Uncover the mysteries of Goldvale Manor and save your girlfriend from a madman in Brink of Consciousness: Dorian Gray Syndrome.
I will just start by saying that I cannot recommend Dorian Gray Syndrome enough. This game does so much right, and while it does have its flaws, they are completely overshadowed by the story, artwork, voice acting and puzzles that the game has in store for you.
The game opens with a fairly long intro movie that sets the stage for the game. You play as Sam Wilde, a reporter who has been following a string of disappearances of young people in your town. Things become personal when your girlfriend, Anna, is abducted and a man, known only as Oscar, leaves you a taunting message…to come to Goldvale Manor and try and save her.
Once you arrive at Goldvale Manor you realize just how disturbed Oscar truly is, and what has happened to the missing young adults. I don’t want to give anything away, because the story is quite interesting, but let’s just say that Oscar is definitely not in his right mind, and hasn’t been for quite some time.
Oscar has rigged the house with numerous traps and puzzles that you will have to overcome and solve as you try to reach Anna in time. There are speakers in every room of the house, and Oscar will use them to taunt you and occasionally drop a random hint. Most of the time, you can continue investigating a room while Oscar monologues, which is a nice feature since he talks quite a bit.
The gameworld is immense, probably one of the largest I’ve seen in this type of game. There are well over fifty scenes that you will visit as you explore Goldvale Manor and its grounds. The artwork in the game is detailed and fun to look at, but many times there are only one or two items that you need in a room. When you have to travel back and forth through all these scenes it can get a bit tiresome.
There is a map built into the game that will show you the rooms you’ve uncovered and which rooms have items of interest in them. Unfortunately you cannot fast travel to locations, which, considering the size of the gameworld, would have been a nice feature.
Dorian Gray Syndrome is an adventure game with hidden object scenes. The balance between the two elements is excellent and the hidden object scenes don’t feel out of place, even if they aren’t as numerous as they are in other games. The scenes make sense and items are not overly difficult to find.
Oscar has definitely put some thought into hindering your progress and you will need to solve numerous puzzles along the way to advance. The puzzles are of all degrees of difficulty and many of them are fairly unique, or at least present unique spins on classic puzzles.
The Collector’s Edition features a bonus chapter that is in a completely new setting and sets the game up for a sequel. The bonus chapter is a decent length and the gameplay is the same as the main game. The Collector’s Edition also includes concept art, the game soundtrack, and wallpapers. It also has an interview with the developers and some humorous comics featuring Oscar.
As I stated originally, I highly recommend giving Dorian Gray Syndrome a try. I doubt you will be disappointed.