The follow-up to "The Last Half of Darkness" continues directly from where the first part ended (read the review of the first part here on Abandonia for a lot more info). It still uses the same engine, nothing has changed. For what it is, a horror game made by a young William R. Fisher on his spare time back in 91, and a direct sequel - it's not that bad. I actually enjoyed it enough to play through it and write a walkthrough - cause I couldn't find one on the web and the game was short enough for me to bother. But, I also have issues with this game.
The graphics are the same as in part one, but not as atmospheric. Part one had a unique style, using nearly just black and blue to color the entire background scenery. This was the reasons why I was drawn to the game years ago. It was minimalistic and moody - it made the game! The graphics on the first screen of this part starts off very much with that style intact, but sadly it changes to dull gray stone walls on the very next screen and these are used too much. Part 2 is also the first adventure game I've ever played that literary starts with a MAZE. Anyone who has ever played through games like King's Quest 5 know just how annoying mazes are. I was irritated by the fact that Sierra's "great" idea on how to make a game seem longer had found it's way to this independent developer. It's a sign of lazy game-making, but I think that if the designer had continued his black/blue style on the maze I wouldn't have hated it so much. That said, there's a way to go under parts of the maze, which brings back the color-style.
This part feels less thought out then part one. Story wise, all you know is gathered from the previous part: you and the girl you saved need to escape from you're aunt's old house before you're killed off by horrific forces. Fair enough, it sounds like you're standard b-movie horror-flick. But that doesn't mean there's a lack of ideas though. If anything there's actually too many ideas in this part! It just seem like the author threw in every idea he had at the time and hoped to make a more "epic" game. It is epic in the sense that you move through a bigger scenery and speak to a few more characters then in the first part (although you never actually speak a sentence - you say a word now and then). That's about it. And some characters here are just downright loony, and/or out-of-place, like a friendly old beggar and a gypsy who live among all the horrific creatures. Right... Getting help in this type of a game just doesn't fit. There's even a green troll-like guy and a magic flute here, so the "horror feel" is weakened a bit in this part.
On and off during the first portion of part two, some screens carry the mood and style of part one. About half way in though, the familiar blue "spooky" setting (now with a bit more colors on furniture/objects etc) and characters finally takes over most of the screens. That makes part two well worth playing for fans of the first venture. There are many new ghouls who end up killing you throughout the game, but sometimes monsters you thought were dangerous aren't and you kind of go "why? I'm in a horror game right?".
Technically the game has a cool feature: some real voices - through the PC-speaker! Apart from the opening line "Welcome to the Last Half of Darkness" - lines like "Help me!" and "Fool! Go away!" come cracking out of you're PC during the game as a reminder of how lucky you are to be living in the era of Soundblasters. But for it's time though, this was something - at least in a homemade game. I can only remember hearing some beeper-talking during the game "Winter Olympics 1994".
Part one of "The Last Half of Darkness" deserves a 3 in my book. I kind of like this sequel, but the damn maze, the misplaced ideas and the fact that it doesn't continue the style of part one 100% force me to give it a weak 2. It's an ok homebrewed adventure game, and if you played through the first you should give this part a try too - but it's not as well executed or nearly as stylish as it's predecessor.
Works in Dosbox 0.70, but the game itself is buggy so be sure to save often! Also, when the end-screen shows up you'll need to cycle the speed in Dosbox down A LOT to be able to read the text during the ending.