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Monday, 16 September 2019

HEAVEN'S DAWN


Heaven's Dawn by the Taiwanese developers at Art 9 Entertainment is perhaps one of the rarest games I've ever played. This traditional point-and-click adventure was only ever translated into English for the Australian and New Zealand markets and judging by the dearth of information out there sold very little. Despite its Eastern roots, this tale of high-fantasy feels far more western than its origins would have you believe.

You are Jeremey, an artist from New York who had the misfortune of talking to a hobo on the city streets. This homeless man tells a tale of a land far away, a kingdom under threat and a princess imprisoned. Then he runs off, leaving behind a necklace that transports you to this fantasy realm upon touch. It is here, through a bunch of inventory puzzles and mini-games, that you save the land from the smite of the cruel gods that created it.

Once you have a working flute, you can call birds to carry you all over the kingdom (left)
If you're stuck, your notepad will offer helpful clues on what to do next (right)

Heaven's Dawn gives no real reason as to why these gods are so vengeful other than that they 'created sin' whatever that means. The rest of the game is also light on story too, with only direct goals coming from anyone you speak to. "I lost my shovel", "I lost my knife", "I lost my dog", "I want my husband to love me again". It's all very simple but there are a few memorable puzzles to be found. Using flower petals in a fountain to change the colour of the water is fun, particularly when everything clicks and you realise what it's for. In a sequence that reminds me a lot of The Secret of Monkey Island's grog puzzle, you have to carry water in a leaf to a dying bird before it all drips out. Even the mini-games offer something more than the usual jigsaws or a re-themed Reversi (although they did sneak in a cheeky sliding puzzle).

One mini-game has you laying numbered tiles down to convince a caterpillar to eat your piece instead of your opponents, leaving untraversable holes in his wake. He'll always eat the highest number adjacent to him and the game ends when he can no longer move. There are special tiles that add a welcome strategy to an already uncommon mini-game including multipliers, creating/filling in holes or turning your opponent's number to a negative. It makes for a fun little strategy game once you've got the hang of it.

The caterpillar mini-game is less complicated than it looks (left)
The opposite is true for the stone pillar mini-game (right)

Other mini-games are takes on Chinese Checkers and a puzzle of time and weight, all of which will test your grey matter more than the average game. Outside of these diversions, the inventory puzzles are something of a mixed bag and aren't incredibly difficult. One of your first tasks in the game has you hunting for three keys. One key is found in an unlocked drawer while another can be dug up with an easily found shovel at a rather obvious place. The third is given to you by the wife of the castle's groundkeeper but you'll have to go through some hoops first. Find some metal wire and use it to pickpocket a handkerchief from the groundkeeper. Then find a very specific flower and wrap them in the handkerchief. Give the newly-formed bouquet to the wife, save their marriage and she'll gratefully give you the third key. These are indicative to the types of inventory puzzles you'll come across throughout the adventure - either extremely easy or entertainingly convoluted (what becomes of a wooden spatula is beyond belief). Few left me stuck for any length of time but the latter type still offered some engaging fun.

Graphically speaking, Heaven's Dawn is pleasant to look at with some nicely drawn scenes. It was par the course for 1995 even if some of its peers like Discworld, Simon the Sorcerer II or The Riddle of Master Lu are more inviting. Unlike those classics, Heaven's Dawn isn't fully voice acted at least in the English version. The original Chinese was, as was a Finnish release, but only the opening and closing cutscenes are voiced in comically over-the-top Australian accents.

I noticed a lot of similarities between Heaven's Dawn (left) and the first Legend of Kyrandia (right)
not least this forest-set altar that uses gems to activate.

Despite some misgivings and its fair share of pixel hunts, Heaven's Dawn retains some of the same charm adventure games of the early 90s had. It lifts its tone and structure almost wholesale from the very first Legend of Kyrandia right down to the abundance of magical coloured gems as key items. Put them side-by-side, however, and it's almost indistinguishable in their looks and setting. Play them and Westwood Studios' 1992 classic easily wins out even for a relatively flawed game as drastically overshadowed by its sequels as Kyrandia was.

There is only one word to describe Heaven's Dawn and that is 'pleasant'. There are a few forgivable missteps in its craft, design and localisation, an overall competent if unmemorable plot and a visual style that harks back to the golden age of adventure games. It is not remarkable, it is not unremarkable. It is not challenging, it is not unchallenging. It is simply pleasant and for a hungry adventure gamer like myself, that's not necessarily a bad thing.



