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Theresia isn't a typical horror game (horror survival, that it). It is actually a horror adventure game. Instead of running and hiding from zombies or pyramid headed men wielding cleavers, you have to solve puzzles to unveil the game's story while avoiding death. And death, in Theresia, is around every corner.
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You play as a girl, Emilie, who wakes up with no memory in a strange room in an abandoned house (or is it?) and must find out what happened there and who she is. You start out with a few things: the name Theresia written on a piece of paper and a heart pendent wrapped in barbed wire (I kid you not). From there you have to find out the truth behind Emilie's past in the bloodied place she woke up (and why she craves the blood around her).
There is a second part of the story, similar in nature to the first involving a girl named Martel. You must pass Emile's part to access it though.
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The gameplay in Theresia is very much like other point and click adventure games. You are given environments to explore (and explore them you must, with almost sickening detail) and hallways to traverse. Once in a room you can't really move at all, except to get a close up look at something. However, if you are walking down a hallway you do so with the d-pad (or the touch screen). Everything else, looking, touching and so on, is controlled by the touch screen. However, this can get a little annoying in that you have to click on the eye icon to look at things, but if you want to touch them you have to click on the hand. The back and forth can be a little jarring.
You really do need to look before you touch in Theresia. Almost anything can kill you (and you do have a life bar, so you have to be careful). Needles, knives and shards of glass are everywhere in this game world, and all of it wants to hurt Emilie. You do collect elixirs to replenish your health, but that doesn't mean you should touch anything without careful examination first. Sometimes, you can tell if something is going to hurt you (do you see something glisten? It's probably shards of glass).
Along the way you'll collect items to help you. You pick up plenty of items to help you solve puzzles. The game also usually lets you know if there is something important you have to do at a certain place by giving you little arrows to guide your way. This by no means makes Theresia easy, just a bit less difficult to figure out.
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Graphics and Sound
Theresia is really strange in this department. The still shots of rooms you have to explore are lovely (and grotesque most of the time), while the 3D rendering of the hallways is terrible. It looks like a really old 3D game on the Mac or PC, all blurry and headache inducing. But these sections of the game aren't as important as the others, so I can let it slide. All in the all, the graphics, especially the detailed horrific ones, really set the mood of the game. Everything is dark, dilapidated and dirty. It has the perfect look for a horror game.
The music in Theresia is spot on. It sent shivers up my spine as I played, even though I knew (or hoped I knew) that some malformed creature or ghost wasn't going to jump out at me. It sets the mood with its creepiness and increases the anxiety of the player, just like it should. The sound effects are equally creepy, which is also good. Squeaky doors, screams and more that rises the hair on your neck. Great!
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If you like a good scary mystery and have a strong stomach then Theresia is fun. If you like horror and adventure games, you'll also probably like it. However, Theresia isn't like a walk in the part. It is dark. Really, really dark and somewhat disturbing at times, so keep that in mind. This isn't a game for kids, but that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. It is just enjoyable in a different way than unicorns and candy are.
It also has some pretty abstract puzzles that can be a little difficult to figure out. Nothing too bad, but it's not as easy as some other adventure games for the DS.
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Theresia is a good unique game for the DS. Not all adventure games are enjoyable, but Theresia is a nice addition to the horror starved handheld. Also, the re-play value is pretty high because once you beat the game in Emile's mode, Martel's mode opens up to reveal more of the story. If you are a horror fan, you can't miss this one.