Curse: The Eye of Isis
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox
Publisher
Dreamcatcher
Developer
Asylum
Genre
Survival Horror
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood and Gore, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Nice textures and detailed locations
• Decent voice work and story
• Pretty good for 20 bucks

The Bad

• Poor lighting and visual effects
• Gameplay doesn't bring anything new
• Character models are weak
• Puzzle are non-existent

 
Grade
C

The date is August 19th, 1890, and the night before an Egyptian exhibit featuring the statue, The Eye of Isis, is to open, a group of thieves break into the Museum of Great Britain and attempt to steal the statue. Of course, the theft goes wrong and a curse on the statue begins to spread throughout the museum. Enter adventurer Darien Dane, who slips into the closed museum in hopes of finding his friend Victoria Sutton. Before too long, Darien will be chasing the thieves around the museum and to other locations.

Curse is, without a doubt, your standard survival horror adventure. Players move around the museum with the left analog stick relative to the camera angle. The A Button picks up items and uses the equipped weapon. To ready your weapon, players must pull on the Left Trigger. You can also fire with the Right Trigger. Once you pull on the Left Trigger, four reticule icons will focus on an enemy. The longer you wait, the closer they get together, making the accuracy of your shot better. The X Button reloads your weapon and the Y Button can switch your focus to an alternate, weaker body location. The Black Button will open the menu where players can use keys, equip weapons, view the lackluster map (you can't zoom in or out or move it to see other locations) and read previous notes and papers found throughout the game.

Along the way, players will run into other NPCs, like Abdul Wahid, who saves you game for you, and Victoria, who is playable through a portion of the game. If you move close to one of these allies, you can actually swap inventory items.

Progressing through the game usually involves finding the key to open a door or the occasional key item that serves the same purpose. Puzzles are relatively nonexistent. Even in the rare instance where you could solve a puzzle, like in the case of finding a safe combination, selecting the paper with the combination near the safe will automatically solve the puzzle for you. Of course, you'll have enemies to fight, ranging from the reanimated dead, mummies and the surprisingly large group of thieves who are roaming the museum. Luckily, you have a variety of weapons, including a truncheon, handgun, rifle, flamethrower and crossbow.

Along with enemies, players will need to be aware of the curse that pollutes parts of the museum (and later locations) like smoke, which can affect your characters. If you spend too much time near the curse (enemies can spew it at you and the curse will "escape" from defeated enemies), it will start to drain on your life. Luckily, you can find items to remove the curse and heal your life.

The graphics engine for Curse is functional. It sports large areas that have a good bit of detail, which is accented by some exceptional textures. Unfortunately, though, the lighting and visual effects for the game are pretty mediocre and don't do much to make the gameworld look better. With some sharper lighting/shadow effects, like in Silent Hill 3 or Splinter Cell, the game ambiance would have been more intense. While some of the main character models at least show moderate detail, most of the nameless NPCs look pretty blocky and underdeveloped. And, some of the monsters and enemies just look unimpressive, especially after the 20th or so time you've have to fight them.

Much like the graphics department, the audio portion serves its function. Voice acting does a good enough job to progress the story without being a detriment. Sound effects are good, even if they could use more variety. Musically, the game feels a bit weak. If Curse had the powerful ambiance found in Resident Evil or Silent Hill, the mood of the game would feel more terrifying.

Because Curse follows the survival horror pattern so well, it also falls prey to its failings as well. Since the game uses control relative to the camera, every time the camera changes, players will have to redirect their controls. During fights, players may find the camera angles do not provide a decent view of the action, especially when you have to pay attention to the aiming reticule on a distant enemy. Also, the game suffers from some unpolished glitches, like clipping and visual glitches when you perform certain activities, like going up a ladder.

While Curse isn't perfect, it still can be enjoyed, especially for the $20 price tag it was released for. If you're looking for a survival horror adventure to tide you over, this can fit the bill. Just don't expect it to look great or do anything new or spectacular.

- - Kinderfeld

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