Uncovering The Serpent
One of the most recent and popular games to come out of Big Fish’s cache of games is The Serpent of Isis. It features a lot of the same mechanics made popular originally in hidden-puzzle games such as Mystery Case Files, but the Serpent of Isis doesn’t settle with the simplicity of doing the same old, there’s actually a measure of ingenuity added to extend on the replay aspects of the game.
In addition to the standard hidden puzzle aspect, there’s also branching puzzles attached to a streamlined storytelling process. Keep reading to find out how the rest of the game irons out.
Concept (3 out of 5)
The story follows an Egyptian relic known as the Serpent of Isis, which gets stolen from a museum. Players take on the role of a descendant of the archeologist that originally found the relic, and it’s up to the player to recover the relic and uncover the thief. Of course, uncovering the thief means finding a bunch of hidden objects and putting together broken puzzle pieces.
In actuality, the pacing and storytelling tie-in nicely for what little the game has to offer. Much like Wild West Quest 2, The Serpent of Isis focuses on a mixture of hidden puzzle segments while combining the likes of point-and-click adventuring into the mix. This is a somewhat refreshing take on a genre that quickly became stale after clones of Mystery Case Files starting popping up all over the place.
And while Serpent of Isis doesn’t break entirely new ground it at least mixes in the proper elements to help boost it up a notch beyond the standard-fare hidden puzzle game.
Graphics And Sound (3 out of 5)
There isn’t much to say about the game’s visuals given that most of the graphical aesthetics are contained within still pictures and snapshots of items that players have to uncover. That’s not to say, though, that the visuals aren’t decent enough for the kind of game that it is. One thing worth noting is that the train stage was done quite well and the ambiance implemented to give the impression of riding on the train was an inventive way to add immersion to the overall play experience.
The music in the game isn’t bad but it’s just the standard-fare orchestral set. Much of the music is offset with environmental and ambient sounds to help keep things interesting, with partial swelling string sets or light moments of tension that builds with a short but acceptable piece. In other words, it’s nothing special but the music gets the job done.
Gameplay (4 out of 5)
The gameplay in Serpent of Isis is entirely simplified within the point and click genre, similar to the likes of Detective Stories and contains nothing more than pointing and clicking. It’s sort of tough to botch the gameplay mechanics of that particular style of play, so with that said, Serpent of Isis plays out quite well. Added to this, there is a fair mixture of hidden objects and arrangement puzzles to conquer.
GameGo did a fairly decent job of mixing up the play between uncovering objects within several scenes and then having to perform a logic puzzle or two to mix things up. So it’s not like gamers are grinding away on puzzles the way some MMOs have gamers grinding endlessly on mobs to level. Also, the way the game is broken down there are multiple chapters with various locations available to travel to within each chapter or destination.
Now the neat part about the gameplay is that players still have to collect items in their inventory like classic Sierra adventure games. For instance, in one case a locked drawer containing a key quest item could only be opened using a screwdriver, so it was required to search other rooms on the train to find the screwdriver and open the drawer, which was a neat way to keep things streamlined and semi-interesting.
The rest of the game’s plot carries out quite similar to the pace of mixing things up just before they become tedious or over complicated. In the end, the mixture of brain work versus common-sense point-and-click adventuring is really what helps keep things fresh for Serpent of Isis.
Overall: The Serpent Delivers (4 out of 5)
The Serpent of Isis is very much like a lot other hidden puzzle games but streamlined to keep the pace of the gameplay steadily moving and ensuring that players stay entertained the moment they boot the game up. The story’s crime-caper plot is moderately interesting but the tie-in with the puzzles and classic point-and-click adventuring really helps bring the game to life. That’s not to mention that there are tons of puzzles to solve and lots of different areas to explore.
Fans of old-school adventuring or the very popular hidden object puzzle genre will probably find the Serpent of Isis appealing on both fronts, especially given its budget-price.