The Dark Eye is without a doubt one of the most original computer games ever created. Missing are all attempts to re-create interfaces or settings from earlier games, which, in the end, both harms and benefits the overall game. In its attempt to redefine the computer entertainment experience, The Dark Eye never adequately explains the on-screen action as it skips from one point of view to another, and from story to story. This schizophrenic behavior begins in the introductory sequence, an artfully constructed series of visual montages with a bizarre voice-over that is literally hard to understand and continues throughout the game's winding story. In its own weird way, the sequence sets the scene for your arrival at a mansion, The Dark Eye's launching pad into the numerous interactive Poe stories housed within.
As you roam through the house, you are approached by a number of eerily animated stop-motion puppets who address you and divulge information about people and situations that never seem to have significance in the game. Little attempt is made to help you understand exactly who you are, how your character relates to the others, or even what your final goal is. Through a series of stumblings and aimless clickings, I found myself in the role of another character, in a different time and place, and immediately encountered yet another set of confusing people, conversations and circumstances. The skimpy manual supplied only a few clues to my goals in the game, and even fewer on how to attain them.
Behind this chaotic content lie some of the most incredible graphics and artistic offerings I've ever seen in this medium. The animated characters are painstakingly seamed into ornately dilapidated 3-D computer rendered environments, creating an effect that must be seen to be believed. Also included, and just as beautiful, are graphic novel versions of Poe classics with grating readings by Mr. Burroughs. If you have the patience to complete the trying steps required to reach these gems, you'll be duly rewarded, but if you're the kind of person who doesn't enjoy or understand impressionist films, then The Dark Eye isn't for you.