|Here a part of the story of our game
"Necronomicon" takes place in the year 1927. It all starts with a strange visit
of Edgar Wycherley at his friend, the student William Stanton our hero. Edgar hands
over a small pyramid with strange characters on it and asks William, not to hand over this
object to anyone else including himself. After that Edgar's physician, Dr. Egleton
appears, to tell William about Edgar's psychic changes and asks him to look after his
friend. William Stanton sets out to find out about Edgar's changes and gets involved
deeper and deeper into occult happenings, which point to an unearthly power from the past
moving into the present trying to gain control over his friend and perhaps the whole
mankind. William searches for information in the nearby fishing village Pawtuxet and must
spend all his skills and abilities, to interpret encoded hints and combine this
information to a whole. Necronomicon consists of two CDROMs that come with the manual in a
normal Eurobox. The subtitle on this box "after a novel by H. P. Lovecraft"
suggests that Lovecraft wrote a book with this title, but according to my knowledge this
is not right however. I think the book of the dead, "Necronomicon", was not a
title of a novel but contents and topic in his short stories.
The game is installed very easy and takes approximately only 10 MB on
the fixed disk. Like its predecessors it is played almost exclusively from CD. Even if you
are already playing from the 2nd CD, you have to insert CD1 first with each start.
Caution: if someone should click a bit too fast on the menu
options created under Windows and selects the deinstallation by mistake, then there is no
jumping back and not even a question like "Are you really sure?" appears - the
game with all savegames is deleted within seconds without preliminary warning. This
happened to me when I arrived at the "Bungalow" and so I had to start over
again. However the playing time up to the point you left the game could be quite reduced,
because you could abort the video sequences with the spacebar (all conversations are such
sequences). In other ways the game is also easy to navigate, like its predecessors: with
moving your mouse you also move William's view flowingly in all directions - it's a game
in first person perspective - what means from the perspective of the main character, whom
you can only watch during the intermediate video clips. Actions will be carried out by
clicking the left mouse button. Depending on how the cursor icon changes, you can change
your walking direction, talk with people, combine objects or take objects a.s.o.. A click
on the right mouse button will open the inventory screen, which is a circular area like in
the two Dracula games before. If you drive your mouse over an icon it will be shown
magnified in the centre of the inventory circle. But differently to Dracula 1 and 2 there
are 3 more inventory departments: A general map, with which one can transport oneself fast
from place to place, a bookshelf where you can store important manuscripts, letter or
books for renewed reading and (only at a later point in the game) a suit-case with
ingredients. You can find locations or hotspots to interact with by moving your mouse over
them. If you have to combine an object from inventory with an object on the screen, a
coloured icon frame shows if that is possible or not. The escape-key calls the main menu,
where you can save (or load) up to 8 savegames or can exit the game. These informations
are also described within the short manual and you dont have to know more about that
to start with the game.
the beginning you keep gathering lots of information, walking around, examining everything
and so get an impression of the surroundings and the people you have to deal with. The
difficulty level at the beginning you confidently can call foolproof, you only have to
question people in the right order.
you can become familiar with the controls, the environment and using the map. But near the
end of the first CD the difficulty level of the puzzles rises suddenly to very difficult.
You cant renounce to make notes and sketches to go on with the following combination
puzzles. Besides this there are some acustic hints. You really have to prick up your ears
otherwise you will miss important statements. Towards the end of the game you have to
master some mazes to go on, one of them is timed within 2 minutes. The puzzle at the end
of the last maze also is timed and in addition you cant save the game at this point.
This means, that when you havnt saved the game at the right point you have to go
through the maze again and again if you want to watch the final video sequence. I think
the number of mazes at the end is showing that the developers only want to legthen the
game (but not the fun!). I dont mind one labyrinth, but this kind of stringed mazes
drives the gamer into tediousness or frustration and shows that the developers worked
under time pressure or a massive lack of ideas.
you take each maze separately, they are not so hard to finish (for example the way through
the timed maze is controlled by the gamers own first inputs) but the mazes are strongly
ruining the gaming fun. Not much fun either is trying to solve illogical puzzles: In the
subterranean laboratory I missed hints, out of which ingredients a certain fluid should be
created (you have to try them all). Also not very logical was to find the day of the week
which opens the door down there. Of course you could try each day of the week there
are only seven, and this doesnt even takes much time, but I was missing the hidden
hint and logical explanation here. In Dracula 1 and 2 you find logical and imaginative
puzzles throughout the games, for example by combining objects within inventory. In
Necronomicon you primarily have to find your next place of action and execute an action or
find/use an object there.
you are able to interpret the written material or statements of persons, you can indeed
shorten the playing time, besides you will take in a lot of useless information as you
will recognize at the end.
with other game characters are lead automatically within videoclips. During some scenes
you really have to prick up your ears to understand the low and somewhat indistinct voice
acting (in the german version). It can happen that you miss some important facts by this.
