The Blackwell Legacy
by JOHN DAVIDSON | 11th March 2017
When I approach an older point and click adventure game I try to do so while being mindful that it was created in a different time. I expect to backtrack, I expect obtuse puzzle solutions, I expect to spend a while trying to combine different items to see what only the developer could. So, I tried to approach The Blackwell Legacy – a game originally released in 2006 – like this.
The Blackwell Legacy introduces Roseangela Blackwell, a freelance journalist, and her ghostly companion Joey Mallone. The pair embark on an investigation into the deaths of 3 young female students. I don’t know exactly why Joey is a ghost, why he is ‘attached’ to Roseangela or, indeed, how the game ends as I unfortunately did not get that far into it.
There are a few reasons for that, but firstly, I’d like to mention what I did like about the game.
It has a nice art-style, the characters – from the main pair through the supporting roles – look unique and the game world they inhabit feels contiguous and detailed. The music (I was playing the 2012 Steam re-release) is really good, although sometimes it doesn’t gel very well with the room or situation you are in. The voice acting is generally polished, I believe the lines for Roseangela were re-recorded for this version of the game and they are a step up in quality over the other voiced characters.
I did find some of the lines, especially those delivered by Joey, to be a little odd at times. While the writing in general is fine, a number of Joey’s lines did not work for me. There are attempts at humour and some fourth wall breaking comments that I’m sure would have worked better on players in 2006.
On the plot front you start out being asked to investigate and report on an apparent suicide, but I did not find there to be motivation to dig deeper. There wasn’t a strong enough connection developed between me, the main characters or the victims. It really felt like the idea of there being ghosts came first and then scenarios were built around this concept, but in as far as I got the story being told was not that compelling.
What ultimately cut short my time with the game were numerous crashes to desktop while accessing the menus. The game does auto-save but I did have to repeat content a few times and I wasn’t finding it compelling enough to keep repeating. The crashes seemed to happen when comparing notes to find new threads to investigate, a system that would have worked well had it not been for the bug I was running into.
There are reasons to give this game a chance and I think it may provide a solid foundation for the later games in the series. Perhaps one day I will discover what it’s legacy was.