Best First-Person PC Adventure: Dark Fall: Lost Souls
As a slideshow-style 2D adventure game with limited animation, Jonathan Boakes’ Dark Fall: Lost Souls relies on its imagination to scare you... or rather, using your own imagination against you. Where other horror games bludgeon the player with monsters and combat or cheap scare tactics, here you’re all alone with creaking floor boards, tinkling wind chimes, squawking crows – these little touches are the only signs of life, which makes it all the more eerie when you starting hearing other… things. Maybe you aren’t so alone after all? Further exploration keeps you on edge with a constant reminder that something is very wrong in the old Dowerton train station and hotel, from the creepy mannequin pageantry to syringe-stabbed mattresses to actual otherworldly entities appearing in the dark, often just on the periphery of view.
That’s perhaps what makes the game so great as a first-person experience. Your role may be the anonymous “Inspector”, but the fear is your fear, the perspective is your perspective. This proves important, because for all its ghostly inhabitants, Lost Souls has a very human element as well. Indeed, it’s debatable which is the more haunted: Dowerton or The Inspector himself. Of course, there’s much more to a game than being scared, and this adventure backs up its horror quotient with solid gameplay and graphic quality that’s much improved (and put to good use) over the two previous Dark Fall games. At the end of the day, though, you’ll want to be frightened, and there’s a reason we called this game “one of the scariest point-and-click adventures ever”. For that accomplishment, it deserves the Aggie for this year’s top first-person title.
Runners-Up: Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper, Return to Mysterious Island 2
Readers’ Choice: Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper
Ironically, this year’s readers’ choice could have won both first- and third-person awards, as Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper was the first game from Frogwares to release with both perspectives and two control methods available. But winning even one is a significant accomplishment, and the great detective’s showdown with the notorious serial killer was all the more compelling (if a little grisly) when viewed up close and personal.
Runners-Up: Dark Fall: Lost Souls, Return to Mysterious Island 2
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Next up: Best Third-Person PC Adventure... the envelope, please!