The selfcomplacent and a bit english sounding synchronization of Dr. Egleton fits the
character on the one hand but on the other hand it adds suspense to the game like a
sleeping pill. Against that synchronization and acting of main character William Stanton
and his friend Edgar have lively effects and are building up suspense. Strange and a bit
disturbing with all voice actors I noticed, that they pronounced the name of the city
Providence in a nasal french way (Prowidons), though its an
I also noticed a logical error within the dialogue text: After Stantons first
meeting with Edgar in Edgars house, he tells the doctor, that Edgar didnt
recognize him and called him Mister. But as a matter of fact that actually happens in the
second meeting between the two! Nothing what really matters but also nothing I would give
a plus point.
In some of the video sequences at the beginning of the game my characters
were lacking their teeth. Although the developers tried to reach lip synchronicity, this
was a bit irritating. In all the videosequences make the game a more vivid spectacle and I
wished there were more. The 3D-graphics were brilliant (like in the predecessors) and it
was really fun to move and examine everything within the splendid designed locations.
Imaginative and at the same time part of a puzzle was the kind of movement in the
The fishing village Pawtuxet shows
an abandoned, rejecting and dark atmosphere supported by excellent soundeffects. It
reminded me of the village Illsmouth from "Shadow of the Comet". In contrast
with Pawtuxet Illsmouth was designed in bright, shining colours and Im still
reflecting, which of the two presentations may rather do justice to H. P. Lovecraft, who
wanted to create the horror hiding behind the normal facades.
There are no music themes but only pure
soundeffects, very much matching, suspenseful and never disturbing. The subtitle
Dawning of Darkness is really taken by its word. During parts of the game you
not only keep bringing light into puzzles but also in fact on the screen. To enter nearly
black rooms costs an effort and if you get attacked by monsters from the deep, your breath
comes to an standstill. Nevertheless here I have to say the same as with the mazes: too
much can be boring or frustrating. Wouldnt someone in a dark laboratory first switch
on the light to look around instead of tapping around especially when you own a lighter?
Well for vindication I have to say that making light is part of some puzzles,
William Stanton has to solve.
I have to mention that there are some possibilities of a
game-over screen within Necronomicon. Therefore you should save your game from time to
time, not to replay long sequences. But there are no action sequences as in Dracula 2.
After Dracula The Last Sanctuary I hoped for a gradation in
Necronomicon. A little allusion on Dracula with the monk Barrabas and Transylvania could
be found in a letter in Necronomicon. Unfortunately Necronomicon doesnt reach
Dracula if you look at story and suspense and after the first-rate end sequence of Dracula
I expected something like that here too. There are some parts of the game building up
suspense but it couldnt be hold and drifted away. At some places the gamer is really
surprised and sometimes frightened, but its too little to keep it the whole story. Through
the sudden changing difficulty level of the puzzles the game looses homogenity and at at
last you are under the impression that the developers were finally lacking time and
strength to design a real climax. Im sorry about that! There could have been made
much more out of it!
The quoted gaming length of 30 hours seems to be right more or less.
I needed around 26 hours to complete the game, including the replaying time after deleting
the game by mistake. Less experienced gamers may need 35 hours (without walkthrough) I
estimate. A give a total rating of 68% for Necronomicon (satisfactory), cuts because of
lacking suspense and the filler-mazes. Necronomicon is not an outstanding adventure game
but because of easy handling, beautiful graphics and sometimes challenging puzzles I
wouldnt advice someone against it but if you expect something similar or
better than Dracula you will be disappointed.
In autumn we can await Loch Ness,
Wanadoos next mystery game. It will be interesting how this game will fit into the
series of Wanadoo-mystery-adventures.
Ages 12 and up
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be
recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your
fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements
- Pentium 166 Mhz (recommended Pentium 200 Mhz)
- 16 MB RAM (32 MB RAM with Windows 98)
- Graphic card HighColor
- 16-bit soundcard
- 4x CD-ROM-drive (8x recommended)
- Windows 95 or 98
- Windows 95
- Pentium II 233 Mhz
- 64 MB RAM
Here you can save your game
What is happening to Edgar?
Searching for the "Gate"
Entrance to the underworld?
What do these buttons mean?