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A fun romp for horror fans, but not quite Argento., May 29, 2012
As soon as I'm given the basic premise of Leadlight I feel at home. I'm a teenage girl at a spooky ballet school? This must be Dario Argento's Suspiria. While it is not, in fact, a recreation of Argento's masterpiece, this familiar setting is enough to be content that we're in for a gore-splattered ride, and Clarke does not disappoint.
There are several instant-death spots, which will cost you final points to undo, so it is wise to save often - these, however, are good for adding the suspense factor that horror films do so well: if I hear a noise and proceed, will it be turn out to be innocent or will it be certain doom? The writing is mostly functional, rather than particularly pretty, but it keeps one going, and I never felt stuck for motivation. The back-story is also intriguing, if very much in the canonical horror style, and including a system of scoring for secrets found was a good impetus to continue poking around.
My main gripes were with the retro-parser: small niggles such as having to type 'examine' instead of 'x', for instance, and some instructions were slightly less intuitive than modern parsers allow for. Implementation was generally decent, however. I also found it somewhat jarring that while using a retro platform and old-school parser, Clarke lays out a world with iPods and iMacs - it would have been more fitting to place the action in the 1980s or before.
Unfortunately, I got stuck (Spoiler - click to show)going into the leadlight door, where every action I tried got me killed. However, the time spent playing before running into this wall was most enjoyable, and the game deserves a strong score for its fun factor.