8,624 Posts

Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by bfgBaikal on May 13, 12 12:36 AM
Hi Fishies!

What do you think of Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition? We’d love to hear all about it, as would many of the other fishies in our pond! You can now share your review on our website, just pop over to the Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition page here.

Unsure how to submit a review? Please check our help article Big Fish Game Reviews for more information.

After sharing your review on our website, please feel free to repost your review in this thread!

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Happy gaming!


Edited on 05/13/2012 at 2:48:53 AM PST

8,624 Posts

Re:Reviews for Mystery Trackers: Black Isle

[Post New]by bfgBaikal on May 13, 12 12:36 AM
Hi Fishies,

Just to add to the OP: This thread has been reserved for reviews only. If you have any comments or questions about someone else’s review (even if you feel that their review contains incorrect details about this game) please contact that user directly via PM instead of replying to or quoting their post.

While the reviews in this thread are first and foremost helpful to other players, they also tell us and all who were involved in making this game what you liked/disliked most, what you’d like to see more/less of in future games, etc. (As you could imagine, this feedback is very helpful! )

So to make sure that everyone who visits this thread can easily find the reviews that they’re looking for, the Moderation Team will be proactively removing any off-topic posts (i.e. non-reviews) that pop up in this thread.

For any comments and non-review posts, please feel free to create a "Comments" thread in this Game Forum if there isn't one already. You can always create a new thread for any game questions or tips.

Thank you!


73 Posts

Re:Reviews for Mystery Trackers: Black Isle

[Post New]by mcbay111 on May 13, 12 1:00 AM
(Removed by Moderator)

Edited on 05/13/2012 at 2:37:59 AM PST

883 Posts

Re:Reviews for Mystery Trackers: Black Isle

[Post New]by FORTUNATUS on May 13, 12 1:14 AM
Here's my take based on playing the entire demo:

(+Pluses): Option for level of challenge, though, I found it still quite easy as far as gameplay. The cutscenes are well done, graphics good, albeit a bit grainy; WW filmclips were interesting feature. Loved the adventure aspect (good break from H0G, yay to that).

(-Minuses): Overall, just another creep-fest pc game, featuring a storyline of a murdered family, evil man, kidnapped female child, ghosts, demons...

Ehhh, not for me:


Edited on 05/13/2012 at 4:07:42 PM PST

9,383 Posts

Re:Reviews for Mystery Trackers: Black Isle

[Post New]by Valdy on May 13, 12 2:03 AM
This review is based on the trial version, which I played in Easy mode:

There are 3 gameplay modes.

There is a widescreen option, for those who can get it.

There is voice-over.

There are live people in this game.

There is a choice of custom and system cursor.

There are no HOS - for those who are wondering.

There is a DIARY at the left, as well as a GOAL tab.

The HINT button is at the right.
When using the hint button, it refills without delay.

The SG (strategy guide) is also at the right. It stays open where you last left it open.
The SG in the trial version only shows the first 2 chapters.

Puzzles can be skipped. The SKIP button, although it was mentioned in the tutorial that it will take a minute to refill, took barely 20 seconds in Easy mode.
Thank you for the fast filling of the skip button in Easy mode, ERS !!

ETA: I take the above statement about the fast refill for the SKIP button, because this only happened in the trial version. I am now playing the full version, and the SKIP button is now taking an absuredly long time (AGAIN, as with all ERS games) to fill in EASY MODE !! I am really very annoyed about this. I keep complaining about the rediculously long time it takes for both the HINT and the SKIP buttons to fill in Easy mode. And I do wish the developers would just shorten the time.

--- --- ---

Well... I finished the trial version with 15 minutes to spare - a first for me.
The first thing that comes to mind is: It's not what I have expected. I didn't expect to see another haunted house/area with lots of ghosts. Not sure what I expected, but it wasn't this.

What I like about this game is that there are no HOS (hidden object scenes), but still plays like a HOG (hidden object game). I know it sounds strange, because I am a HOG fan, but lately I have grown tired of a lot of HOS in the HOGs, especially when they come in quick succession and I don't get much of a break in between.
So it's rather nice for me to see a HOG without the HOS. LOL

It's like the Azada game from ERS, which was a pure puzzle game, but played like a HOG. Loved it.

Anyway... I am not sure what to make of this game, and I am not sure I will want to buy it. The story just wasn't much to my liking.
However, I will have a think about it and see first what other people say about the game.

