Tag Archives: Dakota Winchester

Dakota Winchester does indeed anticlimactically find the third ruby

dakota win 3 capture

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.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #13 – Dakota Winchester’s Adventures Part 3

2016 games completed gd dakota win 3

Near the last ruby
Meh puzzles, naturally
To be continued

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

Dakota Winchester’s Adventures are everything save adventurous

dakota winchest this doesn't work capture

Over the years, I’ve occasionally dabbled in a few “mouse only” point-and-click adventure games from the people at Carmel Games, namely Habla Kadabla and a few others that I never got around to writing about. They all share a very similar style, both in terms of art, humor, and puzzles, and while none so far have been anything to drop one’s jaw at, they can periodically be enjoyable and an okay way to kill thirty minutes. Not amazingly great, not terribly offensive–just these strange, small adventure titles that ask you only to click and exist in what I imagine as some kind of shared universe, where everyone stands stiffly forward, eyes wide open, voiced by one singular, ultimate power.

So, why’d I pick the subject of today’s blog post to experience? It had to be that Dakota Winchester is clearly trying to ape Indiana Jones, and any time that happens I just have to see how it goes. I mean, Indiana Jones, at least for me, made archeology exhilarating and cool, rife with danger and discovery. And before you weigh in on the current state of Doctor Jones, no, I’ve not seen (and probably won’t ever see) Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, though I did play the LEGO videogame based on the film, which wasn’t terrible. Mostly due to LEGO figs.

Anyways, in the first leg of this episodic journey, intrepid Dakota Winchester travels to some island via Gustavo Cruises in hope of solving the mystery behind Hilda’s box, which is rumored to contain the secret of eternal life. However, in order to open it, he first has to find three unique rubies scattered across the globe. To do this, you speak with people, collect items, and use items on other items/people to make things happen. The main goal here is that Winchester needs to find two rings to open up a temple door, and it’s all straightforward stuff until the final puzzle, where I wasted at least five minutes not realizing there were additional layers on the rotating ring that could be moved. The “To Be Continued…” screen popped up after 21 minutes.

The second episode has a much fuller title of Dakota Winchester’s Adventures Part 2: Cactus City. That means the first episode should probably have been called something like Part 1: Gustavo Cruises or Part 1: Temple of Ring Doom. I don’t know. I’m a stickler for consistency. Anyways, this one only took me 12 minutes to find the second of three plot-vital rubies, and the gameplay structure remains the same. However, there’s one part where you need to find a pickaxe through a bunch of steps to hit a rock in a mine, but if you look in the background art for that very same mine…you’ll see a pickaxe inside a cart. Naturally, you can’t simply click on that one; a strange shortcoming.

According to the credits, James Kaylor handled the voiceover work. All of it. Yes, even the female characters, which you can hear instantly as a man trying to pitch his voice higher to speak like one of those newfangled women in their super screechy tinny talk. I can understand the difficulties in finding additional actors to help record lines, but maybe the better idea is to have it be text-only, which could use a fair shake of copyediting. Sure, you can turn the audio off, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the fact that it sounds extremely amateurish and is there from the start. Some of the music from the first two episodes comes from Kevin MacCleod–remember that awesome soundtrack from 400 Years?–so that’s at least pleasant to absorb. The background art is pretty good, too.

I have to assume there will be a third episode down the line to unearth the third ruby and see what’s ultimately inside Hilda’s box. I don’t suggest anyone play to see what happens, but I’m now at least curious enough to want to know. Maybe sooner than later I should actually play the Indiana Jones point-and-click adventure game in my collection. Y’know, the one called Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Hmm. We’ll see.