Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual Review
It's been a while since adventure gamers had some good, serious games to enjoy. For a while we had a nice revival in the form of the Syberia games and the Longest Journey series, but aside from that, good adventure games that aren't also comedies are hard to come by. It's with a sense of pleasure then, that I recommend Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual. While it may not be as beautiful or gripping as the previously mentioned games, it definitely holds its own when compared to similar adventure offerings on the market.
The game follows the trials and travails of Sophie Leroux, as she stumbles upon an ancient secret involving an Arc-like artifact and a secret society. Sophie is called to the island of Malta, where her uncle has gone missing days after unearthing a groundbreaking dig site.
Arriving in Malta, Sophie finds her uncle under police investigation, the dig site robbed, and a host of questions to be answered. From here you'll travel across Europe, encountering villainous art collectors, driven detectives, and various other colorful characters.
If all of that sounds exciting, you might want to take a step back and reassess the situation. The Scorpio Ritual is a very traditional adventure game. You'll be tasked with picking up, breaking apart and combining items, solving puzzles, revisiting locations, exhausting dialogue trees, and occasionally pushing a box or two. All of this is accomplished fairly easily, as the inventory and interactive methods are simple and direct.
Despite most puzzles being fairly intuitive (there was never a point where I got stuck for more than a few minutes), it's the reasons for the puzzles that might give you pause. Sometimes the things Sophie does just don't make sense. For instance, if I wanted to make a car roll downhill, I'd turn off the emergency break and pop it into neutral. What I wouldn't do is place a small ball under the front wheel, perform the aforementioned actions, and then pop the ball.
It's this kind of impracticality or nonsensicalness that pops its head out once in a while. It doesn't ruin the game, but it makes it hard to view it in the serious light that it clearly desires. Likewise, the game has trouble keeping its tone consistently exciting. This isn't Indiana Jones and I don't expect it to be. It's a much more laidback approach to mystery and archaeology. Still, when it dips into the realm of seriousness it loses its way.