To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox to bring the game to modern systems. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 67.1 Mb.  Install Size: 116 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

Download


Heaven's Dawn is © Art 9 Entertainment Inc
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me


Like this? Try These...

http://collectionchamber.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/discworld.html  https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com/p/wrath-of-gods.html  http://collectionchamber.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/curse-of-enchantia.html

30 comments:

  1. Thanks for finding another obscure adventure game gem! I had vaguely heard of this one -- Heaven's something. It looks like fun, just like the Kyrandia games. I was surprised to see no inventory items at the bottom of the screenshots as I would expect, but the review tells me they do exist. As it also says, I'm sure this will be a "pleasant" diversion.

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    1. Thanks! There's a lot of unused screen real estate at the bottom of the screen so it could've been there. Instead the inventory is brought up with the right mouse button (see screenshot 11). It reminded me a little of Discworld's system though not as in-keeping with its world.

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  2. Played it a couple of months ago, was fun, Btw, Kyrandia games are the most underrated adventure series made.

    If you have time, can you check Arthur's Knights-Tales of Chivalry? (got it from here arthurs-knights-tales-of-chivalry). Cryo/Dreamcatcher games are always intriguing me and trying to make Win95 games work on win7/10 makes me want to throw the monitor out of the window..... -.-

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    1. I love the Kyrandia games too, though I do think the first one is a little rough around the edges compared to its sequels. Hand of Fate is arguably the best of the three.

      I've not played Arthur's Knights though I have heard of them. Cryo are very hit and miss but they do tend to have interesting premises even if the game itself isn't very good (and it often isn't).

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    2. sorry forgot the link: https://www.oldpcgaming.net/arthurs-knights-tales-of-chivalry/
      give it a try if you have time.

      Cryo was experimenting a lot with its IPs and they were hardly following a genre to the letter. At least, as you said, they were making intriguing titles :D

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  3. Haven't seen this one before. It looks brilliant.
    And as the review says, the screenshots are very similar to Kyrandia.
    Looking forward to playing it.
    Thanks for uploading it Biff (:

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  4. Hi Biff,

    sorry for the long comment, but I had to chime in and add to the praise that has deservedly been coming in lately.

    Your blog has been an invaluable resource for discovering both nostalgic favourites and obscure gems for some time now. The installers are easy to use and you obviously take great care in considering the best compatibility options. I also appreciate the attention to details in the presentation of the Chamber installers. The reviews are informative, balanced and just the right length for an enjoyable read. Your curation offers something for everyone's taste.

    This blog is a complete package and the fact that it's a single person's passion project is mind-blowing. Personally, I haven't come across a game archival endeavor that reaches this level of quality in any given respect. Thank you for sharing it.

    If I may, I'd like to suggest two titles for you to kindly take into consideration. It would make me extremely happy to see any of the two receive your loving treatment. Both are downloadable from archive.org and haven't been commercially available for a long time.

    The first one is The Lion King II: Simba's Pride GameBreak. In my opinion, it's just as fun and lavishly animated as the 7th Level arcade titles you've reviewed in the past (and more so than its Active Play namesake released around the same time). It would round out your Disney arcade collection nicely for sure.

    The second is Muppet Treasure Island. Rich production design that evokes the whimsy of The Curse of Monkey Island, a fun appearance by Tim Curry and three discs worth of content make up for the lack of challenge in the game. I feel it would be a great fit with similar edutainment adventures from your selection.

    Even if you never get around to these, keep up the wonderful work! Your efforts are greatly appreciated and I'm so excited to see what you've got in store for us next.

    Cheers!

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    1. Thank you! Both of these are very likely to be released on the site. I have Simba's Pride GameBreak working so just need two more for a Disne triple :)

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    2. Woohoo! That's so exciting to hear!

      Maybe you could bundle GameBreak with "Adventures in Typing with Timon & Pumbaa" and "Operation Pridelands" in a Lion King Triple to mark the release of the live-action remake. :)

      Although, I imagine you might find the latter too visually unappealing to include with the traditionally animated ones. :D

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    3. I'll see what I can do. The later Disney ones are a bit of a pain - too slow on PCEm/DOSBox but difficult to make portable outside of it - I have Atlantis Lost Tales working but the CD needs to be present. With no NOCD patch out there, I'm looking into editing it myself but it's a steep learning curve.

