Publisher: The Adventure Company
N Amer - 05/29/2007
The Secrets of Atlantis Review
Yes, this is yet another game about Atlantis. Yes, it is yet another game that steals from classics in the past, such as Indiana Jones. However, it’s not so important what the ideas are behind a game, but what the designers do with the ideas. I’m happy to say that this is actually a pretty good adventure; one that has an interesting story, good dialogue, film noir artwork and great voice acting. The puzzles are the only disappointment, in that they are sometimes uninteresting and ho-hum. But still, it’s set in the 30s, and you can’t go wrong with that time period as a backdrop for an adventure game.
The story begins with our intrepid hero, Howard Brooks, flying from Germany to America on the Hindenburg. It just so happens that Howard is an engineer affiliated with Zeppelin, the creators of the Hindenburg. This comes in handy very soon. Howard is unexpectedly attacked by unknown persons during the flight, who then escape. The Hindenburg is consequently damaged and Howard must fix the ship or it will crash. Of course, Howard fixes the ship with a little help from you, and manages to arrive safely in America.
He soon discovers, though, that this is only the beginning. Evidently, there is a medallion that everyone is looking for, that may be the key to finding the lost city of Atlantis. He is the heir to the medallion. And, coincidentally, it just so happens that a mysterious passenger on the Hindenburg has this medallion and is patiently waiting for an opportunity to pass it on to Howard. Thus Howard’s adventure begins.
The story is entertaining and engrossing, and is given a lot of help through the great use of voice acting and the graphical depiction of the characters and the scenes. Every character has a distinct personality and appearance. The voice acting for each character is spot on, as well, and really adds to the overall effect of the adventure. Every good adventure should have interesting dialogue and Secrets of Atlantis presents a well-written script. The conversation choices all make sense and are reflective of any new information the player has encountered. The translation to English is better than usual and there are no strange oddities caused by bad idioms. There is humor, presented tongue in cheek, mostly centered on the clichés of old 30’s movies and comic-strip heroes.
The game scenes are drawn with much detail and present a wonderful appearance. Details like having open windows in the Empire State Building are appreciated, as they didn’t have air conditioning. The décor in the rooms is authentic and cool to see. I especially enjoyed all the posters and pictures, and the lamps.
The sound effects are varied and frequent, and much better than in many games I’ve reviewed lately. The music is also entertaining and adds to the mood of the time period.
This is a typical point-n-click adventure with a panning camera viewpoint. Once the new screen has loaded, users can pan around the room 360 degrees. The interface is mouse controlled, with hotspots and directional paths depicted by icons. This interface is very easy to use, which is refreshing. However, there is some annoying pixel hunting that can be frustrating at times. Often, a needed item isn’t found easily, because it can’t be seen. This doesn’t happen enough to ruin the game, though.
The puzzles are a mixed bag, with some fun puzzles like a Sudoku game and several manipulative logic puzzles. Very annoying puzzles include a slider puzzle that is timed, of all things. Timed? It’s bad enough they had to stick a slider in, but to have it timed???? I, of course, just had my husband solve it for me. I hope you have some help, too, if you need it. The inventory puzzles are mostly the same as in any other adventure game, with some direction at times, but often users will just have to pick everything up that isn’t nailed down in case they can use it later.
There has been a resurgence of adventure games lately, with some good ones, but more mediocre ones than good. Secrets of Atlantis falls into the good category. It’s not great, but it is quite entertaining, if you like dames, cigars and bars with ceiling fans. The dialogue is very broad and over the top sometimes, but not too much so. The designers knew the effect they wanted and achieved it with a good blending of artwork, voice acting and dialogue, and varied types of puzzles. The puzzles as a whole could have been more interesting, but some of them are fun.
I enjoyed this game, and was reminded of old games like Ripley’s Believe it or Not for the similarity of all the traveling, and The Dame was Loaded for the time period setting. The Dame was Loaded was never a classic, but it was a lot of fun to play. The same goes for Secrets of Atlantis. If you like adventure games that are a little hokey and not afraid of clichés, then this is the game for you. If you despise this type of broad humor, then you will hate it.
Review Scoring Details for Secrets of Atlantis
Playing is quite fun, and there is a good mixture of conversational clues, puzzles and fun things to see. The puzzles are fairly well-integrated, but not logical all the time. The slider really detracts, as players can’t move forward until they solve the dumb thing. There should be a law.
Love the look! The artwork is great and adds to the enjoyment of the game.
The sound is also great! Sound effects are varied and frequent, and the voice acting is better than usual. The English translation is nice. I also really enjoyed the music.
The game is challenging at times, but never overly so. The puzzles aren’t very difficult, except in their logic at times. The inventory puzzles are often guesswork, but the logical puzzles are better designed.
The game doesn’t offer anything new to the genre. The presentation is good, especially the interface design.
This is a fun adventure. It’s better than most, even with its flaws. The designers knew what they wanted, and they achieved it. People who like broad humor in their traditional adventure games will have fun, those who don’t, won’t. I enjoyed it, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys adventure games such as Full Throttle, Indiana Jones, Grim Fandango, and the like.
If you like adventure games that are a little hokey and not afraid of cliches, then this is the game for you
Reviewer: Anise Hollingshead
Review Date: 06/12/2007