Lost Eden by Cryo
Lost Eden is one of the earliest games by Cryo, and one in which the potential for the heights the company has since achieved is evident. I am especially fond of this game, since it was the one I bought along with my first computer. So, let's take a closer look at it.
In the Land of Lost Eden, humans and dinosaurs coexist. But there is no trust between the species, and Moorkus Rex, The Tyrant, and his Tyranosaurus legions are ravaging the world, bend on destruction and conquest. Things weren't always thus though. Many generations ago, when men and dinosaurs still respected each other, Priam the Architech, King of Mashaar, found the secret of building Citadels, massive fortresses which could withstand anything the Tyrant (yes, he was alive even back then) could throw at them. He built his own, the Citadel of Mo, and taught the secret to the surrounding kingdoms so that they too could be safe. For a time there was peace. But when Priam died, his own son, Vangor the Enslaver, blind with ambition, sought an alliance with Moorkus.To prove his intentions, he destroyed all Citadels but Mo, and killed everyone who knew the secret of their construction. He was the reason that the peaceful races of dinosaurs lost their faith and confidence in humans.
Our story begins many years after that. You are Prince Adam, great grandson of Priam, and you long to fight back the Tyrant.But your father, King Gregor, having lost his wife and daughter in the war, flatly refuses to let you out of the safe confines of the Citadel, and sits brooding in his throne room, leting Moorkus have his way with the outside world. In the day that you come of age, Eloi, a prerodactyl, arrives with grave news; the Tyrant masses his legion in the North, to sweep whatever remains of humans and peaceful dinosaurs off the face of the earth. You can wait no longer. You must rediscover the secret of the Architect, you must convince your father that you are capable of uniting dinosaurs and humans once again, and, once a network of Citadels is established, you must seek and confront your deadliest enemy; Moorkus Rex.
For the time it was released, the graphics were truly awesome. After a long and impressive introduction, you find yourself inside the beautifully rendered Citadel of Mo. A short exploration will reveal attention to detail; Murals cover the walls, and even inside the fortress the rooms and corridors are very varied and distinctly different. Later, on the plains, the graphics lose some of their variety (there are forests, lakes and valleys in each plain, and all look quite the same) but they are still beautiful. I want to make special notice of the characters' close-ups; unlike their later games, where everything is pre rendered, here the portraits are hand drawn, and on a personal note, I think that makes them more expressive. Transition between the plains is shown with cinematic cut-scenes, and they are of the same high quality as the introduction.
The sound quality is excellent. The music is great, and you will never get tired of it; personal favorite the score when you go down in the hidden chamber behind your ancestor's mummy, early in the game. Voice acting is clear, delivered in a convincing manner, which is good, since there are some quite lengthy conversations.
The game is a first person, point and click adventure. There is transition movement between the locations, but no rotation, just static screens. You have one cursor, the Cube, whose function changes according to what it points at; if it is something that you can see, an eye will appear at its sides, if it is someone you wish to talk to, a mouth, and so on. The bottom of the screen is reserved for your inventory, while the top has a small picture of Adam and those that join him in his travels. Once you reach the plains, a small map of the area that you are in will be displayed here too. If you click on your portrait, the view changes so that you can see your party; clicking on a companion will start a conversation, while clicking on Adam will bring up the options screen. Here, you can turn on the subtitles (in four languages), replay any conversation you had before, quit, restart, and of course save and load (alas, only three slots). Overall, the interface is easy to use and will cause you no problems.
The game is based mainly on inventory management; find out who wants what, get it and go on. You will need to talk quite a lot to find out clues as to what to do next, but you are never without some idea as to how to proceed. Enjoyable as the game is, it has some flaws that must be pointed out. First of all, the game is easy; when I first played it, I finished in about 10 hours without any help, and back then I was far from an experienced adventurer. So do not expect a challenge to your game solving skills. And after a while building Citadels becomes a touch repetitive; all the dinosaurs in each plain want the same thing, and you just have to find it, in a location similar to the one in which you found it in the previous plain. Fortunately, the different people in each plain do set varied tasks, so you won't be bored. For all that, the game is compelling; I loaded a saved game about in the middle just to see something I wanted, and ended up playing all the way to the end.
Lost Eden is DOS only, and while it runs in Win98, it has sound problems. A constant irritating noise is heard, and the problem is not solved by turning off the sound acceleration. It doesn't make the game unplayable of course, but it is a real pity, for it does not let you enjoy the music. In DOS, with the exact same settings, there is no problem at all.
On the whole, Lost Eden is a very enjoyable experience, good for a break from more challenging and demanding games, and a nice introduction to the genre for novice adventurers.
[This message has been edited by Clovis (edited 05-31-2001).]