Azrael's Tear is a first-person
action adventure game set in the near future. The player is cast in the role of a Raptor, a high-tech thief who has been given a lead to help recover the Holy Grail.
However, as they later discover, the ancient temple where the relic is kept is far from uninhabited.
The first-person perspective of the game is seen through its main interface, the M2 helmet. Through this, the player as the Raptor is able to negotiate the dangers of Aeternis, the temple where the Grail is hidden. They will run across ghosts and even Templar Knights who continue to survive thanks to its power, protecting their prize against all intruders. Other Raptors are also at the site and will do their best to stop you.
Despite its first-person perspective, the game is more akin to the kind of puzzle solving found in titles such as the Journeyman Project
or Under a Killing Moon
Combat is present, although not a focus of its adventure oriented approach to gathering clues, surviving traps, and using the same dangers against your enemies.
The game came with two pieces of fiction in addition to that offered by the manual in order to help immerse the player within the world of Azrael's Tear.
In 1146 AD, the Knights Templar
make a great discovery within Jerusalem. Their work has uncovered the Holy Grail, but it is not a simple cup as they had believed it to be. Carved from a strange stone that glows with an unearthly light that "warms the darkness". It's holy light healed all wounds and "denies the reaper his harvest", implying that it grants immortality.
Twelve Knights are charged with its safekeeping and as the Holy Land slowly crumbles, spirit the Grail far away to safety. In 1153, the Knights follow their leader, Tobias de Treece, underground to build a vast temple created to protect their prize and never emerge again. Save for one who leaves behind a written testament that is buried with him, composed six hundred years after.
It is now the year 2012 and the world is in turmoil. Since '98, tectonic shifts within the earth and falling sea levels have changed the face of the world. Plague and conflict are slowly spreading, infecting every nation. Technology has also changed, turning skilled cat-burglars into well-equipped and extremely proficient thieves.
Ancient sites and long lost ruins have also been unearthed by these geological shifts, tempting thieves to explore and loot them with impunity. At the same time, great discoveries are being made almost daily rewriting the history books. At the fore are the Raptors, skilled thieves armed with the latest technologies who dare everything for the perfect score. It is also ironic in that their work has also helped to rewrite the history books by plumbing those same ruins and returning with the results.
The player is one of these Raptors and is contacted by a rival, Colin Scott, who writes to him of a mysterious lead that he has discovered regarding the Holy Grail and its final resting place. He acknowledges that you are a rival, but with a score this big, knows that he will need help in getting to it and includes a copy of the Knight's testament to lure you in. As impossible as it may seem for such a person to live 600 years, there is no denying that the story told on that ancient parchment was enough of a reason to take him up on his offer.
You arrive in Scotland and pick up on his trail, discovering his work and the excavation that he was working on. A shaft leads down below and climbing down, you lose your grip and fall the rest of the way. You have no idea how deep you had fallen, only that your equipment seems to have survived and that there is no way back up to the surface.
Deep below, you discover that Aeternis is far from being uninhabited. Bits and pieces of its history are found scattered throughout its hallways and spoken of by the Knights that still live thanks to the power of "grailstone". And then there are the other Raptors to contend with along with the fact that not all of the Knights appreciate your presence. But there is something more.
The Knight that had died and whose testament you have read had also spoken of a traitor who had fled to the surface and his search for him. Whether or not he was successful, he could only say that he had to warn who he could of his betrayal. Then there is the matter of the Holy Thief, the one prophesied to recover the Grail in the world's greatest time of need and bring it out from the darkness.
Could the player be who the Knights have been waiting for? Perhaps, for there is someone else within Aeternis that also wants the Grail, someone who does not have your survival in mind...or that of the world's.
The game is presented from the first-person perspective and, as an adventure game, is primarily driven by solving many of the puzzles that fill the passages of the underground temple of Aeternis.
NPCs consist of ghosts of the dead that actually appear before the player, the Templar Knights charged to protect the Grail, and rival Raptors intent on stealing the prize for themselves.
The game is almost completely mouse driven in terms of looking around and moving about Aeternis. Using the M2 helmet's capabilities, the player is able to "scan" targets for information presenting its findings within the onscreen HUD. Health is also monitored onscreen and past dialogue can be reviewed.
As is typical of an adventure game, an inventory stores everything that the player may have picked up during the course of the game. A compass helps in navigating the twisting passageways of Aeternis along with an automap feature.
The atmospheric nature of the game and the high-tech theme of its protagonist compliment each other in terms of how the story is played out. The helmet is equipped with a language translator allowing the player to communicate with the Knights Templar and they with him, for example, within the rules of the title's world.
Dialogue is usually presented with a list of possible replies depending on how far the player is in relation to the story. While there are many options to pick from, the main story remains the same despite what the player does.
Aeternis, the temple where the adventure takes place in, has been designed with a great deal of interactivity. Players will be able to manipulate many of its ancient traps and machines to aid them in overcoming many of its challenges (especially when it comes to dealing with several of its more human ones). Running and jumping are also allowed in the game.
Combat is occasionally unavaoidable and the player is armed with a machine gun (the MS-7 Sniper) to help defend themselves. Not every enemy can be so easily dispatched with it, but the the player can use the traps of Aeternis against their enemies.