Atlantis:The Lost Tales
Atlantis:The Lost Tales
On the island of Atlantis, a great civilization has been developing for generation after generation while the rest of mankind is just rising from prehistory.
Posted: 01/14/97 | Category: Review | Developer: Cryo Interactive | Publisher: Cryo Interactive | Platform:

On the island of Atlantis, a great civilization has been developing for generation after generation while the rest of mankind is just rising from prehistory. Queen Rhea has ruled Atlantis for many years, accompanied by her Companions. Creon, her royal consort, attends to her and commands the Palace Guards. However, every seventh year, the champion of the Sun Festival's men's games challenges the consort's position--and Creon will be challenged next year.

The people worship two deities: Ammu, the goddess of the Moon, and Sa'at, her consort. Sa'at is secondary to Ammu, but his priests are starting to get ideas of it being the other way around. Lately, Creon has begun spending a lot of time with Gimbas, the high priest of Sa'at, while Reah remains faithful to Ammu.

In this tale of good versus evil, you play a young man named Seth, who has been chosen to become a Queen's Companion. Unfortunately, things are definitely amiss. The queen, who had been travelling around Atlantis with a band of Companions, was attacked and kidnaped. The consort's Palace Guard has taken over the investigation and commanded all Companions to keep out of the way--but the remaining loyal Queen's Companions decide to take action before it's too late. It is now up to Seth to uncover who is behind all of this and find and restore Queen Rhea to her throne. But it won't be easy! Seth will encounter all kinds of dangers--from alert Palace Guards and soldiers to traitors and ravenous beasts in the Arctic. The plot receives a B.

Atlantis: The Lost Tales pushed the technological edge at the time it was released in 1997, especially graphics-wise.Atlantis uses "Omni 3D" for panoramic 360-degree first-person view. This view tended to be less crisp than the cut scenes or movement clips but still acceptable. The cut scenes, on the other hand, are wonderfully created and a joy to watch. The character animation features motion capture and "Omni Sync" lip synchronization. In my opinion, the characters themselves are, for the most part, beautifully rendered, though the lips tend to be very strange looking when synchronized to the speech. The graphics are outstanding and get an A+.

The voice acting usually sounded very professional, but there were several occasions when the speech was very odd or out of place. For example, once I heard Seth say a phrase in French! The limbs and especially the hands of the characters tended to resemble wooden puppet appendages, which is a little disconcerting. In addition, I think too many of the minor characters look alike--the faces of guards, soldiers, pilots, and priestesses are usually seen again and again. However, when spoken to, the characters have varying voices. The voice acting gets a B.

The atmospheric sounds and acoustical music in Atlantis are top caliber. If it weren't for the telltale dark clouds above the trees of Carbonek, the rumbling thunder in the background would have caused me go peek out my window to see the storm! The music is excellent, fitting the character and scenes of the game well. I even watched the credits several times just to hear the astounding music! The music and sound effects get an A+.

The puzzles in Atlantis: The Lost Tales tend to be on the moderate side. There were a handful of clever puzzles, like the mouse "pinball," that I found really enjoyable, but also several tedious ones, including four old-fashioned slider puzzles. Most gamers will probably become too frustrated and will resort to a walkthrough for some puzzles. Some of the "puzzles" require you to do something in a particular amount of time to not get killed, which then causes lots of replay due to the save system mentioned above, until the puzzle is solved. The puzzles category receives a B- for using those accursed slider puzzles.

The interface, mouse control, and save system take quite a while to get used to. The cursor doesn't freely move around the screen as in most games, but rather the screen moves around the cursor, which is fixed in the center of the screen. The cursor isn't always visible, however, unless you have it at a spot to turn or interact with something. Occasionally, I had to physically put my finger on my screen to keep track of where the cursor was, so that I could find difficult hotspots.

Atlantis: The Lost Tales has a system that auto-saves your game at points during game play. In theory, this isn't a bad idea, but it was poorly implemented in Atlantis. First of all, when Seth dies, sometimes the game had saved a few minutes of gameplay earlier. This forces repetitious replay, especially when you are having trouble keeping Seth from dying, until you figure out the right track. However, the game does automatically restore you to that game when you die. Also, when you want to manually restore your game from an earlier point in the game, the list is out of order from the way the game were actually saved, making it difficult to find a game you're looking for. In any case, the save system, though a major flaw, shouldn't be reason for someone to not play Atlantis.

Lastly, when Seth has a conversation with another character, little icons appear representing a topic to talk about. This system was hard to use, though. Occasionally, Seth had to talk his way out of a situation using a certain path of conversation. This is difficult to do with icons because you have no idea where the conversation is leading, as you might with a selection of text sentences. For the most part, though, you can just exhaust the whole list of icons until the conversation is over. The interface and gameplay get a lowly C-.

Atlantis: The Lost Tales is not a flawless game. However, I do extend my recommendation of the game, despite the faults I've mentioned throughout this review. I think that most people will still get much enjoyment out of this game, as long as they understand that they will have to adjust themselves to the game's differences. Despite the game's linearity and its ornery save and cursor systems, the beautiful graphics, interesting story, and stunning music giveAtlantis: The Lost Tales an overall grade of B.

System Requirements:

Minimum:
Windows 95
Pentium 90
16 MB RAM
2 MB free drive space
4x CD-ROM drive
DirectX-3 compatible sound card
65K color or better graphics card

Recommended:
Windows 95/NT
Pentium 133
100 MB free drive space
8x CD-ROM drive
16-bit DirectX-3 compatible sound card

Specials from Digital Download
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