Computer game reviews tend to include a lot of hyperbole. You know, things like “it has the best graphics ever!” or “the missions are so easy even my grandmother could do them!” That’s because it’s easy to rant or heap praise, but it’s difficult to talk about a game that doesn’t do anything new or isn’t particularly noteworthy. I try to catch myself before I leap of into the land of exaggeration, but sometimes it can’t be helped. Sometimes those exclamation point sentences, no matter how sensational, are actually true. Consider Legacy: Dark Shadows, the new adventure from Razbor Studios. It is easily the dumbest game I’ve ever played, and I’ve played a lot of dumb ones.
Let’s start with the premise. The background story involves a goofy scenario where a Russian journalist figures out how to make people immortal. Of course, he’s a Bad Guy so he doesn’t use this information for the benefit of humanity. No, instead he does what Bad Guys do. He plots to take over the universe. Since he’s immortal, he has a lot of time to plot, but apparently he’s also lazy and so he steals his idea from Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones. That’s right; he kidnaps people, clones them, and then plans to release the clones to overrun the world. Or maybe just freak people out. His plan isn’t very clear.
Enter Ren Silver, a private investigator who likes to wear tight clothes and show a lot of skin. Ren’s female, in case you couldn’t tell. Anyway, one day her friend Ted disappears, and three guesses what happened to him. But Ren, of course, doesn’t yet know the Awful Truth, and so she starts a rather haphazard investigation to find him. Her journeys then take her to a colony on Mars, where she blows up a safe with a stick of dynamite but doesn’t damage the Important Document inside; a spaceship with a HAL-like computer, where she is forced to solve puzzles before she can escape; the Bad Guy’s office building, where she’s allowed to enter toting a big ol’ gun, and where she only has to shoot a single security robot before she’s able to find a Damning Piece of Evidence in plain sight on the Bad Guy’s desk; and then finally the Bad Guy’s secret compound, which has even less security than his office building, and where a single bomb-type object manages to kill the Bad Guy and his entire army.
The game just gets more silly and ludicrous as it goes along, and it doesn’t help that the text was originally written in some language other than English and then translated into English, badly. And so you travel to a “military basis” and hear a “squicking” noise and knock over a “flabby brick” (to kill a huge mutated rat, no less). Then, to make matters worse, every expense was spared in the hiring of the voice actors (if voice actors were hired at all, and people weren’t simply pulled out of their English as a Second Language class). Every line is delivered in a slow monotone, and it’s not clear if the actors even know what they’re reading. The result is a game that is funny at all the wrong times, like when Ren picks up a hammer and says “I’ve been working on the railroad,” but delivers the line in a slightly confused tone, because she apparently doesn’t realize the line is from a song.
The news gets a little better with Legacy’s puzzles. Almost all of the puzzles are of the inventory variety, and they’re almost all easy, but at least they make sense. For example, at one point Ren needs to pick a fruit from a protected tree, and so she spray paints a nearby security camera and then snatches the fruit while the police are temporarily blind. That’s about as complex as the puzzles get, and even if you get stuck, the game is linear, and at most you’ll have a handful of inventory objects with a handful of places to use them, and so trial and error should get you through, even if nothing else does. If you’ve never solved an adventure without consulting a walkthrough before, Legacy might be the game to end your streak.
Not that I’d recommend it. Legacy is sloppy and silly, it doesn’t try to tell a coherent story or develop its characters, and its puzzles aren’t even close to being entertaining enough to make up for the rest of the deficiencies. So take a pass on the game, or at least wait for the price to come way, way down.