Fear for Sale: Mystery of McInroy Manor PC CD
Published by Focus Multimedia
Developed by Elefun Games
In Fear for Sale: Mystery of McInroy Manor you'll get to step into the shoes of journalist Emma Roberts. She has been sent to what is rumoured to be a haunted manor, once lived in by the McInroy family, to do an article for the Fear for Sale magazine. The McInroy estate has been locked up for several years but thanks to the persistence of Emma's editor, and a generous cash donation, it has been opened up to allow Emma to explore and attempt to found out what happened to cause the demise of the McInroy family and what the "evil presence" is that has bound their spirits to the estate for so long.
Fear for Sale is a hidden object adventure game that doesn't really differentiate itself from the bulk of the games in the genre. The gameplay is a mix of standard hidden object challenges, where you have to find an assortment of items that appear on the list that you have, and puzzles. On completing the standard hidden object challenges you'll end up with an item that's added to your inventory. In some locations you'll simply collect items to add to your inventory. All of the items you obtain have a specific purpose. For instance if you need to smash a car headlight to get its bulb, you can't simply use the crowbar you have in your inventory and you must find the exact object to do the job. This inflexibility is, at times, quite annoying and seems to needlessly allow some frustration to creep in.
There are a variety of puzzles to solve in Fear for Sale. I'm all for more traditional adventure game puzzles being included in hidden object adventures as they offer a welcome change of pace but it's a shame that most of the puzzles are simply to get you through the game's many locked doors (there are far too many locked doors here to be perfectly honest). The puzzles aren't bad but there isn't anything here you won't have seen before and that's a little disappointing.
The game's storyline may feel familiar to those who have played a decent amount of hidden object adventure games and it's only fair to comment that it's certainly far from being an original storyline. However, I have to say that I found the storyline to be enjoyable and more than good enough for a game of this kind. The bulk of the storyline won't appear in front of your eyes however. To access the full storyline you'll have to access the game's journal. Thankfully the journal sparkles when new content has been added. In some respects I found having to access the journal to check up on the storyline developments a little tedious. However, there are many out there who don't like a lot of storyline to get in the way of the puzzles and this method of delivering the storyline feels like the best compromise.
A collection of achievements have been included to offer you some additional challenges. In total there are eight achievements. Deadline Met! is for those who like to speed their way through the game and requires that you complete it in less than five hours. Editor-in-Chief requires that you complete all of the puzzles without skipping any. Field Reporter can be earned by completing the game without using a hint in any of the quest scenes. If you find all of the Resurrection Machines you'll earn the achievement of the same. Lead Writer is for those who complete all of the hidden object scenes without using a hint. If you complete all of the hidden object scenes without any wrong clicks you'll earn The Natural achievement. For completing your investigation you'll be awarded Stop the Presses! and finally for unlocking everything, you'll earn the title of Game Expert.
As with most hidden object games, the game's presentation is good although quite simplistic by today's standards. Graphically the game won't challenge any modern PC with the requirements being simply a 1GHz CPU and a DirectX 9 compatible GPU. Despite the low requirements, the game looks good enough and the visual effects for the ghosts and the general ambience of the game is quite impressive. The dialogue in the game is text only meaning deaf gamers should have no problems with the puzzles in the game. There are optional, text-only tutorial messages if you need them, although these are only needed if this is the first hidden object game that you're playing. When working your way to an achievement, you're notified in text how much of that achievement you've completed. For instance when you complete a puzzle without skipping it you've given the percentage completed for the Editor-in-Chief achievement.
In essence then Fear for Sale: Mystery of McInroy Manor is a solid hidden object adventure game. It doesn't bring anything to the genre that you won't have seen before if you're a fan of the genre but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, what the game does it does well. It may be short on originality but every aspect of the game is solid and most will be content with what the game offers.