Go back to The Mystery of the Druids

Written by: Rik

Date posted: January 1, 2010

After a few hours with The Mystery of the Druids, even the most charitable of gamers might be inclined to comment that one or two things to do with the setting and the script seem slightly ‘off’.

For once, this isn’t just me having a go at the standard of acting, or pointing out dodgy accents in a game, although it does have to be said that some of the accents are on the iffy side. Although most of the characters are English, it seems likely that the majority of the voice cast are German. Most of the major players only make minor slips, but the librarian at Oxford library, for example, sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes, I know he’s Austrian).

Things take a bizarre turn when you arrive in France, where you encounter a local fisherman who boasts, without doubt, the best English accent in the game (he sounds like Sean Pertwee). Wherever the text of the dialogue says “mon ami” (which is how people in France talk, you know), he says “my friend” in his best cock-er-ney accent. It’s very odd.

Brent himself sounds reasonably authentic, with one strange slip – when he pronounces the word “pizza” it comes out as “pit-zer”. This wouldn’t be so noticeable if the developers hadn’t picked a partiality to pizza as one of the things to make our hero stand out as an ‘interesting’ character (why they did this, God only knows). And this is where the strange stuff really starts.

Walk into your office and you’ll notice a couple of pizza boxes on the floor. Examine one and Brent will inform you that, “Al’s Pit-zer Palace makes the best Pit-zer in the whole of London.” Later, you find a message on your answering machine at work from Al’s Pit-zer Palace, informing Brent that he has an overdue account (!) and that unless he pays off the balance of £275 (!!) they will refuse to sell him any more pit-zers.

One wonders why Brent hasn’t been able to afford the £15 a time it costs to purchase a pit-zer – and, indeed, why Al’s Pit-zer Palace has allowed him to eat the best part of twenty pit-zers before asking him for some money. Worryingly, despite having a number of messages on his office phone, Brent can’t use it to call anyone back. Fellow detective Lowry informs us that Brent’s phone has been cut off as his regular usage has been deemed excessive. “Where do you keep making all to? The Caribbean?” chides Lowry. “I don’t think that’s got anything to do with you, Lowry,” responds Brent.

Hmm…evasive. What kind of financial mismanagement leaves a man, a police officer no less, unable to pay for food or use his office telephone? What kind of shady past is this man hiding? Sadly, we never find out [because there isn’t one, it’s just clumsy, badly translated writing mixed in with the usual obstacles you find in adventure games – FFG reader].

It seems Brent doesn’t have much luck with the ladies, either. Lowry boasts how he has managed to woo Janet, the humourless database manager, out on a date, because she “prefers to go out with a man who doesn’t dress in rags dragged out of rubbish bins or eats the same pizza every day.” Ouch.

You can hardly blame Lowry for having a dig, though, seeing as every bit of Brent’s dialogue with him seems designed to provoke him in some way. Clearly, there’s meant to be a bit of needle between the two, but the awkward script gives it an added edge of the uncomfortable. You half expect Lowry to leap out of his chair and enter into some kind of physical confrontation (or loving embrace) with Brent to at least diffuse the tension but this, sadly, never happens.

Brent does have some success with the female anthropologist from the Museum of Oxford, who clearly takes a shine to him. It’s not exactly clear why, though, because Brent spends the first half of the game calling her ‘Ms. Turner’ before suddenly, and at the least appropriate moment (when, we are told, there is no time to waste) questioning her at length about her romantic and personal life. Clearly, she likes a man with a flair for stilted and awkward conversation.