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The Mystery of the Missing Princess

Reviewed by Rosemary Young (March, 2000)

mprinc.jpgIf ever there was one, this is a game for fairytale aficionados. It is aimed at children aged five to twelve and it's a bundle of fun with some delightful musical interludes; quirky, colourful graphics; excellent animations and a story that will raise a chuckle or two.

Princess Abigail is missing and with the help of Lucky the Duck and Muggins the Wizard the player is invited to join the King and Queen, Sir Longsword the Knight and Jonathan the Page on a wacky ride over hills and dales and through creepy castle dungeons to find her. Lucky the Duck does all the hard work, all the player needs to do is follow the story and listen for the clues. A mouse click when the cursor changes to an arrow will send Lucky scurrying around from place to place and a hand icon indicates an interactive element. Click when the hand appears and Lucky might discover an important object or it might trigger a cartoon sequence or other surprise.

Muggins with his long flowing beard is a great friend to have around. As well as featuring in the chase he appears in a flask at the bottom of the screen. A click on the flask and he will remind the player of the state of the game, how to use the interface and what object they should be looking for. When an object is required a small picture of it is displayed with just enough background information to give a big hint as to where it might be found.

There is a good assortment of objects to find to move the story along as well as a few arcade type sequences that should provide some thrills. Catapulting the characters into the castle tower should prove entertaining and crossing a flooded dungeon requires a good strategy and some quick thinking as well. Each time the game is played it changes randomly so there's also a good deal of replayability. Children can even deviate from the story to look around and join up again where they left off.

The Mystery of the Missing Princess is surely captivating. The controls are simple to use, especially the save-game feature. Because of the fairy tale nature of the story it likely won't suit 'grown-up' 12 year olds, but younger fairytale fans will have a lot of laughs although they might need to rely on older siblings to help out with the arcade sequences. It might have been better if the age range of the game had been narrowed because kids change a lot between five and twelve. This one is fun but the note from the King's mistress rather surprised me in the 'search for the ransom note' game. Inappropriate for 5 year olds, I thought. But the characters are great and I thoroughly approved of the plucky Queen who showed the men a thing or two.

Copyright © Rosemary Young 2000. All rights reserved.

System requirements:
Pentium PC, Win 95, 8MB RAM 1MB video RAM, DirectX compatible sound and SGVA video cards, 4x CD ROM

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