Donald Dowell and the Ghost of Barker Manor Donald Dowell and the Ghost of Barker Manor
Made by: Ape Marina
More info: -

Gorgeous, hand-drawn art
Wonderful music
Fantastic humour

Meet Donald Dowell.  An 80-year old man who has been retired for many years.  He should be enjoying his 'Golden Years' of peace and quiet with his wife.  After working in the post office for so many years, he's definitely earned it.  He should be... relaxing in the garden... walking the dog... reading the paper... lapping up the stress-free lifestyle.  The problem is, he's not!  Donald is bored! 

That's right!  He's bored!  He's bored of doing nothing all day.  He's bored of having no reason to get up in the morning.  He's bored of having no purpose in life.  He NEEDS to feel fulfilled again.  And the only way that can happen, is if Donald goes back to work. 

So Donald sets out, determined to find a job.  It can't be THAT hard... can it?  After all, he did it before, sixty years ago.  The problem is, Donald doesn't realise how much the job market has changed.  And after being ridiculed by several potential employers for being too old (and on one occasion, too young!), he finally sees an advert for the PERFECT job for him.  A Ghostbuster!  Bob Delano, the famous Paranormal Detective, is looking for an assistant.  How could Donald resist?  But when Donald makes enquires, Bob's secretary Karl, tells him that Bob Delano is investigating a strange, ghostly phenomenon at Barker Manor.  So Donald does the only thing he can.  He travels to Barker Manor, partly to talk to Bob Delano, and partly to prove his worth as a Ghostbuster. 

Donald Dowell and the Ghost of Barker Manor is a fantastic point & click adventure game, full of humour that will have you laughing out loud.  Right from the start, Donald's efforts at finding a job had me chuckling - circus performer, wrestler, and scientist assistant (hands up who recognises the scientist that says Donald is too young, lol!), to name but a few, before he finally settles on being a Ghostbuster (who you gonna call?). 

The whole game is littered with references to classic adventure games - everything from Monkey Island, to Broken Sword, to Syberia, to Day Of The Tentacle, and much, much more can be found!  Even reading the Guest Book will bring a smile to your face.  There's also other references to famous people, characters, and films - where else would you find Miss Marple, Vincent Van Gogh, MacGyver, and Harry Potter in the same place?  Donald himself frequently talks to us (the player), and other in-game characters wonder who on earth he is talking to. 

Donald, being the grand old age of 80, is a bit senile.  This means that he can never quite remember anyone's name properly, and he keeps calling them a slightly different name, with hilarious results!  The hotel manager, Mr Coman, according to Donald, is now called Conan (the barbarian).  A running joke in the game, is when Donald activates his ghost-calling device, he thinks it isn't working.  But my favourite, is the crash of thunder, whenever Donald mentions 'Barker Manor'. 

The game itself is controlled by the mouse.  Interact with the game world simply by clicking on items and people, or click on an area you want Donald to walk to.  Scroll mouse to top of the screen, to see icons for Walk, Look, Interact, and Talk.  The Suitcase icon is your inventory.  You can also Save\Load\Quit from top of the screen.  Conversation is done by Donald clicking on whoever he wants to talk to, then a list of dialogue choices is shown at bottom of the screen. 

The graphics are beautifully hand-drawn.  Rich, strong, vibrant colours are used throughout, giving it a gorgeous cartoony feel.  There are lots of lovely touches throughout the whole game.  Donald himself has a lot of appeal, with his crooked smile, and thick specs.  I love how the ghosts 'fade' in, and Donald doesn't even realise they are ghosts.  Baa-ing of the sheep was fun to see, and the wooden huts in the port looked very authentic.  Inventory items are shown as little icons, so it's easy to see at a glance exactly what you are carrying. 

Excellent music is used throughout the game, and you'll find yourself humming the tunes long after you finish the game.  There are no voice-overs, but the game really doesn't need any.  Sound effects have been used with great effect.  My favourite (as mentioned earlier) has to be the clash of thunder heard every time Donald mentions the words 'Barker Manor'.  That makes me laugh every time!  But you'll also hear things like the knocking on doors, creaking as doors open or close, sawing & hammering from Al & Bo (the bridge repair men), and a fantastically creepy howl of the werewolf. 

I struggled to find anything wrong with this game.  I really did.  If I'm being fussy, I'll say that some of the jokes may have been slightly overused.  Donald Dowell and the Ghost of Barker Manor oozes charm and appeal.  The story itself - about an 80-year old ghostbuster - is hilarious.  All the references to classic adventure games are a lovely nod all us gamers are sure to enjoy.  The humour is top-notch, and will have you chuckling to yourself.  The game itself is mouse-controlled, and so easy to play.  Graphics, both characters and background, are hand-painted, and look gorgeous.  Music is non-obtrusive, and you'll find yourself humming the tunes over and over again.  And the sound effects are very... effective!  I thoroughly enjoyed this game, and highly recommend it! 


Review by: Frodo

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107 MB
Multiplayer modes:
Age rating:
Safe for all ages
Windows XP Vista 7
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