Imagine if Ron Howard had cast Rob Schneider instead of Tom Hanks as the lead in The Da Vinci Code (and then let him write his own lines) and you%26rsquo;ll understand one of the biggest problems with Belief %26amp; Betrayal, a new adventure game from Italian developer Artemica Entertainment.
Although the game delivers a compelling story about Vatican secrets, murder, and conspiracy with clever plot twists and (mostly) solid voice acting, the hero is so perpetually irritating that by the second act, you%26rsquo;ll want to bludgeon him with the nearest crucifix. That character is American journalist Jonathan Danter, a leering smartass with the intellect of a 12 year-old and the voice of a shrill amateur who travels from New York to England, France, and Italy to uncover the truth behind his beloved uncle%26rsquo;s death. It turns out Uncle Frank was an agent for the Vatican Secret Service who fell afoul of some shady ecclesiastical characters ripped straight from a Dan Brown novel. Danter eventually hooks up with a pair of British allies (you get to play as the Brits in a couple of the middle chapters) who assist him in his quest as he investigates dozens of locales, solves various mechanical puzzles, and collects enough inventory items to fill a small steamer chest.
Unfortunately, this implementation of point-and-click game mechanics sometimes requires an inordinate amount of extra mouse clicks, and some clumsily implemented inventory-combining challenges and an overabundance of expository dialogue slow things to a crawl just as the story starts getting good. These design flaws - along with some pedestrian puzzles and those aforementioned protagonist miscues - ultimately turn Belief %26amp; Betrayal into a serviceable but largely forgettable European church tour.
Jul 28, 2008