by Marko Susimetsä
previewed on PC
Darkest kind of piracy
From the Age of Sail, there are numerous legends of ships being lured on deadly reefs during dark nights and heavy weather. Lacking the modern navigation systems and deprived from the guidance of stars, ships sailing close to the shoreline were dependent on lighthouses and beacons on the shore. Thus, it was easy for pirates to set up misleading beacons on a shore, guiding ships to their doom and then looting the cargo. Naturally, the whole crew was murdered to hide the hideous crimes.
Dead Reefs is one such place, an island belonging to England, but inhabited by these cowardly, bloody-minded pirates who have plied their trade for years without being found out. Then, one night, a ship approaches the island, seeking protection from a raging storm. The ship carries several members of a mysterious order of monks, on their way to another island nearby. But instead of finding safety on the island, the monks are massacred by the pirates, led by their sinister leader, Baron DeSantra. And from amongst the possessions of the monks, the baron finds an ancient relic which will turn the tide for the pirates and end their trade.
Onto the 18th Century
Ten decades after the end of the piracy on Dead Reefs, the King sends in an investigator, Amideo Finvinero, to find out who murdered a descendant of the infamous Baron DeSantra. He learns that for the past hundred years, the island has been ravaged by a mysterious curse that causes someone to go mad every nine years, killing others or committing suicide. And the descendant of Baron DeSantra died only a few days before the 11th recurrence of the alleged curse was to take place. The task of Amideo Finvinero, however, is to find the killer of the latest victim and bring him or her to justice. And, in the course of this, he is to become entangled with the old curse and find the truth behind the legends.
Island of Dead Reefs
Featuring 3D graphics and an island full of mysteries to solve, Dead Reefs takes the player back to the 18th century. The island of Dead Reefs is a relatively small location and the main locations include the castle of the island's baron, a small village, graveyard, docks as well as some more secluded areas, including the old den of the pirates and the reefs that they used to lure unsuspecting ships to.
From what we've seen thus far, the 3D graphics - the game was originally planned to be 2D, but was changed to 3D rather late in the production - manage to create a wonderfully mysterious mood with dark, rainy nights and dimly lit, secluded locations. In this environment, the player, in the role of the investigator Amideo Finvinero will be faced with dynamic puzzles and mysteries and 16 characters living on the island. The story is completely non-linear, allowing the player to solve the mystery in his/her own way. The beautiful graphics are complemented with about 40 minutes worth of pre-rendered and in-game cut-scenes.
Dead Reefs is an adventure game coming from The Adventure Company and developed by Streko-Graphics. It is expected to be released in early February 2007, but it has been delayed a few times already so I will not hold my breath until I see a confirmation to this. Thus far, there has not been much information released on the eventual requirements for the gaming platform, but I doubt that they will be too high. But, overall, for any adventure-loving gamer out there, it seems that Dead Reefs will bring us a worthy mystery to solve!