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Reviewed: Atlantis: Evolution
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: December 13th, 2004
Page: 2
Atlantis: Evolution is your standard puzzle game, really. And the premise isn't bad. The year is 1904, and you're a photojournalist named Curtis Hewitt traveling on the high seas. A series of freak accidents later and he's in New Atlantis. New Atlantis is full of puzzles, of course - well that makes sense, it's an adventure title. It's also full of quiet people desperately trying to live their lives without PO'ing one of the five angry, vengeful, death-happy "gods" that rule over the place. So, instead of just trying to get home, our young photojournalist decides he'd better get rid of these "gods" while he's at it.

Graphically, the game's not bad. Plenty of wide-open spaces, beautifully rendered back screens, slightly blocky but well-executed character models. The visual mode is the same as most TAC games, a stationary player in first-person mode able to look in a 360 degree circle and click on objects or arrows to move from scene to scene. In fact, from the box shots and screen galleries, one would think the game is worth buying. That's one of the reasons I've left them out this time - so as not to mislead expectant players.

The menus are pretty, but the problem is, they're not LABELED in any way. Holding the mouse over a button to find out whether it's "load" or "quit" isn't my idea of fun. About the only navigable one of the lot is the inventory bar, which takes three clicks to access - click an item to put it in, right-click to open the bar, then left-click an empty slot. Not my idea of easy for gameplay; most adventure games just pick up a clicked-on item if you're supposed to be able to pick it up.

The music's not bad, but completely forgettable. The voice acting likewise; it's obvious that the actors are doing their best with what they were given. The problem with the storyline is that the writing is just terrible. Horrible. Awful. I know this is sounding like a rant, but it's true; the lines spoken by characters found in the game may have nothing to do with your current task, and make very little sense; it'd have been better to leave them out entirely.

Finding the puzzles is another challenge. In most adventure games, there's at least some clue as to what you're supposed to be doing - a newly opened passageway, a cutscene, something. With Atlantis: Evolution it's mostly trial and error, error being punished by creative "death" scenes that frequently involve your capture by guards who work for the place's "gods." While trial and error may be fine and good for a run-and-gun game, it quickly gets boring in an adventure setting.

I was hoping to be able to write a more positive review of this game after completing it. Instead, I'm hating that I wasted my time finishing it. Leave it on the shelf.

Added:  Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Reviewer:  Mike Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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