ERS Game Studios just keeps cranking out great hidden object mysteries, and it is amazing to see how far they have come since Azada, which is still a favourite of mine. The animations have gotten smoother over the years, and with the wealth of classic literature to choose from, they will be in business for a long time. This game focuses on one of Edgar Allen Poe’s less macabre stories, which is still just as mysterious, and if you like looking for lost relics, then The Gold Bug is just the mystery you enjoy, because this involves the search for Captain Kidd’s treasure.
We meet up with Detective Daphin, the dapper man with a taste for the unknown and great fashion sense, for the mid-1840s, and he is the one constant in all of these ERS Poe games, and it is a pleasure to be working with him again as a mystery-solving partner. This story takes us out of France and to Sullivan Island, South Carolina where we meet with William LeGrand, a colleague of Daphin’s that has discovered two amazing things. A golden beetle with a death’s head markings on its wings, somewhat like the Death’s Head moths from The Silence of the Lambs, has lead him to another even more startling discovery. A a very old parchment that seems to be blank until our characters accidentally get it to close to the fire, and this reveals a mishmash of dingbat characters. This is written in invisible ink, and the dingbats are a code which gives a clue to the location of the pirate treasure.
I was a bit disappointed that some of the elements of the story were left out, like Legrand’s African manservant, Jupiter, and the fact that we broke the code in this game by playing a mah jongg game. When I read the story as a kid, I broke the code using the clues in the story before I bother to flip a couple of pages further along to see what it was. This should have been added to the game. Even though some of the base elements from the story were left out, it did move the game along. It also leaves out the fact that LeGrand has gone insane after losing his fortune. No wonder he is desperate for treasure. There is also a mysterious figure that is attempting to thwart our efforts.
The game uses the basic HOM formulae, find this thing, hope it works in that thing, and hope it works in this lock, and so on. Ive really gotten to liking the Poe games, and with ERS Game developers improving the quality with each one, I look forward to more, so long as it stays away from The Tell-Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado. If you like Poe’s works, or a great pirate treasure hunt, Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe’s The Gold Bug Collector’s Edition should not be missed.