Solve these extraordinary cerebral temptations
More than 9,000 years have passed since the ingenious pre-Sumerians invented carts with wheels, sailboats, seed ploughs, and clever puzzles.
It is your mission to gather the Gems of Darkness left behind in the City of Ancients and unlock the mysteries surrounding this civilization.
Delve into the fascinating ruins of this remarkable civilization. Reveal the secrets that were concealed for thousands of years.
3D PUZZLE ADVENTURE
Stimulate your mind. Discover 24 main devices, each with multiple variations yielding over 80 different challenges.
~ from the back of the box
The first Jewels game, Jewels of the Oracle, had a lot of atmosphere for what is essentially a puzzle game. It did well enough for a sequel to be greenlit in 1998. Spanning a whopping 3 CDs Jewels II: The Ultimate Challenge (also known as Gems of Darkness) is very much in the same vein.
We begin in an underground tomb, its multiple crumbling caverns seemingly locked away for centuries. Professor Bhandam, played by a semi-recognisable actor by the name of Henry Ramer, wants you to find the secrets of the pre-Sumerian City of the Ancients. This means solving 25 logic puzzles, each one hosted in their own chamber and each one rewarding you with a Gem of Darkness once solved. Collect all 24 of them and the final puzzle will open up, the most difficult brain-bender of them all.
While some puzzles are much more fun than others (that flipping picture puzzle can flip right off), not all of them are self-contained. Scattered around are clues for some puzzles. They are key to solving them too, as you'd otherwise have no idea. Take the Arithmetic puzzle for example. It's quite easy to flip those levers to match up the disc pieces but you don't quite know what image is correct. If you think you have it right, the large lever will make the contraption spit out a disc with the same image. You need three of them, but the answer is found elsewhere.
Hidden clues must be found in order to solve some of the puzzles.
Most of the puzzles are self-contained without any instruction. It took me a while to realise I didn't have all the information for that Arithmetic puzzle - the name alone suggests I'll need dig out my memories of Maths class - so I was truly stumped. It was only when I decided to hunt for animated Easter eggs scattered around the place did I find a wooden box with a partial answer.
Some of the puzzles aren't exactly original. An alternate version of the dung beetle game of Sokoban is also found in Karma: Curse of the 12 Caves which shares a lot of crew members, including the game designer with the awesome name of Courtland Shakespeare. These recycled puzzles don't take away from the whole experience. Many of them have several different levels, although you'll only need to complete one to receive that game's gemstone.
I do like these kinds of games. It would be easy to just make a series of basic puzzles and make a decent profit selling it at a budget price, but the high-quality presentation elevates it to something else. Much like The 7th Guest or The Cassandra Galleries, it becomes something I can revisit again and again.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses the DOSBox-X build of DOSBox 0.74 running Windows '95. Manual Included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.
IMPORTANT - Remember to shut down the emulated version of Windows before exiting DOSBox. This could potentially result in errors, lost saves and corrupt data.
File Size: 1.32 Gb. Install Size: 1.89 Gb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Jewels II: The Ultimate Challenge is © Hoffmann + Associates Inc & Worldwide Interactive Inc
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me