Someone is preying on brides, and it isn’t the best man.
Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged To Kill, from G5 Games, is the sequel to the hidden object adventure Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand That Feeds. As I never played the first game, not only can I not make any comparisons or draw on my wealth of back-knowledge, I also feel as though I have missed the opportunity to complain about the name. Seriously, Special Enquiry Detail? I am sorry but it really does sound like the type of Sunday afternoon detective show that your Gran would love to watch. Whilst the previous games’ subtitle, The Hand That Feeds, promises something menacing, Engaged To Kill once again sounds like it belongs on Sunday afternoon TV, in the form of a “made for TV” movie. All of this is quite disappointing, as behind the dull title lies what is a pretty good hidden object game with plenty of puzzles.
The story doesn’t fit in with the title in the least. What you have here is a pair of detectives, Lamonte and Turino, with chemistry. The two detectives play off each other really well, each with their own personality and plenty of inane chatter between them to build on their character. They find themselves on the case of a serial murderer that the media have dubbed “The Engagement Killer” after first investigating the disappearance of Marcy Templeton. The Engagement Killer preys on young brides-to-be and it is up to the detectives to follow the clues, solve the puzzles and prevent the killer from striking again. It is all pretty tense stuff.
So, the game carries with it the usual hidden object scenes in which the player has to find items on the list displayed at the bottom. However, rather than just finding random items, the player will also come across items that can be used to solve some of the games’ puzzles, making everything more relevant. This does however mean that many of the hidden object scenes are re-visited once it becomes apparent that a certain item is needed, but this didn’t leave me feeling cheated as you would expect, because it all felt like it had more meaning and purpose.
The same can be said for the puzzles. They are not just thrown in to entertain the player, but actually have a real purpose within the game. The variety of puzzles is quite impressive, with simple tasks such as locating a certain object to more complex forensic analysis and, early on in the game, a rather pulse-increasing bomb diffusal under a time limit. Some of the puzzles will stretch the players reflexes, whilst others will get them scratching their head. The developers have done a good job of keeping the action flowing, as the puzzles and hidden object scenes move quickly from one to the next without being hindered too much by the story.
Sometimes, I did find myself marveling at my good fortune though, which is probably not a good thing when it comes to puzzles. One of the early objectives required that I may a plaster cast of a footprint. I found a bucket, water and plaster mix, but I still was not able to complete this as I needed something to “encase” the print. Fortunately, I had already found the metal strips that I needed to do this, but I felt that this was a touch too obscure for a game that otherwise feels quite realistic.
Not that getting stuck will be a problem, as the game provides a healthy hint system in the form of a torch. Use a hint and the player has to wait for the torch to recharge before another becomes available. Using the hints still feels like cheating, but they are handy if things get too tough.
The presentation is nice across the six chapters of the game, with the hidden object scenes being especially well drawn. The cut-scenes that move the story along are presented in a comic book style which, although not the most detailed I have ever seen, happily keep the player engaged in the game.
The sad truth is that many gamers simply won’t get past the title. Those that do, however, will find an entertaining romp through hidden object scenes and interactive puzzles with a pair of likable characters that can be enjoyed anytime of the week, not just Sunday afternoons. It may only be casual gaming, but it is one of the best of it’s genre. Ignore the name, but try the game!
Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged To Kill plays on the PC and can be picked up from the G5 Games website for $9.99