Black Sect Remake

Black Sect was an old school first-person adventure in which you searched a quaint village to recover a scared grimore before the titular evil cult decided to make you their next sacrifice. The original was a lovely looking game, but unbeatable for many due to its notorious design: a constantly ticking clock, numerous unwinnable states, instadeaths, and a limited inventory were only some of the elements that scared away many would be cultbusters.

blacksect_title

Luckily, this remake has put the modern touch, streamlining the interface and making the game now accessible to sane people. Now anyone can enjoy infiltrating a mad cult from the comfort of your own home!

Black Sect probably didn’t receive as much attention as it otherwise could have gained, when it first came out in the early 1990s. The unwinnable states alone can make the game difficult but that wasn’t all. Oh no. The original had a time limit that counted down constantly and required you to be ,at certain places at the right time. This is further complicated by a panel of 20 different actions (with no labels), oh and no hotspots on the screen. At all. Hope you liked blind pixel hunting and lots of clicking! This wasn’t enough, of course – to kick you while you’re down the game also limited you to five save slots and five inventory slots. Then, for a final kick to the nether regions the game threw in a bunch of random instadeaths. Because why not.

Luckily, the remake does away with these and greatly streamlines and simplifies gameplay. The clock now only moves forward when you complete key actions – basically eliminating unwinnable states (there is technically one left, but the game just instantly kills and returns you to the previous step, instead of drawing it out). The interactions now only comprise of 2 different actions – look and interact. It’s probably a bit extreme – and I’ll admit that does ‘dumb down’ the adventure a bit.. but it’s certainly a lot more efficient and a lot less frustrating. The original game did at least sport a fine example of what excellent pixel graphics of the era could do, and while the remake adds and modifies a few bits, thankfully it doesn’t meddle with this aspect of the game.

blacksect_1

The game itself is a fairly simple first person point and click adventure, rather than the variety that has your character walking around the screen. Exploration is quick and easy – left/right click on things to examine or interact, and click on arrows to the sides of the area to move to the next. The puzzles for the most part are not too obtuse or complex and generally require finding the appropriate item to open something (or a code to help you open something). The only puzzle that gave me some trouble was a situation where you need to use a sieve in the river to find some gold. The game tells you to look in other parts of the river but it wasn’t clear where exactly to search. To save you the hassle, search in the same screen you find the sieve, and keep trying various parts of that screen – eventually the game will give you a hint when you are getting warmer.

All in all, the game is quite short and there isn’t really a whole lot of depth to it. An experienced adventurer could possibly finish it in one sitting. It probably wasn’t worth putting up with all the imposed mechanics of the original – but the streamlined remake makes the balance right – it’s much easier to soak in the excellent pixel art and first person adventuring and wrap things up in due time.

Black Sect Remake

Download: http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/site/games/game/1578/

Original game: Abandonia 

*Note: the remake download page mentions a walkthrough, unfortunately the link is dead. However I have finished the game so if you’re stuck, feel free to post in the comments section and I’ll help you out 😉

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About J.C

I grew up in the dark dingy arcades of the 1980s, blasting heads with Robocop 2, but grew up in an era that spanned the introduction of the x86 home computer, through to the 16-bit revolution, into the polygon age and beyond. I write about food, travel and of course, New Retro Games. I started newretrogames.wordpress.com and contribute to www.thecitylane.com. I am also a freelance business researcher, writer, and editor having published academic and corporate articles on innovation and intellectual property.

Posted on October 5, 2015, in Adventure and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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