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Vigil: Blood Bitterness

Vigil: Blood Bitterness

Vigil: Blood Bitterness


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“All my heroic deeds were but offerings to cowards. All those thousands of warrior slaves sacrificed beneath the same standard will have accomplished nothing more than to attribute even greater importance to a caste dedicated to commanding a decadent people.

A bitter taste has invaded my mouth; a deadly venom rushes through my veins, drunk confidently from a cup offered by traitors. I will no long feel the warm blood of the conquered on my battlewracked body. My last enemy was my own kin.

The final attack against evil may not happen, our deceased One knew it, I will never know…”

–Dehon, High Disciple. Son of Gomend

Vigil: Blood Bitterness is a classic point-and-click adventure game with a lot of style.  The story is good.  The puzzles are good.  And the price is cheap.

Vigil: Blood Bitterness is not a happy game.  It is dark and depressing.  Evil (with a capital “E”) has come and is swallowing the universe into an inky blackness.  Only your character, Dehon, can save the day.  But you aren’t exactly a paragon of virtue yourself. You are part of a religious caste whose tyranny oppresses whole peoples.  You killed your own kin when they opposed you.  You keep slaves and killed them when they got in your way.  You eat their faces for nourishment.  Did I mention that the game is dark?

The first thing you notice when you start the game are the graphics.  They are a stark black and white.  No gray scale, just black and just white.  Or that should be the first thing.  The first thing I saw was a black screen.  I was suspicious that something was wrong, but the game seemed to play.  It was just that the movie clips were black.  I looked for a troubleshooting link on the web site, but didn’t find any.  Finally, I tried it on another computer and it both worked and made a little more sense.  I have since learned that there is a forum to discuss you problems on the Free Gamers web site.

The second thing you notice is the sound.  Everyone in the game whispers/growls in French.  The result is very effective and very creepy.  There are English subtitles which are both helpful and frustrating at the same time.  Helpful in that they let us non-French speaking people know what is being said.  Frustrating in that the clips move along quickly and you can’t read the subtitles and watch the movie at the same time.  Fortunately, all viewed clips and quotes are linked to in the “Clues” section where they can be repeated as often as you like.

The game play is 2 ½ D like the old Sierra games – you click somewhere on the screen and the character walks over/up/down to where you clicked.  A little puff of red smoke verifies where you clicked.  A simple right-click is the only other command you have.  It is used to interact with the environment in whatever way is appropriate.  For example, in some places it will cause you to open a door.  In other places it may cause you to pray.  Usually it does nothing.  At first I was concerned that this might be too limiting, but it worked just fine for this game.

The puzzles are fairly standard fare, mostly involving manipulation of the environment.  Nothing too difficult for your average adventure player.  On interesting twist is that instead of offering you a series of puzzles to work through, the entire palace is presented as one large puzzle.  You may have a series of goals to achieve, but the entire palace must be right for each one of them.  Leave the wrong door open and you are out of luck.  And if you get stuck, the Meridian4 web site has both a walk-through and a hint-through.

The story unfolds in its own unique way.  Let me quote the authors here:

“Vigil: Blood Bitterness plunges the player into the dark and disturbing story of an ancient civilization that is being destroyed by Evil. Ritualistic killing and blood lust blur the line between your own kind and the evil you seek to annihilate.

Your ultimate goal is to free yourself from this tormenting place and understand the origin and the purpose of this uncanny Evil. An Evil that annihilates all in its path, it has no shape but seems to follow a precise scheme, drowning everything under a black essence; it is impossible to stop or even to slow down. Since its birth, the universe is slowly disappearing.

Read everything, watch closely and even listen when needed.

The game throws you into chaos and you will be questioning everything…this is good.

You’ll most likely finish the game with more questions then when you began…this is good.

If you speak with someone who has also finished the game, you’ll have different ideas of the storyline…this is good.

If Frank Miller and HP Lovecraft had a child and that child made a video game, it would be Vigil…this is good.”

So we have a very atmospheric game with good storyline and puzzles.  And it is retailing for only US$10.  If you don’t mind the dark story elements, then this game deserves a place on your shelf.  Final grade: A- for achieving exactly what they set out to achieve.

Final Grade: A-

System Requirements:

  • Windows XP/2000
  • 1.2 GHz Processor
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 128 MB DirectX compatible 3D graphics card
  • DirectX compatible sound card
  • DirectX 9.0
  • 255 MB of available Hard Disk Space


Bob Washburne

Bob Washburne

I have been playing adventure games since 1979 when I played "Adventure" on the DEC PDP minicomputer at work. The first adventure game I ever purchased was "Zork 1" for CP/M. I can remember the introduction of the IBM PC. I remember the invention of the microcomputer (actually, it was discovered rather than invented). I remember the invention of the minicomputer. Yes, I am an old fart. I have written 80 reviews and articles for JustAdventure starting with my review of "Bioscopia" in February of 2004. I currently own more adventure games than I will ever be able to play, let alone review. And I want more!

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