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SandSFun4All » GAMES and GAMING » Demo/Game Reviews » Demos M - P » Phantasmat: The Dread of Oakville Collector's Edition

Phantasmat: The Dread of Oakville Collector's Edition

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steve_san

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The Dreaded Dead Oak of Oakville

Setting: The year is 1973. You are a writer driving to a book signing - late, of course (*sigh*) - when your car swerves out of control and into a tunnel. Where are you?? Welcome to Oakville, Vermont, pop. 11. Posters of *missing* people are everywhere - although there can't be more than 11, right? The people you do meet s-p-e-a-k   v-e-r-y   s-l-o-w-l-y, and what they say makes little sense.

The artwork is pleasing to the eyes as we get a break from the usual pink, blue and purple and instead are treated to a variety of pastel shades of brown, gold and green. Scenes are moderately detailed with a hint of graininess. The mood is dark - I got the impression the wind was blowing all the time - and the subtle music heightens the sense of suspense and creates tension.

Unfortunately, the characters are not quite up to the quality of the art and music. The voice acting is fine, but the characters you'll interact with are plain and uninteresting, especially when compared to the original game and it's array of quirky, but amusing and endearing cast members.

Thankfully, game play is on a higher level. Uh-oh! Shocked There will be some effort expended in the hidden object scenes (unless you opt for M3). The difficulty is inconsistent though, with some scenes being 30 - seconds - easy and others being moderately difficult. They vary in type, including fragmented (that was the 30 second one) silhouette, find x of these, and standard list. Mini games were mostly very easy, the least easy ones during the trial were the memory type.

I chose Custom difficulty, where I could turn off sparkles and glints (and HOP click penalty if desired) while leaving map indicators on. The map does not seem to be transportable. Hint refill can be set between 10-120 secs and Skip between 10-400.

CE Extras: beside the usual pseudo extras there are 43 morphing objects, a souvenir room, replay of puzzles and HOPs, strategy guide and bonus level. Twelve achievements can be earned as well.

I found the story to be more campy and humorous than truly scary or creepy. I enjoyed several chuckles  Very Happy during the trial. Was that intended? (Eipix: "Er, yes - if you liked it.") The original Phantasmat was a true five star game. Oakville is not bad, but lacks a little in the story telling and fails to be either very funny or very creepy. I'd still rate it a solid four oak leaves.

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coffee2

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