Wonderful cartoon-like graphic
The Von Penumbras are a family of Venators, stretching back for many generations. It’s a lineage they’re proud of, and they intend to keep the tradition alive for many years to come.
What is a Venator, you may ask? Venator is a Latin word, meaning ‘hunter’. So the Von Penumbras are hunters. But they are hunters with a difference! They seek out, and defeat, vampires, werewolves, demons, mummies, ghosts, and all things supernatural. Like I said, it’s something they’re proud of.
The youngest member of the family, Gilbert Von Penumbra, is the black sheep, so to speak. He has no interest in keeping up family tradition. He’s lazy, a terrible fighter, and not very bright - the complete opposite of what a Venator should be. Nevertheless, he completed his training, struggling through gruelling sessions of Voodoo, Vampire Hunting, and Mummies. Now his Uncle Citric has decided it’s time for Gilbert’s first mission as Venator. There’s a ghost haunting the local graveyard and scaring villagers, and it’s up to Gilbert to deal with this ghost and send him back to limbo. So now, poor Gilbert has to set out, and prove himself to his Uncle. Thankfully, his father had left a special medallion, which Gilbert can use to aid in his quest - IF he can find it! So will he succeed? Well, that’s up to YOU to decide.
There are 2 versions of the game - one compressed with a programme called .Ace, and one using the more standard .7zip. We have the 7zip one on our site, so there shouldn’t be any problems with unzipping it. Don’t worry, it’s the same game - just using a different compression method.
Once the game is downloaded, you can start it with ‘notarpg.exe’.
Venator is controlled entirely by mouse. Interaction with Gilbert’s world is done by icons at top of the screen (move your mouse up there to see them). Using these icons, you can Walk, Look, Interact, and Talk, to anything in the game. The suitcase holds all the Inventory items you are carrying. You can also Save\Load\Quit from this menu.
As the game starts, Gilbert moves painfully slowly. And his moving his head from side-to-side as he searches things is equally painful. Thankfully, the game speed can be adjusted to your preference by clicking on the ’?’ at top of the screen.
Gilbert is soon joined by a very interesting sidekick - Edgar the raven (yes, a raven!). I adored Edgar’s sarcastic attitude, and his constant put-down comments to Gilbert had me in stitches. And it was great that Gilbert could talk to all sorts of weird inanimated objects. Gilbert is such a loveable guy, you can't help getting attached to him. A lot of the dialogue was hilarious, including Edgar’s comments about things, and I was often chuckling away to myself.
There is a built-in hint system in this game, which is both innovative, and frustrating. If you get stuck on a puzzle, simply click your medallion (you DID find it, didn’t you?) on the thing you’re stuck with, and you can bypass that puzzle. But before you are given a hint, you have to earn it by solving a puzzle, which I found tricky. Also, you can only use the hints 3 times, so be aware of that, and don’t rely on it too much.
I love the gorgeous, cartoon-like graphics in this game. And the slightly-oversized heads of the characters give a lot of charm. The blue-ish grey colour palette does a wonderful job of showing us it’s night time, but it also has an eerie, unnerving feeling about it. In contrast, the characters are fully coloured, and stand out against the backgrounds.
Animation is very smooth, and I love the way Gilbert shrugs, or shakes his head, when he doesn’t want to do something. I also loved seeing Edgar fly around, and fire flickering in the fireplace.
Inventory items are shown as colourful icons, so it’s easy to see at a glance exactly what you are carrying. Click on an inventory item to see a close-up of it. Dialogue in the game is displayed as coloured text above the character’s head, with each character having a different colour.
SOUND AND MUSIC
Music was nice and creepy, and complemented the tone of the game nicely. Each area had it’s own ‘theme’, which looped continuously throughout the game. Sound effects were good, with things like the roaring fire, river gushing, owls hooting, and the dog barking, all giving the game extra depth.
Venator is a wonderful adventure game that any adventure fan is sure to love. The story of Gilbert the reluctant hunter setting out on his first mission to defeat the ghost, really appealed to me, and I loved the hilarious relationship between Gilbert and Edgar. The game is controlled by mouse, making interactions with the gaming world nice and easy. Gilbert’s walking speed is very slow at the start, but you can altar that in the Options menu. Graphics are cartoony, and I love how the backgrounds are dark and eerie, while the characters are brightly coloured. Music is nice and creepy, and the sound effects added extra life to the game. This is Darkdan’s (the creator) first game, and I hope to see many more from him.
Review by: Frodo
Safe for ages: 13+