Shadows on the Vatican Act 1: Greed

Shadows on the Vatican Act 1: Greed

Under the shadow of St. Peter, an American ex-priest investigates a series of events that exposes a deeper, more complex web of political and religious intrigue than he ever could have imagined.

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Genre: Episodic Mystery Adventure
Release Date: February 13, 2012
Platform: PC
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Have you ever sat through a showing of The Da Vinci Code and thought it would make a great concept for an adventure game?  If so, then I have a treat for you.  Shadows of the Vatican will draw you into a world of religious mystery.  It reminds me a bit of Broken Sword with a slight hint of Blackwell.  

The Setup

You step into the role of James Murphy.  James left the priesthood and became a medical Doctor.  James is on vacation to visit his old friend Cristoforo.  Unfortunately, after a cryptic conversation with Cristoforo, he cannot meet with you at the local bar.  It’s time to go to his place, and when you get there Cristoforo is hurt after having fallen down the stairs.

It’s up to you, as James, to investigate Cristoforo’s injury and discover the reasons why he invited you to Rome.  Along the way, you’ll bribe a nun, flirt with a bank teller’s mother, and reach into hidden nooks at an old church.  It’s all part of discovering a larger conspiracy

Interface, Sound, and Graphics

The interface is what you’d expect from a point-and-click adventure.  Walk around to look for areas, talk to people, and collect everything that isn’t nailed down.   Puzzles are primarily inventory puzzles.  I only noticed two instances of “pixel hunting” in order to find the elusive hotspot.  With some thought and patience, you should have no trouble.  

As you travel around Rome and talk to people, you may find some interesting things to take note of.  You can bring these things back to James’ computer to do further research on them.  Even though the computer is laptop, James does not carry it around with him.  That is the part of the game that reminds me of the Blackwell series.  When traveling from one location to another, the game uses a “World Map” approach that has become common in many adventure games.

The first time I launched the game I was on a plane, and my wife turned to me and said she was very impressed with the graphics and how realistic they looked.  However, I’ve seen a lot more of these games than she.  I felt the graphics were acceptable and consistent with current games in the genre, but there was nothing special or unique to me.  I felt that all the animation was slow; even when I played it on my high end desktop with oodles of RAM.  I was very happy when I discovered I could double click the exit to move to the next screen without having to wait for James to walk across the screen.  

The background music does a good job of setting the mood for each screen.  The voice acting is well done, with the exception of one character introduced near the end.  

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, the game did not engage me.  As I played through it I felt like a zombie just pointing and clicking in order to move to the next screen.  The game opens up with a lot of ideas, but doesn't seem to expand on them; presumably waiting for future episodes to do so.  I have to hope a lot of these open streams will be explored more in future parts of the series.

The game’s final scene is a confusing cliffhanger, and there is no sign of Part 2 yet.  The version I played stated that Part 2 will be out in February 2012.  I must assume that this was either a typo in the year or they are drastically behind schedule.  When do we get the next episode?

Final Grade: C


System Requirements:

    OS: Windows® 7™/Vista™/XP™
    CPU: 1.0 GHz or higher (2.0 GHz recommended for full HD version)
    RAM: 1 GB or higher (2 GB recommended for full HD version)
    Free HD space: 1 GB
    Video card: 128 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible
    Monitor resolution: 1920x1080 (full HD version)
    Audio card: DirectX 9.0c compatible

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