Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Polish development outfit City Interactive has been churning out puzzle efforts on the PC for many years now, and recently started transferring its talents over to Nintendo’s dual-screen portable platform. The DS has seen the Match 3 effort, Jewels of the Tropical Lost Island, the Transylvanian-themed hidden object adventure, Vampire Moon: Mystery of the Hidden Sun, and the fantastic puzzle adventure, Crime Lab: Body of Evidence, which mixed all sorts of gameplay styles into one thoroughly impressive package. Before the Chronicles of Mystery sequel hits Nintendo DS in 2011, Cubed3 goes back to 2009 to see whether the original, Curse of the Ancient Temple, still holds up by today’s rapidly increasing standards.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an archaeologist, travelling the world on great adventures, finding all sorts of fantastical treasure? Well, for talented young Sylvie Leroux, similar to the female protagonist in the DS Hidden Object game Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena, that dream has come true. However, whilst the initial invitation from her uncle, a renowned historian and professor, to head over to France and join him seemed extremely enthralling, matters quickly take a turn for the worse. Upon arrival, Sylvie finds that her uncle has disappeared and must begin a journey of discovery herself, exploring a mysterious underground chapel from the Crusades, and uncovering the long forgotten secrets of the famed Knights Hospitaller Order.

Rather than being a simple case of finding and rescuing her family member, though, it appears that a malevolent force is desperately trying to prevent Sylvie from unveiling the truth surrounding an object of divine power and being reunited with her mild-mannered relative. Thus begins a puzzle-filled journey across fifty very impressively detailed locations, full of hidden objects and more than 100 conundrums and riddles to crack, complete with extremely atmospheric music to accompany Sylvie’s exploits.

Screenshot for Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Rather than being a straight-up Hidden Object title, Chronicles of Mystery fuses elements from that genre with those of traditional point-and-click adventures and brain-teasing puzzles and tests. Anyone who has also played Crime Lab: Body of Evidence on Nintendo DS will definitely spot the similarities between the two City Interactive releases, with this clearly being a precursor in the development line, and unfortunately it suffers by being inferior to the superb 2010 release. The ideas included are extremely impressive, with items to interact with when found in each location, tools to collect and use to uncover other key elements, a running points total so you can aim to get as high a score as possible, puzzles that will test your memory, logic, reactions and general resolve, as well as the extra options of unlocking two enjoyable modes, ‘Hidden World’ and ‘Minigames’ (fourteen in total) upon completion of the main game.

One of the problems, though, lies with the frustration of not being given the option to bypass any puzzles if stuck, something that was resolved in Crime Lab, as well as how the touch-screen recognition is a little quirky at times, not registering taps on an item sometimes and then magically working after a few failed attempts. However, the major issue is with the game’s difficulty level and overall longevity; both let the side down. Even with the hidden scrolls dotted around levels that must be collected, and the odd awkard puzzle that takes longer than expected to solve, there is little to prevent Chronicles of Mystery from being completed within around two hours. Additionally, whilst the graphics on the whole are very attractive, there is an issue with items being very tiny on the DS screens, meaning locating certain objects can be an arduous process.

Screenshot for Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

The ideas present in 2010’s Crime Lab: Body of Evidence are found in this 2009 release in their infancy. Chronicles of Mystery is filled with plenty of fantastic fledgling gameplay elements that have thankfully not gone to waste in City Interactive’s later projects.

Graphics

Extremely attractive locations throughout, but the size of objects around levels are too small, making the process of finding anything harder than it should be.

Sound

The soundtrack is perfectly suited to the ancient places visited, complementing the game’s setting nicely.

Value

After sinking so much time into Crime Lab: Body of Evidence, going back to Chronicles of Mystery and breezing through it in an hour or two, without any reason to return afterwards, was a real disappointment.

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Average

About this score

Sadly, because City Interactive has surpassed itself with the excellence of 2010’s Vampire Moon: Mystery of the Hidden Sun and Crime Lab: Body of Evidence, its 2009 release of Chronicles of Mystery: Curse of the Ancient Temple pales completely in comparison. Thankfully the seeds of good ideas present in this older release were fully developed for Crime Lab and gives great hope for the Chronicles of Mystery DS sequel that is due in early 2011.

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29.12.2010

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Developer

City

Publisher

Mastertronic

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Out now   

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Hopefully we'll be getting the chance to try out an early version of the sequel to this. I can't wait, given how advanced Crime Lab was compared to this original effort.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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