Sunday, 2 September 2012

Consuming Poe

♫ Axxis – Lady Moon

About the time I write about something else but Berlin. :> Now it's all about Edgar Allan Poe, games and movies. Or maybe not in plural, but anyway. No need to be afraid of spoilers, there won't be any.

Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy

During the Steam Summer Sale I purchased a Midnight Mysteries game bundle which comprised four games of the series. The reasons why I bought it were simple: The first game was called "The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy" and the price was very... small.

All those Midnight Mysteries games are puzzles, consisting mostly of hidden object search. Not solely, but mostly – the Poe game has less variety in its puzzles than the rest of the games. It's obvious it's older: it was more frustrating, simpler with its game mechanics... It lacked achievements and bonus content. But yeah, it was about Poe!

To cut a long story short, in the game you're trying to solve the mystery behind Poe's death by collecting clues. You see these scenes with multiple strange items scattered around, and you're supposed to pick up the ones the game is asking you to. This may sound easy, but it's damn difficult! The game art is very beautiful and detailed, and thus, the hidden objects don't really stand out from the background. Of course it would be too easy if they did, but... While this is the whole point of the game, it is also its weakness.

I may be a particularly impatient person, but honestly, I cannot say those puzzles would remain motivating and fun after you've seen a few. And they go on, and on, and on, for the whole duration of the game. I completed it, and my Steam clock says I've spent 5 hours playing the first game. I know it took me less to complete it because I just spent quite a while doing the puzzles again in order to get some screenshots.

Of course you will get to see some cut-scenes, something fancy every now and then (like talking to Poe's ghost). However, the game is carried on by looking for objects again and again. And they are not always even related to the mission in any way: it's quite unnecessary to find an apple next to Poe's tombstone. You just have to do it for the sake of, well, searching.

My efforts were rewarded with some pirates, which made the game worth continuing for me. Edgar Allan Poe and pirates, I can manage with a few annoying puzzles... But I wouldn't wonder if most people couldn't.

I've completed the second game of the series, Salem Witch Trials, and am now crawling through the third one, Devil on the Mississippi. Salem Witch Trials is about Nathaniel Hawthorne while Devil on the Mississippi  revolves around Mark Twain. The fourth one, which I haven't even started yet, Haunted Houdini, is surprisingly about the famous illusionist Harry Houdini.

And would I recommend these games? Well, it depends. I would recommend those to the fans of the respective principal characters, but only if they have the patience the games require. I barely do. However, the second and the third one have been more interesting to play than the first game since they do have a bit more to them, yet still the majority of gameplay is all about hidden objects. However, even though the game art is beautiful and the sounds rather nice and atmospheric as well, I don't think the game is worth its Steam price. If you want to try it, wait for some nice discount!

The Raven

Onto better things then! Some time ago I finally got to see The Raven as well – the movie I already hyped in the past. Ah, the long wait was over... I didn't even bother to find out how violent the movie would be – the R rating is too vague for me, in Finland movies get an age limit of 16 or 18 depending on how much gore there is. I tend to avoid those with the rating of 18 since I'm not a friend of extreme gore... But well, The Raven wasn't too extreme for me. :> I almost got worried at some point, though.

The plot in brief: strange and cruel murders begin to occur in Baltimore, being suspiciously similar to Poe's stories. Being expert enough to help a professional detective in the case, Poe joins forces with him in order to find the culprit.

It seemed the movie was easier to follow for an avid Poe fan than an average viewer. I didn't probably notice it since the references were familiar, but perhaps I did pay some attention to how vague the movie managed to be. Hardly anything was thoroughly introduced, but I don't think it's too bad. It left the movie seeming slightly superficial, and if you're looking forward to a murder mystery which will keep you engaged for the whole duration of the movie, making you solve the mystery on your own as well, The Raven isn't probably the type.

John Cusack's interpretation of Poe was interesting. Many people seemed to be sceptical beforehand, and many seemed to be disappointed after seeing the movie. I don't think it was that bad at all. He wasn't so poor, although the result was probably not quite what I would have imagined Poe to be like. But I'm not so strict, it's refreshing to see different ways to portray a miserable writer.

Visually, the film was beautiful and interesting. The plot wasn't strong or well-developed, but entertaining enough. I wasn't disappointed, but not awestruck either. The movie was good, but not magnificent. I would certainly recommend it to Poe fans. It may not provide wannabe detectives with enough food for thought, but at least one fangirl liked it.

P.S: We thought Cusack looked like Tony Kakko every now and then.
P.P.S: Now I'm dying to get some posters of The Raven on my walls because they are so beautiful. I've found some online, but can anyone recommend a good movie poster store online, preferably in Europe, with reasonable shipping costs?


  1. Hmmmm, those games look interesting but I doubt I have the patience for them. :)

    1. If you think you might not have, then you probably won't! :D They really can turn out frustrating although you have some hints available, depending on how much you resort to them.

  2. Nice to read about the film. I wan't to see it myself.

    1. It was great to see it! Hopefully you'll find it somewhere and enjoy is as well.


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