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    4. I know you prefer to avoid games which are available on GOG or Steam, so I'm sure you've noticed that Atlantis Lost Tales and its two sequels are all sold there. Atlantis 4 and 5 are not. Atlantis 4 has no problems on my Windows 10 system. Atlantis 5, aka The Secrets of Atlantis, which is supposed to be the best one, works well, but has three non-game-killing bugs: 1) The launch sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. 2) The cursor is missing in Menu screens. 3) The Quit button doesn't work, so I have to close the icon from the taskbar.

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    5. Weirdly enough, I have both in groupees from a Cryo/Microids bundle they delivered. They did not even properly informed they were there, but every time I see the page I see the installers.

      I guess there was some issues with the distribution.

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  5. Great,thanks,could you upload The Wheel of Time?

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    Replies
    1. I've thought about adding it but as Zomb's Lair has it, I keep putting it off.

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  6. Any chance of adding both Quantum Gate games? (Saga Begins and The Vortex)?

    GJ btw!

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    Replies
    1. They're on my radar but I've nt yet played them. I've added them to the request list.

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  7. Many thanks,any chance to upload Faust(aka Seven Games of the Soul)?

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  8. Good one! If Biff does decide to do Faust, I suggest using the original 4 CD version, not the later DVD version, because I read somewhere that the latter is bugged and becomes unplayable somewhere near the end. I wouldn't know for sure, as I never got that far! (I also had trouble saving, although I think I could rely on the autosave to work.)

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    1. I've been messing with Faust for a while now with little luck. I have the original 4CD big box release. Don't know much a bout the DVD one. PCEm and DOSBox fail at playing it and there are crash errors playing both native and with DxWnd. It's a shame 'cos it's a good game from what I recall.

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    2. Really? I didn't know that, because I haven't tried the 4CD version. I tried the DVD version from advlegends, which works just fine! It has no problems at all on my Windows 10 system (no problems with saving either, actually). The reason I suggested the 4CD version is because I read somewhere that the DVD version has a problem at the end; perhaps some files which exist in the 4CD version are missing. This information may be untrue. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with it! We won't know until someone plays it through till the end. (Hint to Anonymous above: you could try that, perhaps.)

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    3. Note: all the Arxel Tribe games had a problem with the savegames but I recall someone releasing a patch to make them run on modern systems - haven't tried it yet.

      BTW, I also saw last week that someone released a patch for the first Atlantis games. Every game has at least a fan.

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  9. James can you make an iso file of dvd and upload here?

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  10. I can't do that, sorry, but I can do something much easier: I can give you the link to the site where you can download the DVD version of Faust. It's at http://legendsworld.net/adventure/game/3482 which should go straight to the game page. (Copy and paste to your browser if the link doesn't work.) Legends World, also known as Adventure Legends, is a trusted site which contains many of The Collection Chamber's packages made by Biffman - although not all of them, for some reason.

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  11. You're welcome. It's a great game, as Biffman and many other people have said. If you do play it and manage to get to the end, I hope you'll tell us about it.

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  12. Unfortunately save doesn't work?

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  13. I'm sure saving does work. If not, the autosave should work. It's been a while since I tried it, but I'll just copy and paste the notes I made then. [Note: I was playing on a computer with two different hard drives, C and D, and had accidentally mounted the DVD and installed the game in different hard drives] :

    "Extract and mount the DVD. From the DVD, do setup. (Don't try to play Faust from the DVD, as it will be in French!) Then go to the installed directory and press Faust from there. There will be language options: choose English. Then choose a profile name and start. Pressing F12 or right-clicking at any time will access the menu or see inventory items. (Look inside the sink first). From the menu, the game can be saved (using F12 again to cancel). However, the save games don't work. It doesn't matter much, as this is a linear game. The same profile can be loaded again, which would have *autosaved* at the point of quitting.

    Edit: I think the saves may work if the game is installed into the same drive where the mounted DVD is located (C:\Games or D:\Games). Or maybe not.

    Other menu options will be activated later, at the end of episodes. The spacebar's Homunculus' Hints will come at the end of Episode 2, while the map is unimportant."

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  14. I wonder if anyone has saves from this game. I already want to kill myself playing chess)))just can't get the principle

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