Atlantis: The Lost Tales
Cryo Interactive Entertainment was known for the lavish graphics in its adventure titles. Atlantis -The Lost Tales- is no exception. Based on the mythical city of Atlantis, the designers have concocted an elaborate tale of good versus evil for this adventure.
On the island of Atlantis, a great civilization has been developing for generations while the rest of mankind is just rising from prehistory. For years, the land of Atlantis is ruled by Queen Rhea, 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 for the consort's position, and Creon is destined to be challenged next year.
The people of Atlantis worship 2 deities: Ammu, the goddess of the Moon, and Sa'at, her consort. Sa'at is second to Ammu, but his priests are starting to get ideas that it should be the other way around. Creon begins to spend a lot of time with Gimbas, the high priest of Sa'at, while Reah remains faithful to Ammu. You play a Seth, a young man who has been chosen to become a Queen's Companion. Unfortunately, things are definitely amiss. The Queen, who has been traveling around Atlantis with her band of Companions, is attacked and kidnapped. The consort's Palace Guards have taken over the investigation and have commanded all Companions to keep out of the way. The loyal Queen's Companions, however, have decided to take action before it is too late. It is now up to Seth to uncover who is behind this rogue and find Queen Rhea to restore her throne. On his quest, Seth encounter all kinds of dangers, from Palace Guards and soldiers to traitors and ravenous beasts in the Artic.
For its time, Atlantis -The Lost Tales- pushes the technological edge, particularly in graphics. The game uses a proprietary technology called OMNI 3D to provide a panoramic 360° first-person view. This view tends to be less crisp looking than the movement clips. The cut scenes, on the other hand, are wonderfully created and a joy to watch. The character animation features motion capture and OMNI SYNC technology to ensure proper lip synchronization. In my opinion, while the characters on the whole are, for the most part, beautifully rendered, the lips tend to be very strange looking when synchronized to the speech. The voice acting sounds professional, except for the several occasions when the speech appears very odd or out of place. I even once hear Seth saying a phrase in French! The limbs and especially the hands of the characters tend to resemble wooden puppet appendages. Moreover, too many of the minor characters look alike. The same faces of guards, soldiers, pilots, and priestesses are seen again and again. When spoken to, however, these characters respond back with varying voices. The game features over 50 characters and 3,000 words of dialog.
The atmospheric sounds and acoustic music in this game are top caliber. If it is not for the darkened telltale clouds above the trees of Carbonek, the rumbling thunder in the background probably causes me to go peek out my window to see the storm! The soundtrack is excellent, fitting the character and scenes of the game well. I have even watched the credits several times just to hear the astounding music.
The interface, mouse control, and save system take quite a while to get used to. The cursor does not freely move around the screen as in most other games, but rather the screen moves around the cursor which is fixed in the center of the screen. The cursor is not always visible, however, unless you have it centered at a spot to turn or interact with something. Occasionally, I have to physically put my finger on the screen to keep track of where the cursor is so that I can find the difficult hotspots.
The puzzles in Atlantis -The Lost Tales- tend to be moderate in difficulty. There are a few clever puzzles, such as the mouse "pinball" that I find particularly enjoyable. There are also several tedious puzzles, including 4 old-fashioned slider puzzles. Combat with an enemy is substituted with a puzzle which you must solve in order to defeat the enemy who wants to kill you. Some puzzles may create so much frustration that you may resort to a walkthrough. Others puzzles require you to do something in a particular amount of time in order not to get killed, resulting in repetitive replays due to the flawed save system until the puzzles are solved.
Atlantis -The Lost Tales- is not a flawless adventure game. Some of the puzzles are tedious and the save system is poor. Despite these faults, I do extend my recommendation for this game. I think that most adventure fans will get much enjoyment out of this game, as long as they understand the need to adjust to this game's unique control.