(aka Schizm 2: Chameleon)
of game characteristics
person 3D game engine, controllable by either mouse or keyboard
install to hard drive - no CD necessary to start or play the game
sequences or puzzles where success is based on quick reflexes
with other characters in the game through cut scenes
hefty system requirements compared to the previous Mysterious
as difficult as in the previous Mysterious Journey game, but still
challenging and logic-based
The game starts as your character awakens from
suspended animation after 214 years. He is aboard a space station
that is in a decaying orbit around the planet Sarpedon. He has no
memory of who he is or how he got there. A holographic projection
informs your character that his name is Sen Geder and that he is a
great traitor who almost single-handedly caused the war that has all
but destroyed his people. Only a single valley remains of what was
once a great unified planetwide civilization. The space station's
orbit is deteriorating and it will fall from orbit in a matter of
days. The first half of Sen's punishment for his crimes is that he
will be onboard the ill-fated station. The second half is that...
But at that moment a bolt of electricity strikes the hologram
projector and Sen is left alone and bewildered, to sort out the
mystery for himself.
Needless to say, with the player's help Sen does
manage to get off the space station. He sets out to unravel the
mystery of who he is and what really happened on Sarpedon. Sen is
aided in his quest by computer-like machine beings known as
Companions. They provide Sen with "chameleon technology" so that he
can interact with the people of Sarpedon without his true identity
being detected. Although they are primarily benevolent entities,
Companions hold secrets and it is not until the end of the game that
Sen learns their true nature. In the course of his journey Sen meets
the people from the different factions in the war. The Transai are
the technology-oriented people who strive to maintain the old and
failing technological achievements of the past. The Ansala are the
nature-oriented people who have mysterious mental powers.
Mysterious Journey 2 is not a continuation of the
first Mysterious Journey game. But it was created by the same people
who made the first game, and you can see the similarity in the
design of the gameworld. The distinctive Gelleas ships that were
first seen in the original Mysterious Journey make a reappearance
here. But the story and gameworld are unrelated. Unlike the first
game, Mysterious Journey 2 uses a 3D game engine. The result is that
the graphics aren't as detailed and beautiful as in the first game
(at least not as detailed as in the DVD version). And Mysterious
Journey 2 requires a computer with much higher system specs in order
to play it. However Mysterious Journey 2 offers a freedom of
movement that was lacking in the previous game. You are allowed to
move pretty much where you please, though in some areas you are
confined to walkways. The game prevents you from falling off ledges
accidentally, and you may not be able to venture outside some
boundaries. But for the most part you have all the benefits of a
fully 3D game engine.
Mysterious Journey 2 does a complete install to the
hard drive from 3 CD's. Once installed, you can put away your CD's.
You do not need a CD in the drive to start or play the game.
Mysterious Journey 2 has a very well designed
interface for its 3D engine. You can steer and move around using
either the keyboard or the mouse or a combination of both. It isn't
point-and-click, but it's about as easy as a 3D engine can get.
To move using the mouse, you hold down the right
mouse button to go forward and move the mouse left or right to
steer. To move using the keyboard, you use W to move forward, S to
move backward, and the A and D keys to sidestep left or right. The
arrow keys can be used to look up or down or turn left or right. You
can also look up or down by moving the mouse. These are the default
controls. There is a "Redefine Controls" option in the Settings Menu
that allows you to remap the default keys for movement.
Using the Escape key during the game will bring up
the In-Game Menu from which you can save or load a game, adjust the
settings, or read a transcript of what was said during cut scenes.
The game has no option for subtitles within the menu, but most of
what is said is clear and you can always refer to the transcript if
you miss something. Using the F5 key during gameplay will bring up
the save game screen. It's the same one you get by using Escape and
then Save Game, just a little faster to access. You are allowed to
type in a name for the save. Also, the game will autosave for you
periodically in case you forget.
You can move up or down through the Transcript and
the Load Game windows either by clicking your mouse on a small arrow
at the right side of the window or by using the Page Up and Page
The spacebar can be used to make you "hop." This
doesn't seem to be mentioned in the game manual, though it's listed
in the Redefine Controls menu as "Jump." I call it "hop" because
it's such a tiny little jump. Sometimes "hop" is useful for getting
over a doorsill. But usually I had better luck moving side to side
or backing up and trying from a different angle if Sen got stuck on
stairs or a stone in the path. It isn't necessary to use "hop," and
I played through the whole game without realizing it existed.
