Saturday, 3 April 2010

Freeware Game Review - Ben Jordan Case 2: The Lost Galleon of the Salton Sea (Deluxe Version)

Just back from completing his first case, "In Search of the Skunk-Ape", young paranormal investigator Ben Jordan gets another call - this time from a distraught wife, whose husband has gone off looking for the lost galleon of the Salton Sea. This mythical galleon is said to have once made its way to the region long ago, but the Salton Sea is now miles inland and most of the locals don't believe the legend.

Ben goes first to the missing man's wife for clues, and then searches in the small, sleepy town for help. There are few locals, and not all are inclined to be helpful. One of the first you'll encounter is a Medicine Man, who just happens to look and sound just like Sean Connery!

Compared to the first case, this seems more like a "proper" adventure game, in that you have more locatations and can actually walks from one location to another, not simply select a map location (thought moving via the map is still an important part of the game). The graphics are nice enough, very retro, and there's some excellent atmospheric music in the game. On the whole the voice-acting is very good, though a couple of characters just don't sound right - particualrly "Mama" who is clearly voiced by a man! (If the game designer's mum did the voicing for this character... I can only apologise! Blame it on my ear wax or something...) Some characters sounded excellent, particularly the bored shop worker.

The game should take around 3-4 hours to complete; it's a fair bit longer than the first. Dialogue is good; believable and with lots of humour. One or two of the puzzles to a little while to work out; there's nothing particularly difficult here but everything's logical enough and it should keep both adventure novices and veterans happy for quite a while, without being either prohibitively difficult for the former or preposterously easy for the latter.

Along the way you'll have to work out how to make moonshine, interfere with mobile phone reception, help two lonely hearts find love, think up song lyrics, and of course defeat ghostly Spanish captains. Overall it's a much better game than Case 1, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the third episode has to offer.

More information and download page for Ben Jordan Case 2: The Lost Galleon of Salton Sea

Ben Jordan Case 2 Deluxe screenshots in this post.

*Note - the setup file doesn't seem to be working quite right, I couldn't get the game to run fullscreen on Vista.  It runs fine in a window though at a reasonable enough size to see what's happening.*

CaptainD's PC Gaming Blog

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