“Embark on the adventure of a lifetime as you
discover the secrets of the Amerzone jungle and mystery behind the
legend of the White Birds”
There are many adventure games with wonderful story
lines, interesting puzzles and fine graphics. However, we rarely
have the opportunity to play one as carefully and lovingly crafted
as Amerzone, where you have the added
pleasure of Benoit Sokal’s artistry.
The game grabs you with
the first scene and never lets you go until you finish it. It opens
with miserable weather that you must endure to visit an old man who
only has minutes to live. These minutes are enough to fill you with
his regret and despair for things left undone, as Valambois begs you
with his last breath to right the wrongs he committed.
When he dies, you are
not very clear as to what you have to do. So, you search his lonely
home to find the clues for this unusual mission. You read his diary,
his notes and letters and the sad, pitiful story of a misunderstood
adventurer unfolds. The lonely lighthouse in Brittany holds a
wonderful treasure, a living egg of the fabled white birds.
Valambois stole this egg from the Indian tribe to which it belonged.
He was hoping to gain fame and fortune, and for this he betrayed his
friends and the girl who loved him. The egg must be returned where
it belongs so that the prophecy of the white birds can come to pass.
You decide to finish his mission and so starts the wonderful voyage
that is Amerzone.
An ingenious machine, a
hydro-float-flyer that you can manipulate aids your trip. Your first
take off is an unforgettable sight to behold. You visit an almost
uninhabited island where you need to make use of the resources and
find much needed guidance for the rest of your trip. Here you must
navigate an underwater maze and rescue a trapped whale.
Soon you are on your
way again, your trip is eventful and you visit many interesting
Unlike some games in
this one you meet with people. You encounter comical, brutal, tragic
and extraordinary people whose character and role are always
succinct; like a dart to the very core. There is the irritable beach
bum who resents your presence on his island. At the abandoned
village a drunken guard hits you first and does not ask questions
later. There is also a gentle priest who still tends the grave of
the girl who loved Valambois. Later an Indian girl will prepare the
egg for its final function. Finally you meet the power hungry
dictator whose youthful idealism long ago turned to tyranny. These
characters are fully animated from scratch rather than superimposed
on the background. The same thing is true for the animals. They are
varied, with some being dangerous looking, others endearing and some
are purely imaginary (Porcopotamus, Pechosaur, Suckerer). You have
to interact with some of them, either with cunning or with force, as
you continue your trip up river to your destination. The puzzles are
a little harder in this area.
Finally, you fulfill
the dream not only of an old, disillusioned man but the down trodden
Amerzonians whose hope for a better future is closely associated
with the legend of the white birds. The beautiful white birds fly
again in spite of the interference of a tyrant and the indifference
of a scientific community that branded our old friend a crank.
This game has real eye
candy and stands the test of time. It is beautiful even at its
darkest moments. You almost feel the heat and the humidity of the
jungle. The attention to detail and the careful loving execution all
tells of master crafters who truly delight. The water sparkles, the
insects hum, and the animals are realistic. Birds chatter and a
flock of them fly away as you approach. You are treated to a really
interesting ride on one of the long necked creatures if you can
catch it. This whets the appetite for more of Benoit Sokal’s
creations in future games to come.
The music, the sound
effects and the navigation
The music and sound
effects are never intrusive. I find the water sound effects very
good. The water is lapping at the hydrofoil and it is churned up
when the big reptiles hasten out of the way. There is breeze in the
trees and some of the sound is directional. Amerzone is a point and
click first person adventure with 360° navigation. You can look up
and down. This sometimes makes it hard to find the hotspots since
there are so many places that you need to look. The play is smooth
and there are no bugs that I have discovered. The menu is logical,
the inventory is usually small and there are unlimited saves. The
game gets more linear as it goes along and it is compartmentalized
into seven chapters. Once you are finished with a place you cannot
go back to it. I thought this a limitation.
The challenges in
Amerzone ran the gamut from mechanical to maze. None of these are
too hard. At times the player must be inventive rather than logical
but this just adds to the fun. Some of the puzzles involve animals
and plants while others have to do with mechanical manipulations of
structures or means of transportation. There are occasions when you
have to let your sudden impulses run away with you and do the
This game is a must for
all adventure players. It makes a wonderful family game, as there
is not much that young children should not see (the only exception
is the death of the priest). It is also interesting enough to hold
the attention of everyone. Finally, in spite of the sad parts, it
has an atmosphere of hope and renewal of life. The only thing that
bothered me about this game was the abrupt end. The gamer was left
in the volcano with a broken plane and no means of escape. A cut
scene back to civilization would have been more satisfying.
Some purists argue that
at the time the game takes place there are no computers. They ask
how can a floppy survive thirty years in a shack on a deserted
island. To them I say this is a fantasy adventure; if you can accept
that an egg stays alive for thirty years why argue about a few
floppies and a simple computer?
I first played this
game on Win Me with an Nvidia Riva TNT2/TNT Pro video card.
The good news is that
it is possible to play this game on XP/Home with the compatibility