Adventure Gamers Awards
As it so often happens when one comes to the point in their life where the length of it before them is considerably shorter than the part that has already come, regrets inevitably begin to bubble to the surface. Alexandre Valembois is such a man. Sixty years before he had been the perpetrator of a great wrong. He had stolen the last egg of the famed white birds of the Amerzone. In the name of exploration he had come to the isolated country. To study the white birds, who are said, to live their whole life in the sky. Penetrating far into the jungle he had been taken in by a tribe of natives who showed him the egg. Betraying their trust Valembois took the egg back to France to as proof of the white birds existence but his dreams of glory where soon dashed as he became the laughing stock of the scientific community.
As a reporter assigned to interview Valembois you enter the story in Brittany, France. You find the gnarled old man in his lighthouse where he implores you to take the egg, which is still fertile, back to the people of the Amerzone and then dies. This dying plea sets the stage for this first person perspective game to begin. With Valembois’ hydrofoil, an invention that can transform into a number of different vehicles, you set out for the Amerzone. Third person scenes of the hydrofoil in its various states are nicely intercut into the game giving the player the chance to witness their journey from outside the craft. Amerzone is mouse-controlled game with the simple point and click navigation that adventurers know so well. The cursor moves over the screen changing to highlight areas that are accessible and objects that can be used. With over 200 environments to explore and allowing in a 360 degree panning this type of control allows the player the opportunity to truly explore their playing area.
Amerzone is filled with fictitious creatures that move smoothly and fluidly throughout the game. The graphics demonstrate an attention to detail that can be seen in scenes where wayward butterflies and frogs carelessly cross your path without any warning. The environments of the game are beautifully done in 3D with lighting and effects that always appear natural. The score, or should I say lack of score, is the perfect choice for this game. Instead of going with an endless looping or created sound track the designers have gone for authenticity. Sounds are only employed when needed. The chirping of birds, water running, and doors opening. This is what made the difference in atmosphere in Amber: Journey’s Beyond and it has been perfectly employer here again. With the combination of graphics and sound Casterman/Microids has created an atmospheric world for the player to experience.
A true adventure, the best part of this game come from exploring your environments and collecting inventory. None of which is very hard, with a little common sense you are off and surveying Amerzone. Many out there will be happy to know there are no slider puzzles and no timed sequences. The most difficulty I came across in piecing clues and items together was one scene where I found myself madly running my cursor all over the scene looking for an object then moving one step and repeating the process. Some might complain that some of the puzzles in the game were too easy but I felt that by not creating Black Dahlia like puzzles that held a player up for hours this contributed to the flow of the game and my overall enjoyment of it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this game. It has been a long time since I went to bed and laid there for another couple hours rehashing a game in my mind and plotting strategy for the next day. It maybe shorter in duration to what many gamers have come to expect in a game today but I enjoyed every hour of it. At its retail price it may seem a tad pricey to some but I think once you play it you will agree that it was worth the purchase price. So I say get yourself down to Amerzone, there’s some exciting country to see down there.