Diamon Jones: Eye of the Dragon
First posted on 01 November 2013. Last updated on 01 November 2013.
The game is available at GamersGate.
Diamon Jones: Eye of the Dragon is the second game in the Diamon Jones series. Like Diamon Jones: Amulet of the World that precedes it, the game is developed by Russian developer Litera Laboratories and later ported to English from the Russian original.
As in the previous game of the series, this game is a classic third-person, point-and-click causal adventure hybrid. You play as the protagonist and supposedly renowned archaeologist Diamon Jones (no relation to Indiana Jones, of course). You also get to play as Diamon's colleague and damsel in distress Mary Ocean. Together, the duo searches for an ancient burial vault of a long deceased Chinese emperor, seeking out a powerful and ancient artifact.
Set in the 1930s, Diamon finds himself in Shanghai in China this time around. He has just lost his job as a janitor in a museum and is commiserating in a local tavern. Broke as usual, he cannot even afford a drink. Win-Dou, the bartender, offers Diamon a drink, but only if Diamon can steal a very valuable seal from his brother, Yung-Ix. Not surprisingly, Diamon soon discovers that the seal is a link to a more valuable treasure called Eye of the Dragon—supposedly buried in the fabled Lost City, somewhere in China. However, Diamon is the not only person who knows of this secret. World dignitaries of the time, (Enrico) Caruso and (Al) Capone, are also after the omnipotent artifact.
Installation of the game is glitch free. The game does not include a game manual. From the Main Menu, you can choose from New Game, Save Game, Load Game, Options, Credits, Quit, Resume, Mini-Games, and Inventory. Under Options, you can adjust screen resolutions, volumetric shadows (on or off), brightness, and volume control for both sound and music. There is no option to toggle subtitles. For some inexplicable reason, I cannot select Mini-Games from the Main Menu, either before or after playing them in the game proper.
The game begins with a cinematic cut scene showing brothers Win-Dou and Yung-Ix excavating the ruins of the Lost City. After discovering a mystical seal, the feuding brothers begin fighting with each other for the artifact. Yung-Ix wins the fight and heads back to Shanghai, with Win-Dou bounded in ropes and dumped in a wheelbarrow. Once freed, Win-Dou is determined to wat the seal for himself and seeks out Diamon to steal it back for him.
Controls for this game are straightforward and nearly identical to the previous game in the series. Different cursors are used to converse with other characters, to look at or select or use objects, and to navigate around the environment. The game can be played entirely using only the mouse. Right-clicking brings up the inventory. Double left-clicking makes your character run. Additionally, the inventory includes a Quest Log that glows whenever any new information is added to it. This log also keeps a list of all of the tasks that you must perform in order to progress in the game.
You can die in some of the puzzles and mini-games, in which case you are taken back to where before you die. There is no ability to skip any of the puzzles. The game now supports 20 (instead of 10 as in the previous game) save game slots. It is advisable to use all of these slots to save at strategic points in the game, especially just prior to starting a mini-game or puzzle. Failing to do so means that you may need to replay lengthy parts of the game again if you fail.
The plot in Diamon Jones: Eye of the Dragon is far from original. In fact, it is a near replica of that in Diamon Jones: Amulet of the World but set in a different country with different characters. The game takes place at Shanghai, the Lost City, and Chicago. Many of the locations are quite colorful and exotic looking. Notwithstanding a few illogical premises that remain unexplained, the plot flows quite smoothly throughout the game. There are some 25 characters to meet and interact with. Many of the Chinese characters having pun like names such as Ju-Ly, Pu Tin Jail, and Wat Mi Sai. Unlike the previous game, the deliberate satirical dialog in this game brings quite a few chuckles.
The graphics make use of highly stylized art and look magnificent. The details of many scenes are immaculate, with plenty of background animations to make the scenes come alive. The characters are cartoonish or caricature like, befitting the visual style of the game. Compared to the previous game, the characters in this game are better animated.
Sound effects are well done and play in sync with the events that produce them. Ambient background music is present throughout the game. It varies from stringed instrumentals to mystical interludes to even light jazz. The numerous scores and variations avoid any monotonous repetition.
The game includes some 19 mini-games and 5 major puzzles. Some of the puzzles can be frustrating to solve. A couple of the solutions are particularly difficult to get. Even so, a seasoned adventure fan will not have too much trouble solving this game. The puzzles vary from a timed wiring electrical circuit to shooting down the enemy in a fighter plane to playing chess and mahjong to fighting a ninja warrior, among others. Some puzzles are hidden object games. It is essential to check out every frame, pixel by pixel, to find these hidden objects. There are some 108 objects to be located for use in the inventory.
Voiceovers are featured in only cut scenes but not elsewhere. Dropdown dialog boxes appear at the bottom of the screen. Although the translated dialog still suffers from some grammatical errors, it is a huge improvement compared to the abysmal translation in the previous game.
The game is very linear, in that you cannot progress without having completed all of the prerequisite tasks. Some objects cannot be picked up until you have triggered certain events in the game that then allows them to be taken.
In sum, Diamon Jones: Eye of the Dragon is a big improvement over Diamon Jones: Amulet of the World. The story is more humorous, the graphics are better, and the puzzles are more varied and enjoyable. For a game that offers up to 20 hours of play time, this is a surprise bargain for a budget game title. I recommend this game to all casual adventure game fans, except for those who may be offended by some of the coarse language in the game.