‘Rings’ packs puzzles
Hobbits aren’t the only folks entrusted with powerful rings.
In “The Sacred Rings,” Umang awakens to find himself carrying special rings that are said to give their owner great power and immortality. The bands need to be returned to the Keepers, the only ones who can be trusted to keep them safe. Unfortunately, a rival clan led by the evil Durad is interested in the rings, and he’s on Umang’s trail.
“The Sacred Rings” is a puzzle-filled PC game created by the Adventure Company as a sequel to “Aura: Fate of the Ages.” Those who haven’t completed the first game get a brief introduction in the opening scenes of “Rings.”
Gamers play as Umang, who is transported to a strange land and awakens near an odd structure that turns out to be a vehicle. He soon meets the vehicle’s owner, an utter moron who highlights one of the game’s few flaws: uneven dialogue.
The game is set in a world that combines the medieval and the mechanical with interesting results. Umang must travel No-Man’s Land, Manula Valley and the Keeper’s Land, encountering numerous characters and solving various puzzles.
Since “Rings” is a first-person puzzle- solving game, comparisons with the “Myst” series are inevitable. Fortunately, it stacks up pretty well.
Of course the heart of the game is the puzzles. These tend to require enough thought and experimentation to make them challenging and interesting. Some can get a bit frustrating, but there are few of the precision-oriented brain-benders that can make portions of the “Myst” series incredibly tedious.
The interface is simple: point and click to move, pick up items or manipulate controls. Umang moves around one screen at a time, just like in the protagonist in the classic “Myst” games.
This one-step-at-a-time movement system permits graphics that are sharp and highly creative. The worn machinery and twisted landscapes compare well with those in the “Myst” games — and are superior to those in “Uruh” and “End of Ages,” which sacrificed lush graphics for the ability to roam freely about the scenery.
Aside from the dialogue, the game’s only other weak point is its music. Although it’s generally good, it doesn’t always feel like an organic part of the surroundings.
However, those are quibbles. Overall, “The Sacred Rings” delivers where it counts: intriguing puzzles and fun.
On the Web: www.thesacredringsgame.com.