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Reviewed: Voyage
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: September 12th, 2005
Page: 2
Voyage, unlike Return to Mysterious Island, does actually put the player in control of a Jules Verne character. Players get to explore the role of Michel Ardan, the French adventurer, who convinces two men to join him in a grand and ambitious project to ride in a specially created spaceship - specifically, a bullet-like cannon shell - to the Moon, an achievement which would be an amazing thing for the men of the 19th century.

As the player actually takes control, they find that a few things are missing; the men are dead, supplies of oxygen are short, and there is a mystery to be solved as well as the problem of making sure the rocket lands safely. Of course, that is just the beginning. By the end of the game, players will explore the moon, finding "natives" and civilization, and eventually working out a way to return to the Earth.

Of course, none of this could be done easily, and it's to Kheops' credit that Voyage, even more so than Mysterious Island, is an open-ended game in which there are rarely less than three solutions to any puzzle. Manipulation of those aliens who live on the surface can be done two ways; entering the aliens' inner sanctum two again; and from that point, the possibilities are nearly limitless, from trading precious supplies and items to spending a minimum of resources and using the aliens' own bureaucracy and behavioral patterns against them.

The moon - with its flora and fauna. As in Mysterious Island, figuring out how to put your resources together is key. Exploring the moon's civilization can be a bit awe-inspiring.

In fact, the only thing more enjoyable than the myriad puzzles in the game is the mood and exploration; since the developers were not tied down to including certain locations in the game, they had a lot more freedom, creating a wonderfully intricate (if slightly underpopulated) society of aliens who exist at the end of their civilization, calmly convinced that they are at their pinnacle even as their creations crumble around them, and totally convinced that isolationism is their best course even as human reach is expanding.

In terms of graphics, the screenshots speak for themselves, but it's the same engine as Mysterious Island: expect lush landscapes, beautiful backgrounds, and well-rendered environments. The gameplay is almost identical as well, with the exception of a mechanic for governing fantastic leaps to jump, moon-bounce style, from place to place if need be. The voice acting and music are decently well done, much in the style of old radio shows with a slightly over-enthusiastic announcer and a wonderfully self-confident adventurer.

And of course at the end, Kheops included a special touch for fans who had played Mysterious Island, and which clears up just as many plot holes as it opens...

The only downside to playing this one was a bug I encountered which can stop the game, which involved managing to lose a looted key and be unable to return it to its place; keep plenty of savegames on hand in case you want to backtrack.

If you're looking for something to play around with, a game to enjoy and explore, picking up Voyage is a great way to ensure a few weekends of fun stepping into the worlds of Jules Verne once more.

Added:  Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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