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|25 OCT 2002 at 9:18am|
Posts : 544
Joined: 13 OCT 2002
Status : Offline
|[size=16]Part 1 of 2|
My system configuration:
Athlon 1800xp, 512mb ram
ATI Radeon 8500
Creative Labs Soundblaster Live! Value
Installation was a breeze. The setup program misbehaved a little bit, but nothing that caused any problems in running the game. I told it to create its program group in \games\amerzone; it did so, but the only shortcut it placed there was a shortcut to the shortcut on the desktop. It also created its "default" group in the main program section of the Start menu. Very odd behaviour.
I was disappointed that I wasn't offered the option of a minimal, custom or full installation. Add/Remove programs in Control Panel reported that the game took up about 4mb on my hard drive, meaning just about everything was read directly from cd. Perhaps I'm too impatient, but I found this a bit irritating. Even when reading from my 48x cd-rom drive, I found reading of the data to be slow, and consequently the transition between scenes as well. Again, nothing intolerable, just a bit of an annoyance that detracted from the overall experience. I tried creating an image of the cd and using Daemon-Tools to mount the image and play from there, but Amerzone complained that the cd wasn't in the drive.
I didn't have to use any sort of compatibility mode to get the game to run in XP, and it crashed not once. I encountered no graphics or sound glitches at all. Both of these were a most pleasant surprise; I must admit I've gotten used to having to tinker a bit with my computer for every game I play.
The graphics in Amerzone are beautiful, but not exceptional. I was expecting to be blown away by the game's beauty; I was impressed, but not in the way I was expecting. I've always been a fan of 3D environments, but not usually of characters. My experience with Amerzone was quite the opposite; the characters - both human and animal - were beautiful creations. The environment, however, detracted from the game's overall experience for me because it was so pixelated and grainy. I found the colours to be somewhat muted, but realistic nevertheless.
I would like to take a moment to reiterate just how much I loved the characters in Amerzone. A lovely imagination shines through the varied animal species, and the texture maps used on both the humans and the animals reminded me of the sort of computer-generated imagery used in animated feature films.
One aspect of the game that I did find to be most exceptional was the sound. Indeed, the background music is already fading from memory, it was so unobtrusive (on the other hand, that means it wasn't altogether memorable, but that's ok.) The environmental sounds, though, stole the show. I was so completely immersed in the world, that I didn't even notice the passage of time as I played, much less have the opportunity to get aggravated by the music.
It's a relative, subjective thing, I know. I'll tell you right off the bat that I've played very few games, and even fewer adventures. However, in my limited experience, I thought the voice acting in Amerzone was far above average. There wasn't much of it, but I thoroughly enjoyed what little there was.
I have only one gripe about this game's presentation, and that is about the written translation. I honestly see no point in using sophisticated vocabulary and eloquent prose (of which there is plenty) if an editor isn't going to find the simplest of grammatical errors and other obvious mistakes. Since I know that I'm far more anal about the subject than most, however, I won't dwell on it, nor will I allow it to taint my opinion of an otherwise marvelous gem of a game.
|25 OCT 2002 at 9:19am|
Posts : 544
Joined: 13 OCT 2002
Status : Offline
|[size=16]Part 2 of 2|
Yes, I resorted to both a walkthrough and UHS Hints. However, this is more because I'm still new to adventures (and thus, the adventurer's mindset) than because of the game's difficulty. In fact, I'm pretty certain that experienced adventurers will find the game on the simple side.
Amerzone's story was interesting, as were the puzzles. For the most part, I'd slap my forehead in disgust after reading the solution to a particular puzzle (or a series of hints,) wondering how I could've possibly not thought of it myself. If memory serves, there was only one puzzle that made me exclaim in frustration, "It still makes no sense, I would've never gotten that!" even after I'd looked at the walkthrough.
Navigation is intuitive, as is the inventory design and game-save system. Amerzone is mouse-driven, and you play the game from a first-person perspective. It's as point-and-click as point-and-click can get. You can save anywhere, which is really nice. I was a bit irritated that the game came with no printed manual (to explain the various icons used throughout the game,) but I was fine after a bit of trial and error. I found no way of skipping through cutscenes (I tried right-clicking, hitting spacebar, and hitting escape.)
No death, no arcade sequences, no timed puzzles, no dead ends. There are two areas that could get somewhat confusing, but I wouldn't go so far as to call them mazes. They're just a little... confusing Good times.
Oh wait. Maybe there's a little death, I'm not sure. There is one place where it's possible to either die or get knocked out, I'm not certain which. However, you're put back in the same place immediately, without having to restore from a saved game, so it's not a troublesome occurrence in the least.
Amerzone is a very linear game. If you are unable to do something, complete some task, you can be sure you missed something and your steps can be easily retraced. There is a bit of back-and-forth in some places (why couldn't I do this back there before? I was just there! Argh,) but it's not overwhelming. While such game design doesn't allow the player much freedom, it's very advantageous to new adventurers who appreciate some hand-holding so as not to get frustrated.
I'd highly recommend this game to any neophyte, as well as more experienced players who may appreciate its beauty and design without faulting it for its simplicity.
(Currently available at EB for a mere $4.99.)
|17 DEC 2003 at 11:39am|
Posts : 1
Joined: 17 DEC 2003
Status : Online
|Personally, I do not agree with the high grades that many gave to Amerzone.|
More than an adventure game, it appeared like an illustrated book to me: the story is too short and linear, the puzzles so easy that you get no gratification from their solution.
The only thing that made me play it until the end was the nice graphic... and the money I spent to buy the game.
|17 DEC 2003 at 11:53am|
|Deleted User||While I (and my girlfriend) found the game to be superior to Sokal's followup game, Syberia. We found Amerzone to be tougher but more logical and just as beautiful (no problems with grainy or pixelated graphics on our computer). While the game length was a bit shorter than that of Syberia (which wasn't very long itself), we also preferred the story. While not as personal a saga as Kate Walker's, Amerzone's tale was grander and deeper, and it did possess moments of personal drama and emotion as you encounter each of the trio of former comrades and each ends up paying his personal price for their obsession with the White Egg.|
Other than its short length, the only flaw we found was that grappling your way up the river can get a bit redundant. Fortunately, there was plenty of eye-candy to entertain us during this stretch. And I thoroughly enjoyed how even the grappling became a puzzle when your way is blocked by the critters who make it clear that a particular rock belongs to them!
Overall, this game gets our highest recommendation, and I agree with JustG that it is a perfect game for adventure game novices.
|17 DEC 2003 at 12:09pm|
|Deleted User||An excellent game in many ways, with some absolutely stunning graphics. I loved the little furry critter in the forest that was catching bugs.|
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