Arizona, 1866. Fenimore Fillmore, the young (actually, he looks like he's 12 years old) hero of our story, accidently stumbles across the secret of three golden skulls which unlock the way to the treasure of the Toltecs. One of these skulls is already in his possession. Two other ones have yet to be located, but at least he knows who has them.
Using a SCUMM - inspired interface, the player navigates the protagonist through a comic version of the 'Wild West'. Unfortunately, it's a rather badly looking version. Although some pictures do show promise, especially the colouring leaves the player with a very amateurish impression.
Similarly, the animations can't even keep the facade up for ten minutes. Lots of things are moving all the time, even in the background, but already in the intro, the same few gestures of the protagonist can be seen several times. A very limited bloke, apparantely.
Same goes for his strange, annoying way of walking. No, it doesn't look funny. It's just tedious to watch him walk across the screen in the slowest way ever since King's Quest. How many monitors have been destroyed in bursts of rage because of this is unknown. Even the double-click 'feature' which makes the sprite jump to the desired location can't help much, because it only works with exits from the picture (like doors), and not any random spot. Argh!
Yet another aspect of the game's ugliness is the font used during the dialogues. This may seem like total nitpicking now, but I do prefer a font to be easily readable over annumerations of letter bending forward and backwards wildly without any apparant pattern! Again, this is not funny, as it was obviously intended!
Getting over the tacky surface, 3 Skulls does earn points in the puzzle department. Everything's quite easy (as usual in 1996), but still not too obvious, making it suitable for beginners. That's all there is to it, though. For veteran players, it's all quite boring and unspectacular. Bearable for sure, but mostly unfunny (the jokes are exactly what you'd expect from a brainstorming session about Western stereotypes with a 10-year-old) and thin gameplay lost in between pointless dialogue.
3 Skulls isn't a game I could enjoy. That doesn't make it automatically bad, of course. Try it for yourself, most casual players should like it at least a enough to play it till the end. If you can't motivate yourself to do that... what is there to lose?
Technical note: If you install the game to any other directory than C:3SKULLS , you have to edit 3SKULLS.BAT accordingly. This CD-Rip doesn't contain any sound or music.