The Lords of Tantrazz

Review by Orb

Anybody remember MTV's great animation show, Liquid TV? This was, for those of you that missed it, a weekly half hour of various shorts from a wide range of artists of varying styles. The Lords of Tantrazz is like an extended-play version of a snippet from a Liquid TV episode. Now anybody who may remember these will quickly realize, thinking back, that some of these were very clever, one—Aeon Flux—doing the job well enough to earn its own spinoff. Also, one may remember some of these were really stinky and badly done and you had to sit through them to see Aeon Flux.

Guess which kind The Lords of Tantrazz is like?

Let's get the basics out of the way first. The story is played out in six chapters, and any chapter can be accessed from the main screen. The game itself was done by Kane Roberts, who has played guitar and cowritten songs for and with Alice Cooper. Alice himself is featured as a villain named "The Hunger." You follow the character of Super Agent Veronica Callahan on a seek-and-rescue mission. Don't bother worrying about the rest—it didn't make any sense to me, and it won't to you either. The player starts off hopefully, with a promising intro scene flying over some fairly interesting looking landscape and then ... is jolted back to reality.

I think Roberts, whose nickname is apparently "Rambo," really believes himself to be some kind of Rock and Roll Renaissance Man, and he may seem that way to a 13-year-old groupie. He has drawn and put together this game himself, overstepping the boundaries of his abilities, and apparently is unaware he has done so. The story indicates that the male protagonist is the heroine's ex-lover. At the end, you find out he's her father. This was extremely, for lack of a better word, icky. I think this was not on purpose; it honestly looked like the writer forgot the first part of his story.

As far as the music goes, there is an intro song, written and sung by Roberts, that's of the fairly decent headbanger sort. Unfortunately, the player is not treated to any more of this. There is one other song that sounds as though it were recorded by a garage band playing in an empty beer bar with Cherie Curie at the mike (anybody remember The Runaways? Chhhchhhchhherry Bomb!).

The voice acting is of a caliber heretofore unheard of in the adventure gaming community. If these actors were not in a high school bathroom recording on a portable tape recorder, I'll eat my hat. To facilitate the recreation of talking while in a helicopter, the lead "actress" apparently decided what was called for was YELLING while in a public bathroom. And Alice Cooper sounds, well, nasally.

The game consisted of around eight really simple puzzles and a lot of talking, following by long periods of my computer computing while I stared at a "loading" screen. The best part of the game was a reflex puzzle whose manual tips offered the advice that I could win by "cleaning my mouse," which came in handy as I had forgotten to do that in a while. It made my computer spit up a couple of times.

The graphics are done comic-book style, apparently drawn by Roberts, and in my personal opinion, this man needs a date, as the women in the game indicate he's very lonely (or incredibly shallow, but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt). As far as I can tell, real women don't have bodies like these unless they've been surgically altered. Pamela Anderson Lee comes to mind. And I'm not sure why Roberts put clothes on her at all except that maybe he thought he couldn't find a distributor if he didn't. Lara Croft ain't got nothin' on this dame. In other words, the game is nothing but guys with big muscles and girls with big ... guns.

There are very small amounts of animation. No character's lips move. There is some incredibly gratuitous violence, of the Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Animated Film Festival variety. (For those of you not in the know, this is where Beavis and Butthead emanate/spawn from.) The pictures are still and played out slide-show style. There is one straight-line path through the game, mostly sitting and listening, no looking around for the most part, keep your eyes on the road mister, thankyouverymuch. And it's not that the graphics are dated (I've played other things with dated graphics, and if the design is sturdy to begin with, it doesn't matter), it's just that they are bad.

There are serious slows and glitches, some of which are mentioned above, the rest I won't bore you with, throughout the game. I never got the save feature to work. There were no instructions on how to access the interface.

Ego-wise, this title is comparable only to Queensryche's Promised Land, which wallowed in that band's own wonderfulness and "depth." And I would give this point a score, except that I don't want to encourage anyone. And why did I trash this game, seemingly with so much relish? Because men like this always deserve that kind of treatment from level-headed women, something of a hobby of mine.

The original gag in Aeon Flux was that she died at the end of each episode after heroically struggling, and this title sure could have used a little of that (the quick death, not the heroism). At least: (1) the game was mercifully short, (2) there was no maze, and (3) Roberts failed to make good on the promise (read: threat) to publish a sequel. The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Kane Roberts
Publisher: Atlantean Interactive Games
Release Date: 1997

Available for: Macintosh Windows

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System Requirements

PC:
486/33 MHz or better
SVGA video card
4 MB free HD
8-bit Windows compatible sound card
8 MB RAM min
2x CD-ROM drive
Win 3.1, Win 95 or better
Quicktime

Mac:
68040 33 MHz or better
256 colors
4 MB free HD
2x CD-ROM drive
System 7 or better
Quicktime 2.0
Sound Manager 3.0

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