Edited on 05/16/2012 at 11:11:02 AM PST

1,515 Posts

Re:Reviews for Mystery Trackers: Black Isle

[Post New]by Rebeca_Lily on May 13, 12 2:17 AM
Not because it's a pure adventure (although I like HOG screens) - it's the whole wrong concept behind it (plot, graphics, fog).

ERS just lost a hard-core fan...

Edited on 05/13/2012 at 2:18:39 AM PST

5,030 Posts

Re:Reviews for Mystery Trackers: Black Isle

[Post New]by cbtx on May 13, 12 2:18 AM
Based on the demo:

So the long awaited adventure game that is supposed to be something totally new is finally here from ERS. Totally new for ERS, I suppose. But the story has been done many times by many others (in terms of a long time ago unsolved murder mystery) So let's see what might be "new" about this game.

The game has a widescreen option that does not work----that's certainly not new.

There don't appear to be any HOS----well, ERS' "Azada: In Libro" didn't either so although that's not the norm for ERS, it's not new.

The puzzles are super easy like all ERS games----so that's not new, either.

The bonus features are all hidden until the game is complete----and that's not new, either.

The graphics are sub-par and gloomy----there you go, that's new for ERS, but a shame since their most redeeming feature has always been their bright, beautiful, almost stunning graphics and artwork.

The music loops over and over like all ERS games----sorry, not new.

The voice-overs are done by professionals----really? I guess I'll just have to take their word for it because they don't sound any different than most games to me.

And the story and artwork plays and looks like a retelling or offshoot of the movie "Psycho"----from the out of the way gas station with a big house up the hill and behind the the building where the trouble begins to the suspicious family member who may still be lurking after all these years. The kid in the story even looks like Anthony Perkins! I kept waiting for Hitchcock's token appearance.

So, overall it's just another murder/ghost story with the ERS label attached but fails to deliver on the promise of something really different. Very, very disappointed with this one. Perhaps ERS needs to stick to their usual assortment of werewolves, puppets, bug-eyed characters, etc, in light of this effort. (And see if they can get the widescreen option to actually work.) I don't know of any forthcoming titles from ERS so perhaps they can take a little time to rethink and retool and bring their games up to the next level as so many other developers have already done. For this once great leader and pacesetter I hope so because this one is such a calamity it saddens me for ERS. (And if some "hard-core" fans are jumping ship, that really ought to speak volumes to them)

Edited on 05/13/2012 at 2:23:59 AM PST

1,378 Posts

Re:Reviews for Mystery Trackers: Black Isle

[Post New]by angelfish106 on May 13, 12 2:26 AM
Not being a great fan of the standard ERS formula games, this is a real surprise. Had I not seen the name of the dev I wouldn't have known they had any hand in this game at all and that's not a bad thing as far as I'm concerned!

The graphics are not what we have come to expect from ERS; much more grainy but really suitable to the surroundings and story. The characters are played by live actors and are done quite well. And surprisingly there are no HOS, well none I came across in the demo anyway, although it plays like an IHOG. Plenty of puzzles though and I didn't think they were 'super easy'; cbtx obviously is much better than me at puzzles as I thought some were a bit tricky! Music was quite creepy and suited the feel of the game.

Widescreen option still gave me black bars but this is normal for me with any ERS game. There is a bonus chapter as well as screensaver, wallpapers, concept art and music (I think). Not sure if these are locked until you finish the main game. Three modes of play; I chose hard but the game was still fairly easy to navigate through.

Half price game club credits today; this CE will cost me less than £3 as I already have one credit! It's more like 'Azada: In Libro' than the usual style of ERS fare and since I loved that game, I'm hoping this one will be as good!

Edited on 05/13/2012 at 2:44:48 AM PST

1,039 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by Rachieroos on May 13, 12 3:08 AM
Just finished the demo and I LOVED IT!!!

I personally am getting sick and tired of the usual ERS werewolves, evil puppets and junkpile HO scenes with irritating music (Just my opinion, I loved the first few Puppetshows but really, ERS have become too predictable and samey in the past year or so for me). Azada In Libro was OK, but still nothing brilliant.

And then comes THIS! Looks like a HOG, plays like a HOG but with no HOs. Brilliant!

I played on hardcore mode but still was able to access hints and tips, just no handholding or sparkles (don't know if there are any in the easy option to be fair). The couple of puzzles I found were typical ERS, but I confess to skipping them as I wanted to get on with the story and they aren't as easy as they look at first glance

I thought the graphics were good, the music quite creepy and fitted with the plot and background well, everything just seemed to "work" in terms of creating a suspenseful story. I am intrigued and with a mass of credits bought in the sale, I am going to have to buy this one and see what happens.

