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Pitch Black vs. JSH357
Pitch Black : OOH! OOH! TYPO!   I found a flaw!!!
Shadowiii
Download: 1.12 MB
V.S.
JSH357
Play Time: hours and 35 minutes
Review # 13 for JSH357 : OOH! OOH! TYPO! I found a flaw!!!
Them's Fightin' Words
    Pitch Black is a contest game made for Gizmog's Halloween Contest last year. I think that this game and OHR Date are the ultimate proof that Shadowiii is the king of contests- his games aren't insanely good, but I've never seen such quality work come out of contest games. Pitch Black, in my opinion, is not quite as entertaining as OHR Date, but it is definitely an interesting experience.

The premise of the game is pretty simple: you're in the dark. Not only is the main character literally in the dark with one shining light of hope, but also, the player is in the dark about what's going on. It's very rare that an OHR game expresses a theme like this!

This game is similar to Myst in that it can be beaten any time- as long as you know what to do. Figuring out how to get to the end takes up the bulk of the game's time.

A note about the length: this game is short, but it's better than most long OHR games. Since it is such a short game, if you're trying to pick between X game and Pitch Black, you may as well get both- this one won't take you long at all (if you get stuck, you can always read the hints in the manual :p).
Graphics
    I didn't really have a problem with this game's graphics. For the most part, they are adequately gloomy for the game's atmosphere. The room backdrops look very realistic- I'm not sure if they are actual images or drawn, but I'm assuming that they are not original. Still, they fit the game marvelously. The only problem with the graphics is that they are bit repetitive. They aren't bad; they just aren't that great.

My favorite thing was the big gargoyle- when I flipped the light switch on and saw that thing it almost freaked me out! I suppose that if I had walked toward it with the light on, the effect wouldn't have been present, but in any case, it was very well placed.
 
Storyline
    From this point on, I will split this section into two subsections: Story and Dialogue.
Dialogue is an integral element of story-intensive games, and deserves to have its own section. And so it shall.

Story

There isn't too much to say about Pitch Black's story that wouldn't spoil everything. Essentially, Julia has been tricked into exploring a haunted mansion, and you get to try and find her missing friends. The game focuses on horror elements, which really aren't my thing, but it is presented very well.

The ending surprised me. I was expecting something... a bit different... but it was better this way. Good job tricking me, Shadowiii.


Dialogue

There isn't very much dialogue in Pitch Black; most of the text consists of descriptions. What is there is good. I didn't have any problems with the style, and it seemed to be very well written. I only found one error, and it is in the first screenshot. Minor, but it stuck out.
 
Gameplay
    This is split into sections, so I will do it as instructed.

Here is my new disclaimer for the 'Gameplay' section. My reasoning for several attacks may be based upon what is written in the disclaimer.
These can be taken both literally and in a figurative sense.
Also, my disclaimer will change as I write reviews, since I pick up new rules along the way.
1. No game should be played 'just for fun.' This doesn't mean that games shouldn't be fun. It just means that the entire purpose of a game shouldn't be 'having fun.'
2. Shock value is useless and should be left out of games if in excess.
3. Effort/Length does not equal quality.
4. The movie can indeed be better than the book.
5. Most games are just bad remakes of other games.
6. A game should explain any abnormal features without a manual.

A note about this game's manual: this is how you use manuals! The game should be obvious enough when you play it, but hints go in the manual.

Bugs:
- I ran into scripting errors when I walked out of the bedroom several times. I saved often, so it wasn't a problem, but this needs to be investigated further...
- Sometimes the cursor would change but would not let me do its function. I have no idea why this happened.
 
  Battle
    There is one 'battle' in this game, but I will not spoil it. It is pretty much a win-or-lose depending on what you did in the game. It was fine.  
  Map Design
    The mansion is pretty well designed. I think that point-and-click is generally a better interface for these kinds of games, but the addition of spikes really changed that. If your flashlight runs out of light and your monitor isn't bright like mine, this game's maps can be deadly...

Anyway, walking between places was a bit cumbersome at times, but it might have been because I wanted to get there faster and see the rest of the game. This game has great maps. I like Myst better, but Pitch Black was definitely not a disappointment.
 
  Balance
    Balance?  
Music
    You know, Shadowiii claims that this game needs music to be effective. I thought it was fine without music, but I'm guessing it's even better with it. Stupid sound card. :/  
Enjoyment
    It's very short, but fun while it lasts. A few of the game's puzzles had me guessing, and it took me forever to find a certain item that is right next to something else, but other than that, I never got frustrated. I was expecting something to jump out at me at certain times, and... oh, just play the game for yourself.  
Final Blows
    There should be more games like Pitch Black. It doesn't try to do anything overly difficult, and instead succeeds at doing something fairly simple in an effective manner.
As you can see, graphics aren't shabby- they just aren't... amazing.

As you can see, graphics aren't shabby- they just aren't... amazing.
Final Scores
Graphics: 6/10.0
Worst thing about the game, but that isn't really saying much. The graphics do their job and, if you're a cowardly little choir priss, you might get freaked out.
Storyline: 8.5/10.0
The ending is a bit surprising. It fits the game very well, although it isn't really anything sublime. The dialogue is good, but not without error.

Story score: 4/5
Dialogue score: 4.5/5
Gameplay: 8.5/10.0
Interesting, and the game is short enough to keep from getting stale. Watch out for those spikes! I felt it was lacking in terms of the interface in some areas. Although it is well built, the placement of some objects just didn't bode well with me. Other than that, this game was excellent.
Music: 10/10.0
Nil :(
Enjoyment: 9/10.0
One of the best half-hour games the OHR has to offer. There were a few phases that seemed a bit tedious, but overall, I enjoyed this game. It isn't perfect, but it's very, very good.
Overall Grade: A-
Final Thoughts
    Light and tasty! Pitch Black is a definite must-play, especially for people who like adventure games. Plus, Julia is hot...  


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