Aztec - Sacred Amulet



Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Cryo

Publisher:    DreamCatcher, The Adventure Company

Released:  1999

PC Requirements:    Windows 95/98 XP/Home, Pentium, 166 MHz, 32 MB Ram, Minimum 8 MB hard disk space

Walkthrough    Walkthrough



by lasanidine

Aztec/Sacred Amulet


Educational adventure

Point and click

Third person


Personal log

Death possible at a few places

One maze


There are words that a reviewer uses regularly to describe an adventure game such as: point and click adventure, edugame, interesting, informative, captivating, logical puzzles, easy navigation, good story, beautiful environment, choices of saving mode, excellent game coordination. However it is very seldom that we can use all those words at the same time when we describe a game. This is one of those occasions.

If you are a gamer who squirms at the notion of an educational game, forget your qualms. Here you can learn as much or as little as you want. No unwanted information is forced upon you, but it is there at your fingertips, comprehensible and illustrated with pictures. The encyclopedia mode contains all the historical facts about the religion, government, culture, art, commerce and everyday life of the Aztec people. It makes interesting reading, informative without being pretentious.

 The story

At the time of this story in 1517 the Aztec empire dominated Central America with the fabled city of Tenochtitlan as its religious and governing center. We can only marvel at the remnant ruins of it today, imagining the splendor of those days gone by and the wonders lost to the human greed of the conquerors and the ravages of time. Thanks to Cryo you can travel back in time and experience some of those wonders.

You are Little Serpent, a young hunter out to fill the family pot when you stumble on the scene of a murder.

The murderer flees and the dying nobleman reveals his secret to you. He gives you an amulet and begs you to give warning of a terrible plot hatched by the enemies of the emperor.  The story is that of a conspiracy. You, an innocent bystander, get embroiled in events that are not the consequences of your action, but bear directly on you and your family. The murderer frames you for the dastardly act and takes your family hostage to avenge it.

The characters

You are a courageous, intelligent and resourceful young man, ready to take up all the challenges that circumstances bring your way. You are handsome and pleasant too. Without complaint, you are ready to do all you must. You have to unravel the conspiracy and find the cause of the mysterious illness that plagues the country and is blamed on the emperor. You have to prevent the ritual execution of your parents who are hostages because of your supposed crime.

In the course of the game you will talk to people, but not excessively. You will meet merchants, a doctor, soldiers, a priestess; several of the conspirators and you will be chased by the bad guys. So unfolds a delightful game in a very believable environment populated with interesting characters - some helpful and others really nasty as befits an adventure of this sort.

 Of course, the character movements are not as smooth as we are used to with the more recent games.

Voice and music

The dialogue is not excessive. The voice acting sounds flat to me and I wonder how much is lost in translation. English is a second language to this game. I do not imagine that the Aztecs had sophisticated musical instruments, so the music produced at their time was mostly drums, flutes and simple strings; therefore music is not a significant part of this game.

The puzzles

The game is puzzle driven and quite linear in nature. You have to solve the puzzles to advance. The puzzles are not too hard and they go with the story. There is a maze of sorts that you will have to navigate a few times but it is no trouble for the observant player. At times quick action is necessary and, yes, you can die here and there but not too often.


Sometimes when I am playing another game, I remember Aztec and I wish that later developers adopted some of the options Aztec is so well endowed with. Point and click navigation is easy, the hot spots are indicated by cursor change.

Left click enables you to: act, pick up objects, hold or listen to conversations, gain information about characters, places or objects.

Right click gives you: gives you the inventory, the main menu, the map and access to your personal codex (a kind of journal that comes in very handy). It also allows you to examine objects of interest when you place them on the eye icon such as maps, poems, artifacts and other documentation.

The map is to take you to places. You may find it hard to navigate the city at first but it is expected since you are a young man from a little village and not used to big and complicated cities.

The main menu offers several options

1. Three modes of game play: the adventure game, the exploration mode that allows you to travel around and examine the environment, and the encyclopedia mode where you can search for pertinent information.

2. There is an “Omni Expert” mode that gives you hints for the next necessary move (whether you want it or not).

3. There are two save modes, the automatic (saves at certain times and allows you to continue the game) and the manual (saves at your pleasure and allows you to load any save you choose).

4. Other options: Music on/off

                      Subtitle on/off

                      Adjust speed  

I did not find any “bugs”.

 The Graphics

A colorful and wondrous Aztec world comes alive through the technical proficiency of Omni 3D graphics with smooth 360 degree panning and animations. The city with its temples and castles sparkles in the sun with magnificence. I heard complaints that it seems to be empty, but I do not think that this center was ever overflowing with people in the first place (you could lose your heart here, literally). This and other areas are beautiful, a pleasure to visit and supposedly historically correct.

 Personal thoughts

The game has been out for quite a while but it does not show its age as much as one would expect. The excellent story and the good technical implementation make it a satisfying game for beginners and experts alike. Play it alone, play it with your children or grandchildren and I will guarantee you will not be disappointed. If I were given to rating games I would give this one an A. However, since I am not in the ratings game, all I can tell you is that I enjoyed every minute of it.

I have played this game on

Win 98
HP Pentium II ~600 MHz
128 MB physical memory
Nvdia Riva TNT/TNT2 Pro graphics board

As an afterthought I loaded the game onto my XP/home in Win 98 compatible mode. The graphics look great and the game plays without a hitch.

Review Grade:     A-

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