1,934 Posts

Reviews For Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon

[Post New]by bfgDeveron on Feb 9, 14 9:26 AM
Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the reviews thread! Please feel free to post your thoughts and feedback on Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon here. We appreciate the time you take to put your reviews together, and I know other gamers and the developers do as well. We just have a few guidelines to keep in mind when posting. Our goal with these is to keep the thread tidy, easy to navigate and helpful.

Review Guidelines

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Edited on 02/09/2014 at 9:27:01 AM PST

196 Posts

Re:Reviews For Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon

[Post New]by sfr8rfan on Feb 9, 14 10:52 AM
Part One of Four


My review is based on completing the game on a Mac and then studying the strategy guide again to prepare for this review. I purchased the CE version but this review is of the main game with references to the CE .
I didn’t care for the game and I’ll try to explain why as fairly as possible. Of course I wanted to like it. I spent the money on it but it just didn’t work out.

There were some positives:

A. The Sights: It was a winner artistically. Throughout the game you progress through a variety of cities beginning in Western Europe and ending in Eastern Europe. Each one of the locales had a particular European feel to it. So, props to the environment, or "set design" people.

B. The Sounds: The voice actors were good and the lip-synching was as well. (Just a little editorializing here: how come this bad game has great lip-synching while some great games recently have no synching or terrible synching? It doesn’t make sense to me.)

C. The other thing that was good was…er… Wait. I'm sorry. That's all I can say about the game that is positive.

Two schools of thought now:
1. If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all.
2. If you can't say anything nice come sit by me.

Come sit by me and I’ll tell you about the game…:

A. The animation was very poor. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate:

1. In one scene a lemon was being squeezed into a cocktail shaker. The lemon hovered over the shaker, there was no "liquid" going from the lemon to the shaker. After a moment the lemon was gone. Big deal? Maybe it’s not, but we have certainly seen games where you'd know that liquid was being poured into a container from another source.

2. An item, fallen between the cracks of a grate on the ground needs to be extricated. I had a hook in my inventory. As the hook neared the grate, but before it actually reached it, the grate mysteriously rose. Hmm, maybe the grate was haunted.
These don't seem like fatal flaws, but they are very typical of the play throughout the game. There is a serious lack of attention to detail.

To Be Continued…

196 Posts

Re:Reviews For Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon

[Post New]by sfr8rfan on Feb 9, 14 10:53 AM
Continuation: Part Two of Four

B. The story line that propelled us through Europe was preposterous: A bride has been murdered by the evil Count Orlock on her wedding day. The husband (whom you play in this first-person adventure) mentions that it’s supposed to be the best day of their lives and he thought all their troubles were behind them. RUH ROH!! There was already trouble in Paradise and this trip hadn't even begun yet!!

Somehow the Mrs. boards Charon’s train to Hades and the undead husband gets on as well. In the “old days" Charon ferried across the river Styx but now he prefers to travel by train. Life is so complicated since the invention of the wheel…but I digress. Earlier, several souls who weren’t too keen on Hades as a destination ganged up, revolted and escaped. Charon is searching for these malcontents. In the meantime the souls headed to Hades are stuck on the train (STUCK????, depending on the quality of the food and service, the train seems like a much better deal than Hades any day of the week). It turns out that Charon release your (dead?) wife IF YOU HELP HIM CAPTURE THE EVIL COUNT ORLOCK. In other words, Charon has the power to release your wife's soul to you, but he won’t do it unless you help him. That’s just NOT COOL!!!

C. It's a hidden object game and there are many items to “collect” that move the game forward. I think most gamers are looking for HOGs and/or mini-games when they buy a Hidden Object/Puzzle/Adventure. If it’s HOGs you seek, you’re not going to be happy: There are 10 total. They are of the list-pick variety. There are 20 mini-games/puzzles. The HOGs are uninspired. The mini-games never leave the train station. Here are some examples:

To be continued....

196 Posts

Re:Reviews For Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon

[Post New]by sfr8rfan on Feb 9, 14 10:54 AM
Continuation: Part Three of Four

1. 5 times you play a game in which you place tokens on the map that details your path. You’ll play this game on your way to France, Italy, Germany, Czechoslovakia and Transylvania. The tokens represent various aspects of the locale to which you're headed. On your way to France for example, the first set of tokens might include Croissant, Borscht, pasta and, Paella. OK. Guess. Yes! Croissant. The next set of tokens might be famous buildings. Place the Coliseum instead of the Louvre and it's back to the start for you. (I'll save you time: this is the first puzzle of the entire game, of course, and it's not the best. Nothing about it is fun. It's pedestrian).

2. Three times you’ll complete puzzles which require no more skill than a trip to your journal. There you’ll find out how to properly accessorize french characters on a poster; properly arrange the limbs of two mannequins, and later on, correctly position two armored knights. (The accessorizing one is the second puzzle of the game. It, too, is boring and requires no skill. The answers "are out there.)"

