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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

GOD Games

 

Developer

Ritual Entertainment

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q3 2000

 

 

- Target enemies!

- Graphics are very good

- Forest is easier to navigate than the previous two games

- The origin of that nasty Blair Witch is fleshed out

- Assume the role of a witch hunter

- Melee weapon kicks ass

- Different modes of play

- Fun spell effects

- Hilarious dialogue

- Another game for Blair Witch fanatics

 

 

- The forest just wonít go away!

- No lip synch

- Strange bugs

- No character development

 

 

Review: Blair Witch Volume 1: Rustin Parr (PC)

Review: Resident Evil Zero (Gamecube)

Review: Resident Evil (Gamecube)

 

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Blair Witch Volume 3:

The Elly Kedward Tale

Score: 7.2 / 10

Players assume the role of Jonathan Prye, witch hunter, who travels to Blair Township to investigate the reports of that nasty Blair Witch, Elly Kedward, sacrificing children and raising the dead. For those keeping track, this is the third game in the Blair Witch trilogy. It covers the genesis of the Blair Witch legend in all its goriness.

elly_kedward-a.jpg (8801 bytes)          elly_kedward-b.jpg (8244 bytes)

There is a lot wrong with Blair Witch 3: The Elly Kedward Tale (EKT). The most obvious is that Prye runs and walks as if heís just spent the last 15 hours on the back of a galloping horse then, unable to find an outhouse, crapped himself. He can walk backwards faster than he can walk forward. He also has the "power" to float six inches above stairs and balance on the tip of a candle. Occasionally he will demonstrate his dancing prowess during cutscenes by spinning around and around, all the while spouting dialogue through lips that never move! That being said, EKT is more fun to play that the previous Blair Witch games.

The forest is still present and a lot of time is spent running through it, but, thanks to some more conventional camera angles, is easier to navigate. (But one camera angle at the entry to the forest will have you walking back into town instead of the forest.) Most of the paths are straight, branching off in forks that also run in straight lines, much easier than the twisted paths found in Rustin Parr. This can be said of the rest of the environment as well, although there are a few "switch centrals" where Prye travels five feet and the camera switches four times. There are lots of undead creatures and demons to fight. Unlike the other two games, combat is friendly. No longer must you fire blindly, hoping that your shots are making contact. The targeting system is no longer a single red dot. When the crosshairs cross a "live" target that target is highlighted. And you can even lock onto targets!

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Read the manual! Since thereís no tutorial mode this is one time you should familiarize yourself with the written documentation. Be sure to adjust the gamma settings. EKT is a very dark game and the highlighted target is sometimes hard to see. Making things a little brighter canít be considered cheating.

The arsenal this time out consists of ranged weapons (a flintlock that never needs to be 

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reloaded!), magical weapons and a great melee weapon in the form of a bladed cross. Combat itself is straightforward: kill them before they kill you. The forest is littered with brain dead zombies. Most will run in circles around Prye without ever stopping to attack. A few quick chops with the cross is all thatís needed. Like Jedi Knight, I found myself using the melee weapon more than anything else and always had enough ammo for really tough fights. In a nod to console games, when a zombie is defeated they leave behind items such as ammo for Pryeís guns, health packets and mana vials to replenish his spell power.

As the game progresses Prye gains access to more "spells" to cast. The first such spell is a freeze blast that immobilizes enemies for a short time. Then thereís the fire cross, kind of an 18th Century flame-thrower, which will burn those baddies up quick. There isnít really an uber spell, no Quake-like rocket launcher, that gives you license to walk through the game like a god. Spells are easy to cast, activated exactly like the conventional weapons in Pryeís inventory.

One of the biggest gripes is that characters arenít developed. When Jonathan gets wasted by zombies, who cares? We donít know anything about him, except the bare minimum to get the game started. His interaction with others doesnít clear up the matter either. The same goes for all the other characters found in the game. There are only a handful of characters to interact with (all covered in the manual) and none of them come close to achieving a full character. Their responses are never out of character because thereís no character to get out of in the first place. They are just there, taking up space, telling you to get specific items or go places. Itís a far cry from the last time I got to play a witch hunter in the Gabriel Knight series. And the characters havenít been given animated mouths! (Cutscenes are arranged so that the mouths are rarely in view.)

The graphics and sound are superb. Like itís predecessors, EKT uses the Nocturne engine, but, as mentioned before, has managed to cut down on the confusing camera angles. Especially effective are the ghost footsteps in the forest. Prye wears a long coat, offering yet another chance to have a nice flowing effect. Nice touches are the puffs of air visible about every three second as characters breathe out. Itís winter afterall and it would have been a glaring omission. Of course, that doesnít explain why Pyre goes around with his coat open.

More action than adventure, Blair Witch 3: The Elly Kedward Tale, isnít as polished as the first two games but itís way more fun to play. The ability to target and lock on a specific enemy scores a lot of points, as do the graphics and sound design. Itís not as freaky as Rustin Parr or Coffin Rock and the spell combat doesnít really add a whole lot to gameplay (except eye-candy), but EKT is arguably the best of the series since the forest is easier to navigate and it doesnít put combat on par with having your fingernails ripped out.

- Omni

 

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