The default cursor is a small circle that shows up in
the center of the screen. To assist you in finding objects in the 3D
environment, small arrows will appear around the default cursor,
pointing in the direction of items of interest. When you get close
enough to a collectible object or a puzzle you can interact with,
you see the letters USE appear near the cursor. Clicking on USE
allows you to access a puzzle, communicate with a Companion, or
collect or use an inventory item. You can back out of a USE screen
with the right mouse button. There is also a "Warp" cursor that
appears when you're about to go into a new area. It looks like a
bunch of nested circles that are connected on the bottom. If you
want to further explore the game area you're currently in before
proceeding with the game (and waiting through a load screen), the
appearance of the "Warp" cursor gives you a warning so you can back
away or turn around.
Game options are accessible through the Main Menu and
the In-Game Menu. Mysterious Journey 2 plays in 32-bit color (true
color) in your choice of 640x480, 800x600, 960x720, 1024x768,
1152x864, and 1600x1200. You also get a choice of Low or High
detail. There are controls for Gamma, Sound Volume, Music On or Off,
Walk Speed, and Mouse Sensitivity. You can also invert the mouse
control and remap the keyboard keys for forward, backward, sidestep,
jump, and action. The Walk Speed and Mouse Sensitivity controls
should be especially useful for those who, like myself, tend to get
motion sickness in first person 3D games. You don't have to move
fast in this game unless you want to. I reduced Mouse Sensitivity
all the way, but found the default Walk Speed to be slow enough not
to cause me problems.
The puzzles in Mysterious Journey 2 were generally
easier than in the previous game. There wasn't any having to trek
from one side of the gameworld to the other just to get information
or change a control somewhere. Most puzzles are located in discrete
areas and you solve them by searching for clues in the area around
you or by experimenting with puzzle controls and observing the
result. There are a lot of door puzzles and bridge puzzles. The
bridge puzzles aren't anything like the notorious bridge puzzle in
the first Mysterious Journey game though. As long as you don't get
hung up on questions like "why in heck would someone use THAT for a
bridge?" the bridge puzzles are not impossibly difficult. Most of
the puzzles in Mysterious Journey are logic-based. There are two or
three puzzles that involve being able to add numbers in base 4 and
base 12 numbering systems.
One puzzle seemed at first to be a timed puzzle with
a very tight limit on your time. In fact it turned out to be the
order that you did things that was important, not your speed. It
only "looked" like you weren't fast enough.
There are no sliders. There was one sound-based
puzzle, but the sounds weren't garbled. This was no repeat of the
notorious priest and spinning prayer wheel puzzle from the first
The puzzles don't really increase in difficulty as
you go along. One of the puzzles I had the most problems with was
very early in the game - a puzzle that involved directing laser
beams toward... well... I don't want to give too much away. Although
they are generally easier than in the first Mysterious Journey game,
some of the puzzles are still quite challenging. The tower puzzle
took me a LONG time. My vote for the most annoying puzzle in the
game was a puzzle involving a labyrinthine path that was hidden
beneath fog. The main difficulty with this puzzle was not so much
figuring out what to do as doing it. It was very tedious to inch my
way along, step by step, so as not to fall through the path. This
was the only puzzle I skipped when I replayed the game. Fortunately
there were no others like it.
Some puzzles can be solved by more than one approach.
But the game is fairly linear. So if you get stuck on a puzzle, you
won't be able to progress very far in the game until it's solved.
Inventory is pretty much automatic. You collect
inventory items by clicking on them or having someone give them to
you. When you get near something you can use an inventory item on,
the inventory bar appears at the bottom of the screen and a USE
option appears near the place you need to use it. Inventory does not
accumulate and I don't think I ever had more than 3 inventory items
at once. There aren't really any inventory-based puzzles. If you
need to use something on something else, the inventory bar appears
at the bottom of the screen when you approach the thing you need to
use the item on.
The graphics are among the most beautiful graphics
I've ever seen in a game with a 3D engine. The same inventive
imaginations that created the strange and beautiful gameworld of the
first Mysterious Journey have translated many of their ideas to 3D.
The images of Brada Coe at night, with its huge luminous flowers,
are some of the most beautiful I've seen in a game.
Graphics in the interactive part of the game are full
screen. Cut scenes are widescreen format, with black areas above and
below the image.
There are many animations in the game: birds flying,
trees blowing in the wind, fireflies swarming, windmills turning,
snow sifting down through a hole in the roof, and various types of
water movement. There were other types of animations as well.
Sarpedon seemed very much alive. Even on the space station, you
could look out the window and see lights on the hull turning on and
The music in Mysterious Journey 2 is similar to what
I've heard described as "space music." It's mood music rather than
something hummable and it has a sci-fi feel to it. After a few
minutes, the music changes to another selection regardless of your
Sound effects and background sounds were very good.
Sometimes I'd turn off the music while I played, listening to the
background sounds instead.
