Atlantis Evolution – PC – Review

Do adventure
gamers buy shooters?  I personally love all PC games.  Recently after sneaking
through the dark corridors of Doom 3 I installed Wanted A
Wild Western adventure.  These games are drastically different, which is good
for gamers who like to switch between the two genres.  Having
said that, there are some games that just don’t appeal to all audiences.

 Atlantis Evolution is a straight-laced adventure game out of the past with
some interesting diversions in the form of arcade like mini-games.  The
graphics do a decent job depicting original foreign environments and the
musical score is lush and full of variety.  Adventure gamers will eat this
game up but others may find it too frustrating to bother with.

Atlantis
Evolution follows the original series but it doesn’t appear to be a
continuation or a sequel.  We play as Curtis Hewitt, a young photographer who
gets sucked into a large vortex within the ocean.  When he wakes up from this
ordeal he finds himself in a strange, unfamiliar world.  It is called New
Atlantis and it is located inside the earth.  New Atlantis is ruled by five
cruel gods who torture and kill all who question their reign of power.  Curtis
isn’t into oppression and death so he decides to upset the status quo on his
way back to the surface side of earth.

The graphics
in Atlantis Evolution do a good job of creating bright, colorful environments
that all appear to belong to another world.  Jungles are full of weird,
sometimes dangerous flora and other areas have curious looking devices and
mysterious machines like the pillar of fire.  Each screen is a still picture
that the player can spin around in search of objects that can be added to an
inventory.  The inventory can be called up by simply right clicking the mouse.
 If you have played other games from The Adventure Company this setup will be
very familiar to you.

The
character models seem a bit blocky and the animations are a little repetitive
but each person has a unique appearance and the voice acting isn’t too bad,
although some of the dialogue is poorly written.  Or maybe it is just very
over-the-top sci-fi camp.  You decide.  The visual variety of the brainwashed
inhabitants does help to push the story along.  Especially during some
dialogue that resembles groveling when several of the inhabitants of New
Atlantis mistake Curtis for a god.  Some of the people you meet throughout the
adventure will offer to help you.  Others will try to shoot you and
recondition your mind into a god-fearing peasant.

Most of the
puzzles in Atlantis Evolution are traditional adventure game challenges.
 You’ll be required to travel through long linear paths to find obscure items
early on in order to progress.  There are several inventory based sequences
when you must combine items to create a new object.  There are defining
moments where a mini-arcade-like game must be defeated in order to gain access
to a special location.  For instance, there is a moment where Curtis must find
the code to a door.  When he tries to interface with the electronic mechanism
a Frogger type game appears where you must
guide a dancing monkey across the screen to find the hidden numbers to the
code.  These games are actually fun and create a much needed diversion.
 However I must admit they have nothing to do with the plot.  Some gamers may
voice a negative opinion about this.  In my opinion it’s a game.  It’s
supposed to be fun and I enjoyed the mini-games.  They are pretty evenly
spread and none of them seemed terribly difficult.

The whole experience reminded me
of the old version of The Time Machine with a touch of 1984
oppression thrown in for good measure.  The ambient sound and decent voice
cast push the immersion factor higher than I expected.  Unfortunately the
early jungle maze challenge really dampens the proceedings.  Goals are never
really made clear to the player.  That translates into a lot of mindless
wandering and patience testing.  If you can get past the beginning portion,
the game does get steadily better.  Atlantis Evolution doesn’t revolutionize
the genre in any way but adventure fans should find it appealing. 


Review Scoring Details


Gameplay

6

Standard adventure style point and click requirements.  The mouse interface is
simple and easy to manipulate.  The pixel hunting gets a tad tiresome.  The
jungle pathways were rather frustrating in the early going.  A compass
would’ve been nice, but there are redeeming qualities.  One such moment is
when (SPOILER WARNING!) a gigantic swamp monster suddenly appears and swallows
Curtis.  The game is merciful because it starts you off right at the spot
before you died.  Goals are not always clear which leads to a lot of wandering
and clicking. 


Graphics:  7

The

locations do a good job of conveying a foreign element but the screens are
static.  Sometimes a bug may run by but there isn’t much interaction with the
intriguing machines and peculiar surroundings.  In the end it feels like a
clicking slide show.  This is nothing new to adventure veterans so I’m not
sure if this is a disadvantage or not.  If you love the genre than you know
this is typical.  If you hate most adventure games, you’ll probably hate this
one too.

Sound: 7
Music is handled with a cinematic score and a decent voice cast.  The dialogue
does get campy and conversations are usually a click and
listen
affair.  Sometimes the sound bottoms out and disappears until
you travel to another screen.  It is minor but I’m mentioning it.


Difficulty: Medium
For the most part
the puzzles are not difficult.  Navigating through the many screens in order
to find obscure objects tends to get annoying quickly.  Especially when it
isn’t very clear what you’re supposed to be looking for.  As I said earlier
the mini-games aren’t really logical and don’t fit into the story but they are
fun to play.  If anyone needs a helpful hint just drop me an email and I’ll do
my best to point you in the right direction.


Concept: 6

The story isn’t incredibly deep but as long as you don’t get lost in the
winding pathways there is enough here to hold your interest.


Overall: 7

This game was made with adventure fans in mind.  If you love the adventure
genre this game will likely be right up your alley.  There is nothing new to
add to the genre and nothing in particular stands out as being outstanding. 
Still Atlantis Evolution is a solid adventure game that is reminiscent of
Myst.  For those of you waiting for Half-Life 2,
well you’re probably not even reading this review.  Enough said.