I try to be positive and enthusiastic when I review a game, so I'll start with what I liked about this 2003 adventure by Frogwares:
I enjoyed the story-Our heroine, Arianne, drops into a mysterious realm beneath the Earth and has to unravel a mystery and eventually save her new friends-some friendly giants, some prehistoric creatures, and other assorted "good guys", from exploitation and extermination.
The environments-a quaint little university town, a beautiful tropical jungle, a magical prehistoric village, an undersea diamond mine, were beautifully rendered and colorful.
The puzzles are varied and pretty well integrated with the storyline, ranging from very easy to impossible-something for everyone.
Now for the negatives:
The voice acting of all the characters is flat, without emotion, as if read word for word in a monotone. Even the main character, Arianne lacks personality.
It is very frustrating to move Arianne around. There are supposed to be little footsteps that light up in a direction that she can follow, but many times you have to keep moving the curser around to find a hot spot for her to move, so it is very easy to completely miss an area.
Inventory items are very difficult to see-often dark against dark, so you miss them unless you move the cursor over every sq. inch.Sometimes they go into inventory unnoticed.In one case there is an item that needs to be found at the very start of the game but is not used until very close to the end and as far as I could tell, if you didn't have this when needed, the city gates were closed and you couldn't get back there to get it( much less realise you had to go back that far!)
The game froze up or crashed to desktop several times.( The altirail seemed especially crash-prone)
I feel that the negatives of this game outweigh the positives, so I have to give it a reluctant ** rating