first game, the puzzles are solved with found inventory items and the information gleaned from books, and scrolls, and symbols carved in stone. They are not particularly difficult, but the search for the needed items can become frustrating and even tedious at times: we were very grateful for a walkthrough. And you can die in this game. But thankfully you can save anytime except during a video, and we would strongly recommend that you do so often, and under different names. That way you won’t have to retrace all of your steps in case you get lost or miss something, and you won’t have to repeat all of the parts of the more complicated puzzles.

We do wish there had been less ‘busywork’ in the game (like in the underground caves, the hedge maze, and the alchemy measurements), and instead more details about the research and prophecy surrounding this real life situation. But we did enjoy the unusual beauty, and the characters, and we were particularly impressed with Tobler’s summation of the known facts, and conclusions about the nature of the threat. As usual, we look forward to their next game.

Karen Tobler

Author Karen Tobler

More posts by Karen Tobler

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