Demo finished in 40 mins but as I said earlier, I skipped two puzzles. Don't think this game will be overly long, but it does seem to pack a lot of punch for the money.

My only gripe? Widescreen doesn't work. Come on ERS, this is typical of you guys, please fix It's not a deal breaker for me but I know it will be for some people.

629 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by edmee1947 on May 13, 12 4:23 AM
i'm playing now since 3hours and half and i'm just reaching the mansion!not short at all,and puzzles are going harder after the demo!(i'm playing on advanced mode)
the game works for me on WIDESCREEN mode and fill my 22" screen!am I the only one?(ALL the ERS games worked on widescreen mode on my computer either)
i have to say i don't play on laptop but on desktop
story is about ghosts but with an original beginning:the curse took place after the II world war with cursed medals
all scenes and background looks to be from that time(old cars,old camera etc...)
3 game play mode,voices not so bad for french ears(mine!)
no hidden objects-junk-pile-style ,more invetigation game and as far,i thik it is very promising incursion into adventure game for the ERS team
there is here a real atmosphere and i think the devs seem to try to please everybody and loose in fact the touch with their creativity
all in one and in spite of all the bad cristicisms,it is a good game to play,interesting and a good try in new way for ERS

1,823 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by LovetoMissLisa on May 13, 12 5:27 AM
My review is based on demo. With this said I like it o.k. I am an ERS lover, but I'm am getting very tired of the same kind's of ghostly/haunted/ storyline's that are in most game today. The graphics are blurry and very grainy which is very different for ERS. I am a huge fan of adventure games. The fact that there are no HOS is o.k. with me. I like the overall play of the game. I just wish is had a different storyline. The widescreen fits my screen and that makes me very happy. It is worth a try and I will buy it. I can't give it my highest rating because of the quality of the graphics and the storyline. Enjoy!

YES: Widescreen
YES: Voiceovers
YES: Puzzles Skippable
YES: Diary
YES: Bonus is locked
YES: Bonus gameplay
YES: Custom Cursor
YES: 3 Modes of Play - Casual/Advanced/Expert
Sound: Music/Sound
Theme: Ghoslty Adventure

I rate this game:
Good game. I like it! Hog,Frog,Ihog,Adventure . For true lover's of these types of games.
‘ ‘

257 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by CoolGrammy1 on May 13, 12 6:04 AM
Not sure about this one. The graphics were dark but not so dark that you can't see a thing as has been the problem with several new games of late. The music was kind of nerve wracking after a while. Same old driving down the road, haunted building, murders and mayhem, but still I am intrigued and just when it started to catch my interest....demo ended. Perhaps I will revisit this once the SE comes out...perhaps as a sale?

40 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by Moesha88 on May 13, 12 6:43 AM
I agree with previous poster in that just when the game started to catch my interest, the demo ended with 22 minutes remaining! Not a good sign that it will be worth money. Although maybe with today's special...


Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by kris_cross48 on May 13, 12 7:00 AM
Mixed bag of reveiws this Mother's Day.
I expected awfulness, frankly, after a few reveiws and was plesantly surprised on a really nicely put together game (so far after demo). HAven't hit the "metal"glitch yet, guess I'm slow.Anyway:
graphics- nice, different looking than usual for this developer, more realistic. Seems a bit of a change in artists or direction.
gameplay- yes, it's a play on psycho..but isn't that cool that yet another generation is into that movie. It was so huge when it came out..scared the pijammers out of me..still think of it when I go to a motel and have a cloth shower curtain. Now, that's lasting imagery is it not? Well, this game is trying to revive that feeling. A game really can't like a movie, but it s a good reminder of the past. ( think white shark and get the imagery..never to be forgotton?)
I like the wandering, opening stuff, where am I, what am I doing. Going back to the old codger to keep me straight.
The little movie screen in the bottom right hand corner is irritating and pulls your eye from the main graphic. It's "look at me, look at me" even though there is nothing new in it..that needs reworking, devs.
sort of miss a hog here and there, just for a mental rest.
one weird hsitorical error- letter from the son 1944, end of the "Great War" ( that's WW1 1915) and the video looks like Bristish 8th in the desert chasing Rommel or Rommel himself--mix up of wars.
Otherwise, loved it and its a buy...happy mothers day! kris

Edited on 05/13/2012 at 7:02:10 AM PST

75 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by reesy37 on May 13, 12 7:10 AM
I enjoyed the graphics and the game play was fairly easy. I missed the HOS, would have liked to see some. Finished the demo in 45 minutes and that included not skipping any cut scenes.

Game is very easy.

