KARMA: CURSE OF THE 12 CAVES

 
Ancient Puzzle Challenges

Immerse yourself in the mysteries of the magical Caves of Dun-Huang

Long ago, a cruel demon tried to destroy a sacred spring in the caves. He was subdued for a while, but reemerged stronger than ever before. For centuries, travelers who came from far and wide in search of the healing waters of the spring had to contend with this dark force.

Your task is to enter the 12 caves and attempt to solve the countless ancient puzzles that stand before you.

The stories and images in Quest for Karma are based on the artwork and legends of the 500 Caves of Dun-Huang - some which date back 1700 years. The thousands of murals and sculptures in the caves have enchanted visitors for centuries. Now you too can visit the world that mesmerized Marco Polo.

May Karma Be Your Guide

Features
  • An intelligent non-violent graphic puzzle adventure
  • An intriguing story that will capture the imagination
  • Beautifully rendered 3D scenes and animation
  • Engaging original music
  • Hours and hours of challenging game play
  • Game content based on the art work and legends of the ancient caves of Dun-Huang
~ advertising blurb
 
The 90s took puzzle games very seriously. From cultural milestones like Tetris to entire worlds and mythologies created around a bunch of obtuse logic and observation puzzles such as Myst, it was quite the time to test the grey matter. What fascinated me as a kid are those titles that created a mystique around what could otherwise be considered as a fairly straightforward collection of puzzles. Games like The 7th Guest (which I haven't mentioned in a while) and Clandestiny... or Karma: Curse of the 12 Caves.

Karma uses Chinese lore as the basis to gather up a few well-known puzzles. Legend has it that a trap set in the caves of Dun-Huang imprisoned a cruel demon searching for the healing spring waters within. Years later, a group of artisans also fell victim to this trap thanks to the demon's wiley ways leaving only you free to rescue them. You're not alone, though. Kuanyin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, desguised as an old man assists you along the way, appearing as FMV apparitions in-game to further the story.

This is just an excuse to play a game of Pairs or Checkers along with many other puzzles. If I'm really honest, they're not that interesting or special. Each one can be found in a multitude of other titles presented and programmed a little differently. There's nothing new to be found, but the location, the history and the legend make Karma worth playing.
 
From a technical standpoint, it's hit and miss. It looks great, with an inviting pre-rendered environment and animated transitions setting it apart from the static jump-cuts of Myst. It uses Macromedia Director, and the worst, most dated elements of that engine is on full display - choppy FMV, out-of-sync voiceovers, beats tied to a PC's CPU speed. It dampens the otherwise handsome presentation quite considerably. Then again, both the publishing house of Discis Entertainment and the China-based development team of Interseve Multi-Media aren't exactly the largest of companies. They even managed to botch up the CD-ROM by neglecting to include a necessary .dll file for installation. This meant every copy came bundled with a floppy disc labelled 'OOPS!' and a sheet telling you that you don't have to bother with it if you already have another Discis product like the better remembered Jewels of the Oracle.

Once you get it running, none of this takes away from the game itself. It remains an atmospheric game with diverting puzzles that just couldn't get past that finish line into greatness.


To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Manual included. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 314 Mb.  Install Size: 623 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

Download


Karma: Curse of the 12 Caves is © Discis Entertainment
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me


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3 comments:

  1. I hope to see you do the similar games Jewels of the Oracle and Jewels II.

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    Replies
    1. It's highly likely, though I can't say when. I believe they were developed by the same company. I remember them being advertised more than Karma back in the day but I've not played them.

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  2. Have you looked into the possibility of Doctor Who:Destiny Of The Doctors having a release here? It's an officially licensed BBC game from 1997 that has elements that were canonical in the 90's era novels of Who and a rather fascinating piece of history of that series classic era as a whole pre-2005 revival.

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