I played Atlantis The Lost Tales over a year ago. It was full of frustrating timed sequences.
There was that infernal inn sequence.
There were those infernal soldiers out to gut me in the woods.
Then there was that idiot queen who didn't have sense enough to keep her mouth shut (wotta maroon!).
And then there was that business about rescuing your mostly naked girlfriend from a fate worse than death (which results in your own death multiple times as you attempt to accomplish said rescue).
Nearly all of these sequences involved trial and error figuring out where to click and doing it quickly.
Some of the bad guy characters were really ugly and fleabitten looking. Apparently the queen was blind as well as stupid, judging by the look of her consort. Yech! I can just imagine how he smelled. Pyoo! The bad guys also had a tendency to tense up their stomachs when they talked, which gave me the peculiar impression they were about to barf. It was very strange.
Atlantis I was much more linear than Atlantis II and CD swapping was not a problem. The autosave was adequate most of the time, but I discovered I couldn't go back and replay a section on an earlier CD after a certain point. The saved games from that CD just weren't listed anymore. Perhaps if I'd gone in and deleted some of the more recent saved games, the older ones would have reappeared, but I didn't try that. I'd wanted to replay the part of the game with the forest (which I think was on CD2) because I thought the forest was so nicely done. (Not the boar part though. Seth was a really lousy shot and each time I missed I had to wait for the boar to run all around the forest again until it finally reappeared. Major nuisance.)
The graphics were very good for the time, and still look good. It would have been nice to be able to explore the gameworld more thoroughly without the threat of being killed or jailed all the time. The frequent dying and jailing was a nuisance. And each time it happened, you'd hear this oh-so-sad voice going on about how Seth had failed in his mission as you either saw a picture of him dead on the ground or wasting away in prison.
The plot of Atlantis I was more coherent than that of Atlantis II. Atlantis II had one of those what-the-h%$#-is-going-on kind of endings. In Atlantis I, the game had a strong plot with a clear ending. Atlantis I was plot-oriented. Atlantis II was exploration-oriented and the gamemakers apparently had no idea how to end it.
I would not say Atlantis I had a happy ending. In fact, Seth failed at nearly everything he set out to do in the beginning. He failed to restore the Queen to her throne (which may not have been a bad thing considering what a dope she was), he failed to protect some of the friends he made along the way, and he also failed to save his homeland, which is more of a pity. Imagine if your country were totally destroyed like that - everything you've ever known. But he did succeed in
stopping the evil consort and thwarting said consort's nefarious plans to take over the world. And he did manage to find a reasonably cute girlfriend who still looked good even when she wasn't wearing much of anything. I was not sure about the fate of Seth's friend who was left with the beautiful cannibal's daughter. The game only said that Seth never saw him again and left it to your imagination whether he lived happily ever after, adopting the cannibal lifestyle, or whether he was eaten. The cannibal chief had a weird sense of humor so I think it could have gone either way.
Atlantis I was a point-and-click game which allows you to pan. The controls were easy to use. There was one tricky place where you had to click on a character's head in inventory in order to talk to him. Since this is the only time in the game where you have to access your inventory to talk to someone, I thought I had a game bug. If you play the game, watch out for this trickery.
Despite all my complaints, I thought Atlantis I was worth playing and will play it again someday once my collection of not-yet-played games becomes smaller. I liked Atlantis II better though, because I got tired of the seemingly never-ending timed sequences in Atlantis I. One nice thing about Atlantis I was the videos of the dragonfly ships flying. You get to see them fly 3 times during the game. In Atlantis II, you only see the one ship fly once, and somehow it just didn't capture the feeling of freedom that I felt watching the flights in the first game. I certainly hope the next Atlantis game will include more of these beautiful ships. And I'd like to be able to be in charge of flying them myself, rather than just watching a video of the flight. If you've ever played Drakan, you probably enjoyed being able to fly your dragon around whatever direction you wanted. I'd like to see something like that with the dragonfly ships in Atlantis III.