Let me say up front that I like this game. Liked it well enough to write a Walkthrough.
Curiously, however, it doesn't appear to have anything at all to do with Atlantis - at least what we have come to think of as Atlantis. I picture a smallish island-nation, idyllic in nature, with serene people wandering around in white robes, doves flitting about, and eventually meeting some kind of disastrous end; probably volcanic in nature. Not so in this game. We do however, feel connected to the first two games by the presence of those wonderful Atlantean flying boats.
This adventure starts out in present-day northwest Africa, in an inhospitable area known as the Hoggar. Situated in the south-central region of the Sahara desert, this hilly territory looks unnervingly like northern Afghanistan, though it's thousands of miles from there. The premise is acceptable enough: archeologists have found connections to Egyptian culture; and the fact that the Hoggar is a great distance from Egypt, and nearly impossible to reach by any means; the idea that some magical artifacts were stolen a very long time ago and cleverly hidden to keep them out of the wrong hands, works just fine. You play the part of a female archeologist, who arrives at the Hoggar just a shade too late, for another archeologist has opened things up ahead of you. (He's the bad guy.) Unfortunately for him, he can't figure out how to make any progress - his way is blocked by a magical portal. It turns out you can figure out how to get in, thus the adventure begins.
Continuing the tradition of the Atlantis adventures, you travel to other domains. You get to an Egyptian area, complete with temples and puzzles. You get to the Stone Age, complete with animals (a Woolly Mammoth, wolves, a bear, a sabre-toothed Tiger) and puzzles. You get to Baghdad in the time of the 1001 knights, and get to switch characters. Now you are an Arabian thief, in search of the perfect gift for the perfect girl of your dreams. You get to solve several logical puzzles, and along the way, meet some of the most charming monsters (the three guards and the gargoyle) I have seen in a long time.
There is a magic crystal skull that you "enter" and find yourself negotiating what looks like a central nervous system, or something. Interconnected pathways, that branch and travel over and under each other, fiendishly designed to lead the player astray. It's not exactly a maze, but might as well be. Floating in the medium (I think we're in liquid) are these bubbles that can either return you to where you came from, or into a set of corridors that are another navigation puzzle of their own. Clues to that one have to be collected throuout the game.
Some people object to a scenario where you have to spear animals. It's Neolithic cave-art that comes to life, actually; and while part of the objection may arise because of the violence and part from the difficulty, it's not at all gory, nor is it hard to do. The game's dirty trick, is that the spearing is not even possible until other tasks have been accomplished, but the player has no way of knowing this and can spend hours throwing spears at targets that simply can't be hit.
The graphics are wonderful, even at the lowest-quality setting. At the highest level, my computer gets bogged down. (it's *only* a 400 mHz) The music is a little shallow, but music has never been as strong a feature of the Atlantis series as it is in many other games. The sound track in general is excellent. I have both the CD and DVD versions, and have played them both through. The CD ran flawlessly, and I have the HIGHEST PRAISE for the way the developers organized the material so as to minimize the number of times the player must swap disks; and to place the swaps in such a way that the distraction is negligible. The DVD movie sections have a problem of doubling, stuttering and poor synchronization with the video. We haven't yet figured out whether it is a DirectX issue or disk drivers, or what.
So I give this game a thumbs-up. Here ya go: [img]http://home.rochester.rr.com/ramahelp/bigok
I can recommend all three Atlantis games, but it is not at all necessary to play any of the others to fully enjoy each one on its own. They don't form a tightly-knit series as the Journeyman Project games do, but they do relate to one another enough to be considered connected.
"The difficult we do right away; the impossible just takes a little longer." John Brunner
[This message has been edited by Tally Ho (edited 11-16-2001).]