Gold and Glory: The Road to El Dorado

Review by Old Rooster (with a little help from Allison)
February 2002

A Delightful Full-Family Game

Movie tie-in games generally don't do very well, and often they may be viewed by the gaming public as attempts to cash in on the success of the film. Die Hard and Planet of the Apes come to mind. Of course, there are exceptions—see Skinny Minnie's laudatory review of Wild Wild West, as well as the wonderful and frightening action games based on the Alien films. And today we encourage you to look at another notable exception—a game not likely on your radar—and yet one I feel has been vastly underappreciated: Gold and Glory.

Revolution, the fine U.K. developer of In Cold Blood and Broken Sword, has created a very good adventure game; like the film, it is targeted for kids and their families.

Gold and Glory, based on the Dreamworks film, The Road to El Dorado, retells the tale from the point of view of the two heroes, Tulio and Miguel. Through a series of 20 levels, our comical and inept con men (no Butch Cassidy and Sundance, these two) pretty much move along the path of the film—from the town to the docks, a conquistador's ship, jungle, El Dorado itself, and the pyramid.

How Is the Game Set up and Managed?

Gold and Glory installs easily and plays from one CD—466 MB required. It runs in one setting, 640x480, which loaded nicely on my PIII 450 PC. The 20-page manual is clear, though small (jewel case size). Save/load can be done anytime and is quick and smooth. Subtitles are available, which is a boon for scrolling quickly through conversations. Controls can be configured to a joystick (Playstation version is available), though I found the keyboard fine. Character movement is done with the arrow keys. "Hot spots," with which you can interact, are shown by a flashing object/person as you approach. There's some awkwardness to the movement/direction of the heroes, but all in all I and my associate found the going straightforward and manageable.

How Does Gold and Glory Look and Sound?

The graphics are extremely well done, resembling the quality of the Broken Sword series. This doesn't pretend to be a 3D game, and you shouldn't expect the visuals of American McGee's Alice, for example. They do rival, in their cartoon way, the best of current 2D adventure titles. Even the limitation of running at only 640x480 is not a serious concern.

Voice acting isn't up to the level of Kevin Kline and others in the film, but is still well done, albeit in an often corny and overstated way, particularly with Miguel. Sound effects, ambient noises, and music all work clearly and purposefully—nothing award-winning here, but more than satisfactory.

"Dr. [Rooster], You're Not Very Smart!" —Allison

I'm stuck in the town, wandering, and considering how in the world to get enough pesos to venture to the docks. Realizing this is a child's game, I invited a neighbor's visiting granddaughter over for a little tea and advice. After a bit of play, eleven-year-old Allison proceeded to get us to the docks and further, capping things off with the above insulting (but accurate, in this case) comment. Of course, she had seen the film—that must have been the reason for her success!

Gameplay is fairly linear, in that certain tasks need to be accomplished before new areas open up. Allison and I discovered a bartering system (well, Allison discovered it) used to work our way up to a dice game (don't tell the kid's grandma), which led to ... sorry, no spoilers here!

As to puzzles, there isn't anything really obscure or nonsensical, with all solutions to problems rather obvious (especially afterwards!), and no need for a walkthrough, especially if you have Allison or her equivalent around.

This is a comic adventure. The humor is at a children's level—making Allison laugh and me groan. Miguel and Tulio are engaging, especially with their sidekicks Altivo and Chel. As I helped Allison along ("yeah, sure, you helped her" —Helga), we did finish the game over several days, across about a ten-hour span. This was her first real try with a PC adventure, and I think we may have a convert. Maybe I'll give her a copy of Max Payne or Kingpin as a "thank you."

"We're on the Road to El Dorado!" —Miguel

Gold and Glory was a pleasant surprise to this often jaded player/reviewer. It was an added review-making treat to play this with a child, observing her enjoyment, as well as her flexible thinking and problem-solving skills. This isn't the kind of major production we find with Grim Fandango, but Revolution has to be pleased with and proud of this product. There are rich graphics, an entertaining story, and solid, integrated puzzles. Taking it as a full-family adventure title, with little to no violence, and the strongest language being when one of our heroes is called "craven worm and popinjay," I am pleased to heartily award a Gold Star. Our thanks to Revolution, and Allison.

What I Liked the Most

Enjoyable story with fine levels; beautiful graphics; logical and fun puzzles.

What I Liked the Least

Controls are sometimes awkward (a touch of consolitis); voice acting is sometimes corny; the game is fairly short (about 10 hours). The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Revolution
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: November 2000

Available for: PlayStation Windows Game Boy Color

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System Requirements

PII 233 (PII 300 recommended)
32 MB RAM (64 MB recommended)

Where to Find It

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