3. The final puzzle of the main game of Spirits of Charon asks you to align concentric circles with symbols on them in a way that will form a path to the center. Uhm, no.
As I mentioned, I purchased the Collector’s Edition and tried to access the bonus chapter. I couldn't retrieve any inventory nor could I access the monocle (a tool that allows you to "see" para-normal things the ordinary eye cannot grasp). This monocle is part of the main game as well. Without inventory or monocle it's really "game over.” So, the game was over for me.

To Be Continued…

196 Posts

Re:Reviews For Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon

[Post New]by sfr8rfan on Feb 9, 14 10:56 AM
Continuation: Part Four of Four

Your first decision is whether you want the game at all. If the answer is yes, you need to decide on the CE or SE. If you buy it this weekend you’re going to get a good price no matter which one you buy. Too bad this is the featured game.
Here’s what I think about the Collector’s Edition: I don't know why there is one. I have no idea what the value proposition is. Maybe you can figure it out: This is what you get (and don't get) if you purchase it:

A. The “who cares” assortment of wallpaper, concept art and music that's re-playable.

B. A bonus Chapter that I couldn’t play. I can only tell you that the strategy guide says there are 8 HOGs and 5 mini-games/puzzles.

C. An ok strategy guide.

D. There are no morphing objects, collectibles or achievements in the main game of the CE (or in the bonus, I imagine).

While I think gamers make too big of a deal about these things, the reality is, if we are asked to pay more than twice the price of an SE for a CE, there better be some pretty good features for all that extra money.

I don't recommend this game as a CE for sure and if you're even contemplating buying it as an SE make well sure you use a coupon or it's on serious sale (like right now). This isn't a full game. I don't think you should pay full price.

Sorry Ladies and Gentlemen. IMO this game does not deserve a recommendation. I do recommend trying the hour-long trial (the one I didn't take advantage of).

Caveat Emptor.

196 Posts

Re:Reviews For Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon

[Post New]by sfr8rfan on Feb 9, 14 11:11 AM
It's possible that we, as reviewers, can play a game and review it based on the trial and then come back and adjust our review once we've played the whole game. I've done that....we get more information and it upgrades the quality of our review.

My earlier 4-part review of Haunted Train is wordy (I know, I know, and please don't hesitate to write to me with your critique of my critique. If the length is off-putting, tell me. Believe it or not, I try to use as few words as possible to communicate my thoughts).

Let me summarize and disabuse you of some notions that may be floating about:

There are virtually ZERO CE extras: Wallpaper, Concept Art and Music. That and an SG is it. There are no morphs or collectibles or achievements. Some have changed their mind and "upgraded" their opinion from wanting to wait for and SE because there aren't bells and whistles to preferring the CE because of the bells and whistles. I'm confused.

Trust me: If you have a choice between the CE and the SE, first, consider skipping the entire thing. If you can't bring yourself to do that, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT BUY THE CE. IT IS A WASTE OF YOUR MONEY. There are times when it's really worth it to get the CE, if only because the game is so great you want more play time. This is not the case with Haunted Train.

As always, download the hour the hour trial of the CE and you can see for yourself: you'll get the regular game play and an insight into the extras!

Here's to truth in reviewing...and knowing what you're talking about...I've been so off that once I asked BFG to remove a review I'd written based on the trial. They don't make a practice of this, but that time they did.

I will not be asking them to pull back my review of Haunted Train It's on target. You can disagree with my opinions, but the fact-based info is..well...based in fact.


586 Posts

Re:Reviews For Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon

[Post New]by steve_san on Feb 9, 14 3:59 PM

"Haunted Train" Fails To Leave The Station - again
(revised review of CE trial)

Sorry, I did not like this one. It did not feel "creepy" as some others have described. It was certainly trying to, but instead came off as ... uh... silly?

The summary describes the basic story behind the game. Though the premise is kind of "out there," it definitely had potential. However, the developers did not manage to pull this off. And when you're trying to rescue your wife's soul, wonder what sort of woman you married?

Second, the game is way too easy. Many times an object is picked up, then used almost immediately. Puzzles require little or no thought.

Third, I felt the voice acting was not convincing. This is where the "train" truly "breaks down" (heh). Voice acting, if done well, can help to "suspend your disbelief." That didn't happen here, not even close. The actors sounded to me like they were just reading lines off a page.

The drawing is well done and is of a standard with the better games. The story is set in the past, as far too many are, and a good job was done with the artwork in capturing the spirit of times gone by. The music and sound effects are helpful in this respect as well, just enough to capture the mood without being heavy-handed.

Just barely 3 stars. I'd buy only with the sale or when I have an extra credit. Or possibly if it is a DD. Otherwise, I will wait for the NEXT TRAIN.

