The Black Mirror
|The Black Mirror|
|Engine||AGDS (Advanced Graphic Development System)|
The Black Mirror is a third-person point-and-click horror adventure game developed in 2003 by Future Games, a Czech company. Its original name is Posel Smrti (Czech: Death's Messenger). The game features 150 locations and 5 hours of spoken dialogue. Two sequels, Black Mirror II and Black Mirror III, were released.
The game was in development since early 2000. The development team consisted of 5 people. The original release date was scheduled for the second half of 2002. In the end the game was released in March 2003.
The story largely takes place at Black Mirror, the ancestral manor of the Gordon family located in England in the 1980s. The protagonist, Samuel Gordon, is forced to return to Black Mirror after 12 years absence upon hearing of the death of his grandfather, William Gordon. Despite occurring under mysterious circumstances, William's death is considered a suicide by everyone except for Samuel.
Arriving in Black Mirror, Samuel begins his investigation of his grandfather's death. Samuel's investigation soon reveals that his grandfather had interests in the arcane, and up until his death had spent near every waking hour working to uncover the mystery of the Gordon family's curse. From his grandfather's writings and other sources, Samuel discovers that centuries ago in the 1200s the Gordon line began with two brothers, Marcus and Mordred Gordon. The eldest, Mordred, was a monster of a man, opening a dark portal known as the Black Mirror deep under where the manor now stands. The younger, Marcus, fought his brother, killing him and containing - but not closing - the Black Mirror. In his dying breath the elder cursed the younger, sating that he and his descendants would be forever cursed until 5 souls were sacrificed and his evil was unleashed once more. William's notes also speak of five sacred keys required to shut the portal for good, entrusted to different members of the Gordon family. Samuel then begins his quest to seek out the five sacred keys and close the Black Mirror for good.
As the story progresses, further strange and unexpected deaths occur to individuals around Black Mirror, each one accompanied by a strange blood red sigil. Samuel travels the land around Black Mirror, visiting a local town, chapel, and sanatorium, and also at one point travels to his family's second manor in Wales to obtain a key there. At long last Samuel obtains the five keys, but moments later also discovers the horrifying truth: he is the killer responsible for all the deaths, ending the lives of the victims in his sleep; this is the nature of the Gordon family curse. Samuel enters the catacombs beneath the mansion, enters the Black Mirror, and using the five keys seals the portal. After this, unable to live with the atrocities he has committed, Gordon jumps from the top of the mansion, falling onto the same spiked fence which killed his grandfather.
The game is divided into 6 chapters:
- Chapter I: Return of the Future
- Chapter II: Back to the Light
- Chapter III: Hidden Legacy
- Chapter IV: Forgotten Bound
- Chapter V: Confession of the Truth
- Chapter VI: Look Through the Mirror
- Samuel Gordon: The protagonist, member of the ancient Gordon family.
- William Gordon: Samuel's grandfather. Deceased as of the beginning of the game.
- Victoria: an older woman, possibly Samuel's grandmother or grand-aunt. She resides at Black Mirror.
- Robert: Samuel's uncle. A doctor, he works at the local sanatorium, but lives at Black Mirror.
- Hermann Hynes: The family doctor and local physician. He lives and works out of a remote house near Black Mirror, in the basement of which is a morgue.
- Bates: The butler at Black Mirror. Has worked there for his entire life.
- Cathrin: Samuel's deceased wife. Her death in a fire 12 years ago is what caused Samuel to leave Black Mirror originally.
- Henry: The gardener at Black Mirror. Has only recently began working at Black Mirror, known to be an alcoholic. Doesn't get along well with Morris, the groom.
- Morris: The groom at Black Mirror, looking after the horses. Known to be a thief. Doesn't get along well with Henry, the gardener. Has worked at Black Mirror for a few years.
- Detective Collier: Investigating the deaths around Black Mirror. Curt but reasonable.
- Marcus Gordon: An ancient ancestor of the Gordons, lived in the 1200s. Fought in the crusades. Brother and killer of Mordred Gordon.
- Mordred Gordon: An ancient ancestor of the Gordons, lived in the 1200s. Widely regarded to be evil. Opener of the Black Mirror.
- Old Jim: old fisherman outside the Three Kegs. Can fish for an entire day without losing patience.
- Vick: Small child outside of the Three Kegs in Willow Creek.
- Harry: Owner of the Three Kegs in Willow Creek.
- Tom: Frequenter of the Three Kegs. Plays cards with Mark, doesn't pay his tab very often.
- Mark: Odd-job man in Willow Creek. Mostly works for Hermann.
- Murray: Owner of the pawn shop in Willow Creek. Thought to be a cheapskate by others in Willow Creek.
- Grave-Digger: The grave-digger at the Warmhill Vicarage. Adopted son of Father Frederick. Ill-tempered.
- Father Frederick: The priest at Warmhill Vicarage. Was friends with William.
- Eleonor: Older woman, relative of Samuel, lives in the Gordon's second manor in Wales. Friend of Victoria, wife of Richard.
- Louis: Eleonor's gardener and handyman.
- Richard: Husband of Eleonor, though they speak rarely. Aspiring chemist.
- James: Patient at the Sanatorium; illegitimate son of William Gordon.
- Nurse: Receptionist at the Ashburry Sanatorium.
- The Boilerman: Keeps the boiler running at the Sanatorium. Ill-tempered alcoholic.
- Doctor: unnamed doctor at the Sanatorium.
- Ralph: patient at the Sanatorium. Has an imaginary friend named Mr Bubby.
- Lothar Gordon: ancestor of the Gordon's, Samuel's great great grandfather.
The game's reception has been mixed. While most critics praised its dark atmosphere - created mostly by meticulously drawn backgrounds, music, ambiance and realistic animation and sound effects - the quality of the English voice-overs was unsatisfying to many. Other points of criticism include the game's rigid linear structure, pixel hunting elements, plot holes and inconsistencies (acts later revealed to have been committed by certain characters were not possible given their location at the time) and most especially the game's ending.
German-based Cranberry Production developed a sequel, Black Mirror II, in 2009. It takes place in the 1990s, twelve years after the original game. When solitary Darren Michaels befriends the beautiful Angelina Morgan, he has no idea what the fates hold in store for him. The alluring Angelina has also attracted the eye of several others; and when she suddenly disappears, Darren finds himself questioning what has happened to her while he is haunted by a series of torturous and ever-intensifying nightmares. Darren’s search for his missing friend and his own sanity take him on a chilling expedition from his small New England town to Willow Creek, England - and the reigning evil of Black Mirror Castle.
Darren’s journey will immerse him in the dark secrets and turbulent history of the castle’s ill-fated Gordon Family. Legend has it that the Gordon’s were haunted by an ancient curse that ultimately led to their demise more than a decade earlier. Will Darren be able overcome these demons and find Angelina? Will Darren’s search lead him to redemption or the hell of insanity? Or will he become the curse’s next victim?
A second and final sequel by Cranberry Production, Black Mirror III, was released in 2011. The story connects with the end of Black Mirror 2, and promises a deep, mysterious story, including two playable characters.
- Buday, Pavol. "Posel Smrti Interview s Unknown Identity". Sector.sk. Retrieved 30 July 2014.