At last, the day has arrived. For a while there, I thought we’d never get the third and final act for Dakota Winchester’s Adventures, which stars an Indian Jones wannabe in search of three mystical rubies because…hold on, let me look this up. Right, these rubies are the keys to the even more mysterious Hilda’s box, which proclaims to contain the secret to eternal life. Anyways, I kept checking the Carmel Games website, but only saw that other brand new adventuring series were being started at a surprising and alarming rate. Thankfully, it is here, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Swoon. And I’m not disappointed, but only because I knew going in that I would, more likely than not, given my track record with these sorts of games, be disappointed.
I played the first two parts of Dakota Winchester’s Adventures way back in November 2014, nabbing two out of three rubies in preparation for the final victory. This third act kicks things off in the basement of some old mansion. Dakota Winchester is on the hunt for the final ruby, and he’ll have to solve puzzles involving fires, ropes, and hidden safe locks, as well as conversing with an old professor of his who does not think highly of him. See above. My favorite aspect of this character is that he himself is a wannabe, this time of Indiana Jones’ father, Henry Jones, Sr., played by the legendary Sean Connery. Look, we all can do terrible Sean Connery impressions, but that doesn’t mean we should or should have these impressions recorded and tossed into a point-and-click adventure game for many to hear. It’s potentially more cringe-worthy than when previous Carmel Games titles would obviously pitch up a man’s voice to portray a female character.
I found Dakota Winchester’s Adventures Part 3 to be a letdown from beginning to end, but maybe that’s because I built it up in my head to be a somewhat satisfying conclusion. Or at least provide closure so that I could feel like I finished a full thing. The puzzles are frustrating even though many of the solutions are obvious, and a few required brute forcing. There was also one scene that I didn’t realize provided an arrow to a second scene if you moused over to the left far enough, but I assumed that pathway didn’t exist because there was a chandelier on fire in the middle of the walkway, which looked like something our intrepid hero couldn’t get around. So that was frustrating to discover several minutes later. Also, one puzzle near the end is basically a round of rock, paper, scissors, which is strange and jarring and makes me think that the developer simply had access to this interface and decided to toss it in for kicks. I won on my first try.
Look, I’m going to spoil the last fifteen seconds of Dakota Winchester’s Adventures Part 3. If you can’t handle this, just cancel your Internet subscription and burn whatever device you are reading this on. I need to explain what a bait and switch this whole affair is. After doing all those puzzles, you finally gain hold of the special key that will open that locked treasure chest. Inside, as expected, is the third ruby. Dun dun dun. Dakota Winchester places each one into their respective sockets on Hilda’s box, which opens and is full of light, kind of like the Ark of the Covenant from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Anyways, Dakota says he can see some gold coins, as well as a map, and then…TO BE CONTINUED? pops up. Credits roll. Take note that it’s not TO BE CONTINUED with or without a period or even ellipses, but it has a question mark at the end, as if even the people making these have no clue what they are doing.
I recently read Javier Grill0-Marxuach’s will and testament about whether or not the writers of LOST were “making it up as they went.” It’s a fantastic examination of how nothing can be so simply said, laying out as much history as possible before it either fades or becomes exaggerated in one’s mind. That sometimes things come together conveniently, and other times you have to force it more than you like. Plus, mystery boxes. Even by the end, there’s no firm conclusion. That said, despite their very own literal mystery box, the developers behind Dakota Winchester’s Adventures Part 3 are definitely making all this up as they go. I guess they would; I mean, they want people to keep playing their games, and so they need those games to truly never conclude.
Okay, that was probably far too many words about Dakota Winchester’s Adventures. If you read them all, then bless your heart. You’re a good one. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for the fourth entry, though, knowing me and my ever-curious mind, I’ll probably check it out nonetheless and continue to be flabbergasted when the map leads you on another wild goose chase that ends with more carrots on strings. Now that I think about it, a great twist would be that Dakota Winchester spends so much time trying to find the secret to eternal youth that he passes away from old age in the sixty-fourth entry in the series.