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Not long after I start The Mystery of the Druids, my caustic detective character, Brent Halligan, steals money from a bum after mixing medical-grade ethanol into his flask. After the guilt abated, I put my little moral mishap behind me and, over the next few hours, realized I was playing a work of art: a rich point-and-click smorgasbord of glitches, gorgeous background art, ’90s office appliances, and painfully obtuse puzzles, all covered in generous helpings of cheese. Later, I was forced to find a patch to fix a game-breaking bug during some simple dialogue. No problem. Nothing would deter me from seeing the tale of Halligan, a horrid little wretch in a trenchcoat, through to the bitter end.

Back in 2001, The Mystery of the Druids was not received well (opens in new tab) by games press (opens in new tab) (with one reviewer complaining that the graphics were “straight out of 1996 (opens in new tab)“. Its unfairly besmirched image was partially rehabilitated in 2019 in this now-archived piece (opens in new tab)). It sits in a pantheon of forgotten, flawed adventures that were too janky to live, but too weird to die. The appeal of these games is kept alive today thanks to retro enthusiasts and low-poly lovers who remain enchanted by one of the most awkward periods in videogames, those that rode off the end of full-motion video technology and fleeting experiments in graphics that didn’t end up sticking around.



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