I had no problem with the wide screen. I did find that if I turned the wide screen on, set it with a check mark in options, that it did not go to wide screen. But if left unchecked, presumably off, then it worked. But I have seen this in other games as well.

I will play this one, but will wait for the regular version.

288 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by Carole22759 on May 13, 12 7:28 AM
Widescreen beautifully filled-up my 23" & 24"monitors (a tweak to the aspect ratio setting should be a fix for those experiencing black bars down the sides).
Option to turn off black bar tips/hints is what made this game fun to play, otherwise it would have been a tedious scavenger hunt game.
Without knowing what items were needed in each scene, or what actions were necessary to get to the next room/scene, made this game a delight to play.
Thank you developers, this option made all the difference in gameplay!
ETA: I finished the game in just under 5hours.

Edited on 05/13/2012 at 7:30:15 AM PST

48 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by leyahn on May 13, 12 8:15 AM
On the fence on this one.

I liked that there were no straight HOS scenes - I do get tired of one seek and find after another in some games. I played on the Advanced mode - so no sparkles; but hints refilled quickly. Did not use the Strategy Guide. Skipped two puzzles in the interest of demo time - but the puzzles were nice - While I understood what to do in them, they took a little time, and thought, to complete.

Graphics - dark, gloomy, thunderstorm in the background. Both of which I grow weary of. Not as crisp as I would expect from this developer.

I don't have any complaints with the voice acting - rather standard IMO. I did get tired of the cut scenes every time I entered a new place - and found some, like the demon dog pointless. Ah, but at least I didn't have to wander around and find it a bone.

Plot - Meh, Anthony Perkins, and a glowing demon dog, and ghosts. Rather Psycho gone other wordly.

Music - yeah, annoying. Alternates between trying to be creepy and then rather upbeat old time investigations tune. Discordant to the mood they are trying to set.

Filled my wide screen (I play on a desktop).
3 levels of difficulty
Strategy guide only shows first 2 chapters in demo mode.
All CE bonuses locked until after play is complete

All in all - maybe wait for the SE to come out.

Shame, really, I have all these lovely credits from the Mother's Sale that are now burning a hole in my virtual pocket.

804 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by sunnyglow on May 13, 12 9:27 AM
Happy Mother's Day to everyone!!! I like this game. On my computer, it is definitely a step up on graphics. The scenes run quicker and I like the actual people in the game. A step up for ERS and I say keep up the good work. The games are decent and the concepts they incorporated are excellent as well. However..... (there is always a but), I really dislike dilapidated buildings and dreary settings, which this game incorporates. I would have like to have seen more of a fairy tale atmosphere, but ERS has given us those type of games as well. Another great job to me. Sorry, I don't agree with others here. Recently, I seem to be in the minority which is unusual.
However, I agree with others that I am glad there are no HOG scenes. I really hate these and they take so much time to look in junk piles. Much better to me with respect this type of game. I am glad someone is providing more games for us who prefer adventure or mystery with puzzles but lack the HOG scenes. I have no idea when this type of game became popular, but to me they are very boring. Perhaps BF will moderate between this type of game and strictly HOG games, which some prefer over this type of game. The mystery has been intrigued with this game, just hate ugly settings. Otherwise, GREAT!!!

Edited on 05/13/2012 at 2:01:11 PM PST

2,391 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by Eoarod on May 13, 12 10:04 AM
To start - ERS has not lost this die hard fan!! I could wax on, but lots has been said on both "like" and "dislike" sides of this one!

What I will say is: I've been totally drawn into this - really had to force myself to exit to a) write this review b) buy the darn game Guess I'm just a sucker for a good mystery (and has been said ad nauseum by lots of folks re: lots of games - even if a mystery has familiar elements - it can still be good ) and some days I just buy a game on a "gut feeling" without dissecting the details - this is one of those - I just want to get lost in it and enjoy the ride!

So I'd say this is one to try for yourself - maybe pretend you've never heard of ERS, expect nothing, don't compare it to past faire & Happy Gaming!!!

And...Happy Mother's Day!!!

329 Posts

Re:Reviews for Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel Collector's Edition

[Post New]by saphhire on May 13, 12 10:53 AM
First off HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all moms 2nd this game moves a little slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww for a CE I've clicked on items and no go left used hint button which directed me to the same scene I was in telling me to pick up an item then I relized you had to wait a while before you could pick up boooooooooooooooooooooo shame on you 5hrs of playing turns to 3hrs 2hrs worth of waiting If I decide to buy it will be the $3.99 special OK FISHIES I'LL SAY IT THATS MY OPINION

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