Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat Collector's Edition

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

(February, 2013)

Inspector Dupin wants the player's assistance on a missing person case. Monsieur Mark Davies reported his wife, Sara, has been missing for two weeks. As you begin the investigation, you will discover that all is not as it first appeared. Why is Monsieur Davies so tempermental and disagreeable when asked simple questions? Why is the mansion in such disrepair? And why does a mysterious black cat appear from time to time, seemingly trying to help you track down the missing woman? What is the solution to this mystery?

Dark Tales: Edgar Allen Poe's The Black Cat, is a Hidden Object Adventure game.

The scenes were enchanting although sometimes a bit eerie and foreboding; all to good effect. The player occasionally catches sight of a shape that could be the missing woman yet it vanishes before it can be engaged in conversation. The soundtrack is quite enjoyable and not just noisy, repetitive, and overbearing as some game sountracks tend to be. I also enjoyed the many and varied Hidden Objects in the scenes that seemed to be particularly appropriate for the time period. (No gnarly chainsaws snuggled next to a rocket ship and a cell phone!)

The length of the game was good. I tend to play in marathon sessions so a game that lasts me 6-8 hours is comfortable. I also prefer a game with an untimed mode (this game has a regular mode and an expert mode) because I spend a lot of time trying to figure out where I am or where I'm going next. Timed games add too much pressure for me. I even forget which door I just entered through or exited through.

The Collector's Edition has a built-in Strategy Guide. For those who choose the regular version of the game, a Strategy Guide may be downloaded (at an additional cost) or players may refer to the Blog Walkthrough (online in the forum) for help solving the puzzles or hints on where to go and what to do next. I prefer the built-in Strategy Guides, although in this case, there seems to be no way to bookmark your place in the guide and each time you return, you must start at the beginning of the chapter you choose from the menu. It has been my experience that newer games have improved the accessibility to the Strategy Guides and this annoying little problem has been resolved.

More than a few times I found myself paging through the Strategy Guide, not because I was having difficulty solving the puzzles, I found those challenging but fun and fairly easy. No, I was searching for hints on where I had gone wrong and how to correct my mistakes. As I've mentioned in other reviews, I tend to wander around and discover or do things out of the game designers' intended order. Sometimes this becomes a problem if I have missed collecting an important item or if I'm going about it all wrong. Like in the case of trying to fill a bucket with water from a mud puddle rather than the proper source. Or searching for an item at the wrong fountain, wrong chandelier, or whatever. (I once spent many, many hours drowning the main character in a different game because I didn't know the difference between a switch and a lever!) For me, the challenge in these Hidden Object Adventure games is not the puzzles, it's getting from one place to the next.

The full version game is 514.69 MB. I order it on a CD (at an additional cost to save downloading time). The list price for the game is $19.99 (USD). I paid only $13.99 (USD) with an online discount.

Game System Requirements:

OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8
CPU: 1.4 GHz
RAM: 1024 MB
DirectX: 9.0
Hard Drive: 602 MB

Game Manager System Requirements:

Browser: Internet Explorer 7 or later
Also available for Mac

Link to: Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat Collector's Edition

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