The Golden Compass is an adaptation of the 2007 film of the same name, based on the novel Northern Lights, the first in British novelist Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.
The game takes place in a fanciful parallel dimension where people’s souls dwell outside of their bodies as animals known as daemons. Lyra Belacqua is the primary character. Evil Gobblers kidnap her best friend Roger, and her uncle Lord Asriel is imprisoned after discovering evidence proving the existence of Dust particles, much to the chagrin of the Magisterial representatives who rule the world as a dogmatic theocracy and do not tolerate people who contradict their doctrine. Lyra must leave Jordan College in Oxford, her haven, to correct the issue.
Lyra must navigate the many locales with traditional third-person action gameplay. She excels in acrobatic movement, and when attackers come, she relies on her wits, hiding behind objects or searching for an escape route. If discovered, she can utilize one of the four valuables to get out of a sticky position. Health is represented by “courage,” which aids in completing problems. She can also play a mini-game, Deception, to outwit characters and gain more courage.
During her adventure, she is helped by two other characters. Pan is Lyra’s demon and the expression of her spirit. Pan can shift into up to four forms, which he eventually discovers along the adventure. Pan can chew down ropes and disclose regions where Lyra needs to solve puzzles or move about in the basic Ermine form. Swinging is introduced in the Sloth form to catch hold of branches or reach difficult locations. Lyra’s third form, Hawk, allows her to glide from vast heights. She may also summon Pan in this form to fetch objects from remote regions. Lyra can slide down from certain surfaces, climb nets, and use a sprint maneuver to avoid foes in the final Wildcat form.
Iorek Byrnison, an armored bear known as panserbjrne, represents brute strength as the second support character. He has the most of the physical attacks. In addition to health (which is replenished by blood loss), he has an armor gauge filled by obtaining sky armor. When an angry orb is collected, it fills up a rage meter, unleashing a special attack when complete. Iorek joins the party later in the game and is not constantly present, whereas Pan is always by Lyra’s side.
Lyra’s journal contains details about her tasks, vital locations, and a spot for the alethiometer, the golden compass. When operated by a trained person, it displays the answer to any inquiry. It has four needles, three for constructing a question and one for the response. Lyra must play the Divining game to ask questions and solve riddles. It comprises three sessions in which Lyra must match symbols to keep the focus (a circle of light) on the gadget by quickly pushing a key or button to spin a hand. The significance of the various symbols is revealed throughout the game via interacting with items and characters. Conversations frequently include mini-games to keep the conversation going.
Each character can pick up artifacts that provide new abilities, such as new forms, a slow spell, double damage, or more knowledge into the Alethiometer’s workings.