I’m slowly catching up on my adventure gaming catalog. Very slowly. Last month, I made my way through Revolution Software’s original point-and-click game that started it all, Shadow of the Templars. That one actually took me quite a long while to finish, playing only a bit here and there, with frequent breaks. But almost immediately upon completing it, I launched into its sequel, and this time emerged triumphant much quicker.
The changes between the two games, five years apart, were all too apparent (even though I’m playing the Director’s Cut and remastered version, respectively). Revolution Software, in the original 5-year interim, really upped their game when it came to designing a sequel, in almost every respect. Actually, probably make that every respect. First and foremost for me, the story this time aroused more of an interest in me. I’ve always had trouble relating to tales of long-ago Templars/religious sects and how their influence somehow holds sway in our present-day world. But The Smoking Mirror rectified this with a story that had, to me at least, a more immediate threat, starting with Nico’s kidnapping and leading up to a plot to free the murderous Mayan god Tezcatlipoca from the magical mirror behind which he’s been held captive. It’s a much faster roller coaster ride than last time, filled throughout with memorable, over-the-top characters, like The General, who has a sleazy infatuation with Nico, Madame La Presidente, his tyrannical elderly mother. There’s a deserted treasure island, a jungle crash landing, a daring dockside rescue mission, and a secondary villain, Karzac, who strangles people with his bare hands.
It all adds up to an equally humorous and exciting, well-paced story that was a joy to play. The game is a little light on the “romance” between the two characters – not that I’m actively looking for it, but it’s hard to buy into the fact that George and Nico are an on-again/off-again couple with their constant bickering (which seems to come mainly from Nico’s side). At times, it almost seems like he’s chasing her while she’s already got her mind set on “just friends”. Hmm, I wonder if I’m projecting feelings from my own life onto these characters here… Anyway, that and some slightly annoying backtracking along jungle paths late in the game are my only real (minor) gripes.
Looking forward to getting into the third chapter of this 5-game series, which I must have picked up as some sort of three-game bundle during some Steam sale or other. Guess parts 4 and 5 will have to end up being separate purchases for me somewhere down the line.