After an action-adventure, an action-RPG, and a fantasy shooter, I finally get to take a break with a regular adventure game. My mouse buttons are happy already. The game in progress is Barrow Hill: Curse Of The Ancient Circle.

Just from the title, you can tell that Mysterious Things Are Happening. An Ancient Evil Is Stirring (about which I will have more to say later elsewhere). In other words, the usual ;)

What is UNusual are the specs. These are for a brand-new game, just out:
Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP
Pentium III 450 or higher
128 Meg of RAM (256 recommended)
SVGA video card with 32-bit color
DirectX 9-compatible soundcard

I’m not kidding about the specs. They really are that low, perhaps because this is a British production from a company called Shadow Tor via GotGame Entertainment. In addition, the price was low, too: $19.99 at the local game store.

It’s a point-and-click affair, with the cursor changing to indicate what action you can take. Saving, unfortunately, is pre-named for you (what IS this business with games lately not allowing you to name your own save positions?).

Inventory is handled a bit differently than we’re used to. The view is full-screen, amd moving the cursor to the top or bottom opens a “band” across the screen. The bottom one shows items that can be used in specific places (when you find them), and the top one shows items that can be used “anytime”.

The graphics, though not sensational, are quite decent. Movement is step-at-a-time rather seamless, and turning is by quarters rather than smooth 360. The view is first-person. And for a change, that’s you (or is that, me?) rather than some pre-created character. I like that.

So I’m driving merrily across the British countryside through Cornwall. This part is done in a sort of grainy black-and-white visual, which looked like a video from real life. Then comes the crash/breakdown.

Now the game begins. This, by the way, is happening on the night of the autumnal equinox. Given that evil forces are likely around, you’d expect All Hallows Eve. But at least the equinox is timely.

Anyway, I hoof it down the road to a gas station/rest stop place. The manager is locked in his office, and mutters on about “something” out there that has him scared witless. So I doubt I’m getting any repairs done to the car any time soon.

I’ve been poking around the place, reading any number of interesting bulletins, flyers, and whatnot, many of them about ancient folklore and myths. No doubt, some or all of them are foreshadowing what is to come. Lucky me.

So that’s the initial look. More to come, so stay tuned, sports fans!