Alexander the Not-So-Great
When there are historical inaccuracies and frame rate issues in the opening cutscene of a video game, you know you’re in trouble, and with Alexander the Great: Secrets of Power, we get both. By most accounts, Alexander the Great was a dark-haired man with two different colors of eyes, but here, we’re immediately introduced to a blonde man with light eyes that looks nothing like most representations of the worldly conqueror. Unfortunately, the game’s lack of attention to detail only gets worse from there.
Alexander the Great: Secrets of Power places players in the shoes of one of Alexander’s heirs in modern times. In an effort to learn more about Alexander’s supposed love of dark magic and rituals, a secret society sends a priceless artifact (a ring) to the heir’s doorstep, without even confirming that he truly is the heir to Alexander’s power. From there, our hero flies to Greece on a whim and is far too carefree when learning that another heir wishes him dead. The storyline makes no sense logically, as there’s no way a museum or society of researchers would trust a one-of-a-kind ring to a clueless nobody without offering him ample protection and confirming he’s “the one” first.
Even from the beginning moments of gameplay, it’s clear that this lack of detail in the storyline isn’t the only part of the game that’s lacking. While there are multiple difficulties to choose from, the game makes no indication of what changes with each option, and even the Normal difficulty mode comes with no sparkles to indicate where something is interactive. The game instead forces players to hover over every tiny nook and cranny in a scene to make sure they haven’t missed a hidden object scene or interactive object, which is tedious at best and a deal breaker at worst. Thankfully, the graphics in most of these environments are lovely, but that doesn’t excuse the game’s overly high difficulty.
Once you do find a hidden object scene, the graphics take a turn for the worse with poor lighting and blurry items that may not match their names. The game’s hint meter recharges quickly in these scenes, so it’s impossible to get stuck for too long, and this is especially helpful in puzzles themselves, which come with no apparent instructions. Any true instructions are found only after clicking on the hint compass, but most are so basic (tile sliding or matching puzzles) that a hidden object veteran will already understand what’s requested of them.
Unfortunately, the game’s problems only get worse from there. The voice acting is forced and downright horrible, and the talking character models, which are designed to look like their real world actors, are entirely static save for the lower portion of their faces. There’s a noticeable line underneath the nose that shows where each actor’s mouth movements have been spliced onto the character model, but these facial expressions look more like constant mumbling, rather than actual speech. That is, the mouth movements don’t even attempt to match up to the voices, which is incredibly jarring to witness (and screams of rushed production).
Putting it simply, Alexander the Great: Secrets of Power takes too many shortcuts to be a great or even average hidden object game. Even though the story is legitimately interesting, as players witness visions of ancient Greece, the game’s many frame-rate issues, blurry hidden object scenes, horrible voice acting and character models do far more damage than the game’s storyline and lovely environments can make up for. If the story of Alexander the Great interests you, this is definitely a game to try for free before investing any money.