The second chapter, Ancestry of Lies, of the episodic point and click adventure from KING Art.
So, finishing the first episode in this “Sunday afternoon”, Agatha Christie style point and click adventure will have left the player poised on the very edge of a cliffhanger. If you have yet to play the first episode of The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief, then perhaps you shouldn’t be reading this. You have been warned…
The friendly Constable Zellner finds himself bound to a chair and in a slightly drug-induced state as he is faced with his possible demise. It may not surprise the player to hear that he manages to get out of this and continues on his journey to stop The Raven (or the Raven copycat as this is one of the mysteries that are yet to be answered) from stealing the final Eye of the Sphinx.
The story takes us to the museum in Egypt where, it may also not surprise you, another attempt to steal the jewel takes place and ends with the reveal of The Raven, or the Raven impersonator. Zellner’s relaxed investigating technique leads to another cliffhanger, but it is only part way through the game.
And so it is here that the clock turns back and we are returned to the train platform before the departure of the train featured in the first episode. This time around, the player is in control of the criminal and will play through the events of episode one from a different perspective. Many of the mysteries of the first episode, and many that the player will likely not have noticed, will be solved this time around as the game moves forward to its conclusion.
This is a clever way of dealing with the difficult middle episode. Many of the larger mysteries will remain so until the final episode, but enough answers are revealed to leave the player satisfied, and the change of perspective builds the anticipation. The first episode sets the scene and introduces the characters, while the last episode answers all the questions, so middle episodes tend to be just filler. Ancestry of Lies though offers some answers, but also raises more questions.
The relaxed pace of the first episode returns, but seems even slower if that is possible. After playing the first game, I was not expecting a rollercoaster ride, but there is a lot more talking in this part, especially with the Zellner section at the beginning which lacks the variety of different characters.
Also, the puzzles are fewer this time around. While they were never really a highlight of the first episode, there relative absence leaves the player with more action triggered events where the player has to do one thing before they will be allowed to do something else.
But the real highlight of the first episode, the wonderful Constable Zellner, is still on good form and manages to take everything with a relaxed attitude, even when others take the glory for his excellent detective work. Zellner is easily the star of the show.
While the story trundles along and the change in perspective is entertaining, many of the problems with the first episode have followed into Ancestry of Lies. The characters move incredibly slowly and still manage to get stuck at certain points. The help system is the same, not always giving the player the solution they need to progress. And the slow pace will still not be suitable for all gamers, even those who consider themselves veterans of the point and click genre.
But, considering that this is the middle episode, KING Art have done a good job of moving the storyline along and keeping players interested. Expect, or at least hope for, major revelations in the final episode when it arrives. Until then, gamers who played the first episode will need to play Episode 2 to get their Zellner fix.