Acting and Cut Scenes
Voice acting was mostly good to very good. There was
one exception toward the end of the game which came as a bit of a
shock after the quality of the previous voices.
In my opinion Mysterious Journey 2 had much better
plot exposition than the previous Mysterious Journey game. There
were no conversations where you'd choose what to say from a list.
Instead there were fairly frequent cut scenes which moved the plot
along nicely. The cut scenes use the game's own 3D engine rather
than being prerendered. So how well they play will depend on your
processor and video card. On my computer there were a few artifacts,
such as characters sometimes disappearing just before the end of a
cut scene. In some scenes where an airship was flying, my video card
would start to choke and I'd see the airship chug along instead of
gliding gracefully to rest.
I was a little disappointed in the ending. I thought
it seemed rushed. After the sometimes lengthy cut scenes I'd
previously encountered, I expected more exposition at the end. I
would have liked to see more of what happened to Sen immediately
after I solved the final puzzle.
The minimum specs listed for the game are:
Windows 98, ME,
Pentium III 800
128 MB RAM (256
MB for XP)
64 MB hardware
T&L Direct 3D compatible video card with DirectX 8.1 compatible
Compatible 16-bit sound card with DirectX 8.1 compatible driver
Recommended specs have higher processor and video
Pentium III 1.6
128 MB hardware
T&L Direct 3D compatible video card with DirectX 8.1 compatible
Win 98 SE
Athlon 1.2 GHz
512 MB RAM
15 GB partition
with about 10 GB free
Fortissimo II sound card
ATI Radeon 8500
128 MB video card
I suggest you play this game from a partition with
plenty of hard drive space. Not only does the game take a full
install, but the saved games aren't tiny and can eat up a lot of
space. The game doesn't give you the option of "saving over"
previous saves and I ended up with over 100 MB worth of saved games
by the time I'd finished.
and Potential Problems
Mysterious Journey 2 never crashed on my computer.
But I did have a problem with the final puzzle, which essentially
made it unsolvable without a walkthrough or hints (or by more trial
and error than I have patience for). Near the end of the game, there
are four towers you can walk out on. You're supposed to see numbers
on top of them. I only saw part of one of the numbers. The other
towers were stark white on top with no marks at all. I tried turning
the gamma all the way down. But although this totally obscured the
openings along the walls of the room, the tops of the towers
remained stark white (except for that part of a number on the first
tower). Apparently some people have this problem and others don't. I
hope it will eventually be fixed with a patch, or some other
The most common problems with the game seem to be
from trying to play it on a computer that does not meet the
recommended specs. You absolutely need a video card that is capable
of hardware T&L and that has at least 64 MB of video RAM. An onboard
video card that uses shared memory will simply not work. According
to one of the techs at the Dreamcatcher/TAC forum, the game won't
even install if you are using an onboard card.
on a Computer with less than Recommended Specs
I played Mysterious Journey on a computer that was
above minimum specs, but below the recommended spec for the
processor (1.2 GHz instead of 1.6 GHz). I played the game at
1024x768 resolution with High Detail because the game played
smoothly most of the time at these settings. But movement was
sluggish in a few areas, especially those with large amounts of
water movement or with a lot of other animations going on. Changing
resolution to 640x480 helped slightly, but not enough to make much
difference. I've already mentioned the problem I had with characters
disappearing toward the end of cut scenes. I also occasionally had
the characters freeze for a second in the middle of a cut scene and
some cut scenes seeming to have the end of them clipped off.
Since I don't have a computer with the recommended
specs to test on, I can't tell how much these artifacts are the
fault of my computer and how much the fault of the game's video
rendering engine. But these problems certainly could be caused by
having a slightly underpowered computer and video card.
Load times varied in length from 15 to 52 seconds
with an average around 30 seconds. I assume computers with faster
processors would have shorter load times and those with slower
processors would have longer load times. Fortunately this isn't a
game where you die all the time. In fact you don't die at all. But
you still have load times before cut scenes and when you move to
another part of the game through a "warp."
I'd recommend this game to almost any adventure gamer
who enjoys first person adventure games, as long as their computer
is up to the task. The cut scenes were frequent enough to keep the
plot moving along, so it's possible that even those who don't like
"solitary" games won't feel so alone in this one. However there are
no conversation-based puzzles or complex inventory puzzles. So if
these are your favorites, you'll be missing them. I enjoyed the
puzzles and roaming around the gameworld, and the story was
interesting enough to keep me playing late into the night. It was
also refreshing to play an adventure game that relied entirely on
mental challenges instead of injecting physical ones. It was a great
game to relax with in the evening and I hope to see a Mysterious
Journey 3 some time in the not too distant future.
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