10,153 Posts

Re:Reviews For Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon

[Post New]by BlackWaterRules on Feb 9, 14 4:44 PM
The storyline is excellent. Charon, who always transported the souls of the damned to Hades in a gondola via the River Styx has taken to transporting them via the Haunted Train. On what was to be the happiest day of your life, your wedding day, your beloved bride, Olivia is murdered by an evil Count and his minions. She and her soul are on the Haunted Train en route to eternal damnation. Can you help Charon to bring her killers to justice and save Olivia from a terrible fate?

The graphics in this game are beautiful, that includes the mini puzzles and the hidden object scenes. The mini puzzles are unusual, some time consuming, but all of them are a lot of fun. Hidden object scenes are clear, crisp, and clean, with a lot of interactivity. It is the straight list type, easy to know what you are looking for.

The soundtrack and voice overs are well done. It adds to this game being the total package.

There are three aids to assist you: a portfolio instead of a journal that has postcards of the places you have been, a magnifying monocle that can sense evil activity when you use it, and an interactive map, that really is interactive and a pleasure to use.

If you like beautifully crafted games, some scenes that look like they belong hanging in the Louvre, with sinister characters and eerie, creepy, and haunted special effects this game is for you.

I hated the CE and am so glad I revisited the game when it came out as an SE, because it is great.


Re:Reviews For Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon

[Post New]by JustTheFacts on Feb 12, 14 5:59 AM
Huh? I Guess I Got It Wrong! ****



If you haven’t read my review of the CE for this game, please don’t. I don’t know where my head was that day, but clearly it wasn’t on the job! While the facts are correct, some of my responses to the game seem way off, having completed the game! *shame-faced teary-eyed *

So. This game starts out with a wedding, but the honeymoon’s not all it could be. The bride is murdered at the altar, and we, the groom, are left unconscious. The graphics are fine, nothing brilliant, but quality. As are all aspects of this game. Except a couple of niggling bits.

The graphics are good, but not great, although the artwork is appealing and has that eerie magical ‘ectoplasmic’ green that works so well for anything supernatural. The HOPs are bright and colourful without seeming out of place. One thing I liked, we find a newspaper with a relevant story on the front page. The photo comes “alive” and the narrator tells us some back history, all with the newspaper still encasing the ‘photo’. I thought it was nifty.

The narrator/main character’s voice is used wonderfully. Some of the other voices are not so good, but none are bad. The music has a lot of crashing piano chords and other exciting stuff, orchestral for the most part – always at one extreme or the other. Sometimes, it is beautifully ethereal.

Your bride is killed on your wedding day, you are knocked unconscious, and wake with a train ticket in your hand. You just manage to catch it before it leaves the station. On board, the ghost of your bride begins the explanation of what has happened and what you must do.

The train belongs to Charon – the ferryman who takes souls over the Styx. Caught up in a battle between Charon and a gang of evil doers, your wife and the others aboard cannot pass over until these men are lured to the train and disposed of . That’s where you come in. The game is broken up into the capture of 4 of these villains and thereby rescuing your wife.

Another reviewer called the story preposterous, and it is. But it’s also an involving story, that kept me playing.

To be continued...


Re:Reviews For Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon

[Post New]by JustTheFacts on Feb 12, 14 6:00 AM
Huh? I Guess I Got It Wrong! ****



There seemed to me to be more adventure tasks than either puzzles or HOPs. Despite the fact that the HOP scenes are visited twice, they feel scarce. They are interactive lists with a greater degree of interaction than the norm, but they are still not all that exciting. There are more puzzles, and they are a problem for me. A lot are very well done original games, which unfortunately had vague or confusing instructions. Others required 5 steps of the same mini-game to open the lock. And some were just plain difficult. And the worst of all, where to me it looked as though the puzzle was solved, even after resetting and doing it all again, the game insisted I hadn’t solved. And without a SG, no way of knowing why/how!

There is a journal, an interesting interactive jump map and directional hint to help you, and 3 degrees of difficulty to confound you.

There is also a magical monocle which can see the true nature of things, when all you see is some suspicious ectoplasmic like stuff or a bit of shimmering.

I did like the game. I am not as ecstatic about it as I was for the demo. The weird inconsistencies in story, the difficulty of the puzzles, detracted a bit from my enjoyment of it. But it is still a good game, worthy of an SE price.

I recommend this game!

Edited to add: monocle info - almost forgot!

Edited on 02/12/2014 at 6:04:40 AM PST

644 Posts

Re:Reviews For Haunted Train: Spirits of Charon

[Post New]by roaming on Mar 4, 14 9:58 PM
Horrible game. Ridiculous story. Too much back and forth. After catching the first villain way too easily, I quit. My advice is, leave Mary on the train.

Edited on 03/04/2014 at 9:58:44 PM PST

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