Vampire Saga: Pandora’s Box Review

Apr 13, 2010

It’s very exciting to have games sent to you for the purpose of reviewing and I am partial to a bit of a point and click adventure, so joyous was the day that “Vampire Saga: Pandora’s Box” dropped on my mat – In a figure of speaking, my post box is actually outside…

Focus Essential” have always been producing well made Point and Clickers, or “Hidden Object Adventures”, One of my favourite being “Barrow Hill: Curse of the Ancient Circle”. I know they aren’t up every gamers’ street, but they can provide a good few hours worth of challenging gameplay at a low price.

The game starts with a sub-plot featuring the character Tyler Warden in Boston 1950. He receives a rather odd message from his Grandfather so he decides to head out and try to reach him. This first sequence is a solid introduction to what you have to deal with throughout the game. Once the first part is over and Tyler talks to his Grandfather, he begins to tell the story of what led to the events that happened in his house tonight; why everything is wrecked, why the doors are barricaded and why he is slumped in a chair unconscious. That’s when the real story begins, playing as Matthew Ward (the Grandfather) aboard the ship Pandora, where he stowed away after fleeing the American Civil War. Unfortunately when he wakes up in the cargo hold of the ship, the crew and Captain are gone and Matthew is stranded at sea on this lonely vessel with only his puzzle solving mind to save him – or really it’s my puzzle solving mind… God help him, he’s doomed.

The game is very straight forward to play; you have a Journal for useful information on the back story and clues to what comes next, an Inventory for the various tat that’s lying around which becomes useful, and a Compass that is actually a help button for cheating! – Like I said, it’s me playing it so this is a life saver! All of this helpful HUD surrounds a main screen with very pretty environment visuals.

When you hover the mouse over the game screen you see that it turns into a magnifying glass in some places, then you click there to search further. These are the parts I enjoyed most because I like using objects to overcome obstacles. One puzzle I remember from quite near the start involved the cargo hold of the ship, there was a large wooden guard sealing something in the far left side of the screen. Once I found the tool I needed to prise it open (screw by screw which is very cool) it uncovers a beautiful old car which I went gaga over – Granted you have to pull apart the engine to continue, but it was still a good looking car…

Anyway, to obtain your items needed to progress you have to enter the Hidden Object parts of the game – I am terrible at this, thank heavens for the help option. This is where you look into a very well generated pile of crud that you must look through to uncover the various items that are noted in the list underneath, some of the objects are very VERY hidden, and some are right in your face so when you give up and cheat you get the feeling of “How the hell did I miss that”. I had to find a coat hanger in a bathroom cabinet, it took up the entire width of the cabinet and most of the length and yet I still missed it.
I appreciate the whole searching through trash to find what you need element, but I always find it odd during these type of games that you have to collect 3 brushes and a vase and other things like an Ace of Spades card, to find a Heart medication pill that I could actually see throughout. As silly as it sounds, it keeps you occupied and it’s a challenge.

I found this game’s sound to be extremely good, it makes the whole experience a tense and quite frightening one at times. I looked at the case’s age rating before hand and I was wondering how a point and click game could be scary seeing as though you are pretty much looking at a still image for each section. It is scary though, the ambient gloom and sudden rise in tempo every so often, teamed with various bumps and creaks make this an audibly chilling game.

I have to go up there? Oh god...

The game’s appearance is great too, the environments are creepy and obviously well designed. There is a glow around lights and a sparkle around places of interest which is a pretty sight – even though it usually leads to hidden objects… Also due to the picture on the back of the case that looks like a corpse giving you a punch in the face, I was quite reluctant to search anything because the area featured is the cargo hold where you start the main plot! Scary stuff I assure you.

So there you have it, it’s a great casual game with a reasonable price tag. If you want something to pass the time that doesn’t have you furiously tapping every button on the keyboard and waving the mouse about, then this is what you need. I like this game and I still haven’t finished it, I’m looking forward to the surprise end it boasts of – Ooh I do love a plot twist! Cheerio.


  1. Lyn Potts /

    Oh my god. Barrow Hill was so cheesy with it’s human animations, but it scared the crap out of me. And I never got past the first ten minutes. D: Although I do love me some point and click, especially since I have almost all the Nancy Drew games made, up until 12 I think. By Her Interactive: For girls who aren’t afraid of a mouse. ;D

    For some reason….point and click games are the only games that truly scare me to the point of not being able to play a game….

    • Steve Wood /

      Haha the cheesy human animations and horrendous voice acting saved me in that game. If it wasn’t for that, I would have been a nervous wreck!

  2. Sarah Grace /

    Oh neat, I’ve never heard of this type of game before! You learn something new everyday, eh?

    It looks really cool, and I liked how you described it, considering I’m clueless. I didn’t even catch on that it’s (what I’m assuming) you just looking at a picture while your mouse interacts.

    For instance, in your mummy/zombie screencap, how do you defeat it? Does it just stand there and it’s like GAME OVER or do you have to be quick about clicking on something?

    • Steve Wood /

      Yes its basically just look at a picture and then click on it to do things, if you want to try one I would seriously recommend Barrow Hill.

      As for the zombie guy, I have no idea about it, thats why it scares me so bad. You re-visit that place at least 4 times, and I’ve yet to encounter him. But they give you sound cues that are like *Bagoom* and I’m like “NO DON’T KILL ME” but it’s just ambient noise… It is very good, the sound makes it.

      • Sarah Grace /

        Oh neat, I’ll check out Barrow Hill. I thought you guys were making Fable references ’cause that’s a location in there haha *awkward cough* :(

        Y’know, I played this game on Xbox called Dreamfall: The Last Journey and, even though it was 3D, you had to point and click to interact with things which was really weird and frustrating lol. Or at least that’s what my memory is trying to tell me.

        • Steve Wood /

          Well actually thats quite good really then because Barrow Hill is set in Cornwall and the people in Fable have Cornish accents… *gets excited over prospects of a link*

          Oh you mean like Dreamfall works like the PC Sims?
          I actually have Dreamfall but it doesnt work because Vista is amazing ^_^


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