Isis

Review by Orb

Isis is an interesting blend of flavors. It's a vanity piece to showcase the musical talents of Earth, Wind and Fire, who slid down the slippery slope of the downfall of disco in the early 1980s, bound with a good old-fashioned adventure game, set in ... where else? ancient Egypt. I actually found the whole concept rather quaint. I mean, every adventure gamer I know is also a big Earth, Wind and Fire fan—what about you?

The plot is thus: you have been sent through a portal from your world to the world of Isis to assist her in sending her ship back to your world to save it utilizing the music of a early eighties disco band. Cha cha cha. Your job is to find three gems hidden somewhere in a pyramid and sailing ship and return them to where they belong, thus releasing the ship and an eight-minute Earth, Wind and Fire concert from their respective slumbers. The finale is definitely a retro salute to the early eighties—made me feel like I should be in a fern bar sipping a tequila sunrise and listening to Morris Day and the Time.

The game areas are all prerendered and have nicely done cutscenes, a fair to good quality for a game from this time period. The inventory is simple and well-designed, scroll style, with the currently viewed item to the right of the itsy bitsy viewing screen. Did I mention that the viewing screen is particularly tiny? Sigh.

The character of Isis is played by Veena Bidasha, and she does quite well with the acting job, which is a really pleasant surprise. A good game actor is strange and thrilling, as anyone who has played Phantasmagoria can attest, and certainly unexpected from an obscure title like this.

As far as the music goes, the good news is that you can click through the music video and senseless musician interviews quite easily. The bad news is the game contains nonsequitur musical sequences and musician interviews, tied into the storyline as something that will inexplicably save mankind. The game explains the music as something called "The Gift of Healing," which I suspect, as far as storylines go, is actually more along the lines of "The Gift of a Giant Musician's Ego." There are additionally few ambient sounds, which are limited to doors opening, water lapping at the side of the ship, and the slight hum of an engine.

The puzzles are simple and inventory-based but fun. They do tie into the story well and are well-integrated into it.

The game docs give eleven pages of info on the band but fail to explain why the viewing window is so tiny. There is, however, thoughtfully provided, a full page in same docs on medical precautions to ensure the player is safeguarded against seizures while playing. I had no seizures, and I actually felt that I had been slighted, as it looks as though this was something to be anticipated as included in the package, and I wondered if this was an omission in the bargain bin version.

The weird setup notwithstanding, this is a very cool little game. Cut scenes and transitions are smooth, and the design is a pretty mix of sci-fi and an Egyptian motif, with a great use of colors. Buy it if you see it in the bargain bin—it is definitely a good evening's entertainment. The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Snow Lion Entertainment
Publisher: Panasonic Interactive
Release Date: 1995

Available for: Macintosh Windows

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Screenshots

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System Requirements

Mac:
System 7.0 or higher
8 MB RAM
2X CD-ROM drive

PC:
Windows 95
8 MB RAM
2X CD-ROM drive
8-bit sound card

Where to Find It

 
   
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