The Secrets of Da Vinci: The Forbidden Manuscript Review (PC)

A mysterious patron, Da Vinci’s lost codex and a young apprentice called Valdo all in 1522. Enter the Renaissance!

Valdo’s guest quarters
“Air mail” in the 1500’s

The immediate thing you’ll notice is the beauty of the game; everything is drawn and placed with great care and detail. This is a point and click adventure so to have such a fantastic visual environment to explore does nothing but empower the experience.

There’s plenty of puzzles abound ranging from small obstacles to more complex and elaborate contraptions. So you may find a cog but first it needs a hole drilled into it, so better find the workshop and also you’d better make sure the drill bit is big enough. Not everything is so straightforward which often requires you to revisit areas in case you’ve missed that seemingly insignificant yet vital item.

Moving about is simple as you find and click on the cursor to move forward, while looking around is done through moving the mouse left and right, turning Valdo on the spot. Each area is brought mostly alive with flickering candle flames and roaring fires, the models of the characters too are highly detailed.

Sound is great, you’ll hear all the environment noises one would expect where ever you currently are. The voice-overs are certainly far from Hollywood material but as you’ll be spending most of your time sleuthing about the chateau you’ll hardly notice.

Valdo can sure conceal a lot of stuff
Night and Day matter for some areas

I admit when I first fired this game up I doubted it could grab my intrigue but I found it hard to resist its quality. With the graphics being so good, sound a graceful compliment and entertaining puzzles I couldn’t help but continue the adventure. To make things more interesting you’ll go through night and day, with these time alterations occurring through a scripted trigger.

Beginning at night you’ll be working out how to get into Da Vinci’s locked away study. After this you’ll be exploring again but during the day, this now means areas you couldn’t reach at night can be journeyed through.

All the items you collect along your adventure are placed automatically into the inventory which can be accessed by easily right clicking. Here you’ll also have a journal with important clues you find along the way to help you. Another thing is your characters conscious, when you overcome certain obstacles you’ll be rewarded as you can choose to alter your moral inclinations.

If you decide to find what you seek through deceit and cunning then act so and you’ll see your demonic red bar increase. To help the player redeem themselves they can spend bonus points to shift their conscious alignment when they accumulate ten. Keeping balanced morals allow the player to explore every avenue as otherwise choices become limited.

Leave no area unchecked
Bribery never hurt anyone …much

Overall The Secrets of Da Vinci is a great adventure game and certainly worth the time for fans of the genre with its blend of beautiful environments, sounds and entertaining puzzles.

Top Game Moment:
Being mauled by a hive of bees and learning that not everything is friendly in the “point and click” World.