Santa Fe Mysteries: Sacred Ground

Adventure 1997 Windows Activision Mystery

Slow-paced and unexciting mystery

This is the second in the Sante Fe Mysteries series of graphic adventures and which plays out a bit like Myst or Amerzone, but which is unfortunately far from the standards of these games. If you are interested though, make sure to check out the prequel, The Elk Moon Murder, as although this one doesn't require any prior knowledge, you'll enjoy it more having played the original. The gameplay this time around is largely similar to the game's predecessor and requires players to solve a mysterious kidnapping which is done by interviewing suspects and gathering clues by investigating the numerous environments you will encounter. Adding slightly to the challenge is the strict time limit which the case must be solved in and which adds some pressure as you can't visit everywhere or interrogate all the suspects and instead must use your intuition to fill in the gaps. Sacred Ground is certainly an intriguing attempt at a mystery adventure and should provide some interest for those of a more thoughtful nature. However, a number of issues prevent it from being worthy of anything more than a cursory investigation. Firstly, it is pretty short, requiring little more than a few hours to complete and with little in the way of replay value. There's also little in the way of actual puzzling to be done which is disappointing, with a greater emphasis instead on plodding away at the investigation, and which makes for a less than thrilling experience. The story is melodramatic hokum but is enjoyable enough if you're in the right mood and which is supported by plenty of cheesy FMV sequences. If you like such slow-paced games as Golden Gate this might be worth a look, but Syberia or the aforementioned adventures stand as better examples of this type of thing.

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