Review by Old
A New Approach to Adventuring?
Core Design, the team behind Tomb Raider, has created an
inventive, if somewhat flawed, "adventure/action" title.
My first viewing of the early premise and efforts at E3 in May 2000
left me with considerable anticipationeven naming Project
Eden as one of the top five "Games of Show." Well,
how does the final production fare, and "what's it all about,
"We Need to Capture One for Analysis" Control
A provocative introductory movie makes it evident that the towering
megacities of Earth's future are built on foundations of slime,
corruption, and nasty, mutant monster-things that have evolved in
You play as part of a four-member team from the UPA (Urban Protection
Agency), dispatched by Control to find out why machinery is malfunctioning
at the Real Meat Factory. Initial inquiries by technicians have
led to their disappearance. Your elite team is composed of Carter,
the Commander, Minoko, a computer whiz, Andre, a skilled technician,
and Amber, a Cyborg with a thick skin.
With ongoing instructions from Control, your group proceeds downward,
with great care and precision, through 11 huge levels. Most of the
time (80%) you'll be solving lever/door opening puzzles. Some of
the time (20%) you'll be engaged in fighting. The special ingenuity
of Project Eden is that you may take on the persona (in first
or third person) of any of the four team members, and often you
need to do just that for specific tasks. Amber, with the metal skin,
doesn't have to worry about a hot steam leak on her way to turning
off the valve for all of you. Often, Minoko, with her Jen-like computer
skills, will need to do some hacking to move the team along. And
so on. Each has her/his unique specialities. There's even a fly-cam,
sometimes used for remote scouting. Regeneration and recharge points
are scattered throughout the levels, as are informational updates
from computer terminals. Interestingly, you can't die, as such,
but rather are sent to a regeneration point in the event of a nasty
"Don't Kill Him Unless You Have To" Minoko
In terms of technical aspects, I was pleased that Eden took
only 10 MB of hard disk space, and it ran flawlessly on my PIII
450 system. The graphics, though not up to the level of the Quake
3 engine, still are detailed and attractivethough also
often dark and claustrophobic, as befitting this strange and foreboding
world. Control, typically in third-person mode, is excellent, far
superior to some of the current adventure games attempting such
character management. The mouse does most of the work, although
reconfiguring is allowed. The interface is smooth and intuitive;
helping, not hindering. Sound is mediocre, with poor voice acting,
no music, and little in the way of ambient noises.
"Oh, Great; Get Me out of Here!" Minoko
Without wanting to give much away, suffice it to say that the narrative
point of Project Eden is to explore your vast and vertical
city, finding out why your infrastructure is crumbling, both figuratively
and literally. Unfortunately, the game becomes boring. After the
initial gimmicks and novelty, the puzzles are tedious (though not
irrelevant or mind-boggling) and the combat is uninteresting. Most
problematic of all, from our adventuring perspective, is that the
story is dull. About halfway through, you've guessed the outcome
and are simply wanting the game to end. The thrill of discovery
isn't there, nor is there continuing joy in the puzzle-solving,
"how do I get my team through this door" process.
Yet I'm going to push the verdict to a "Thumb Up." The
attempt to put an emphasis on "adventure" in this "action/adventure"
is most commendable; as is the use of a party with different skills.
It's the execution, as with many great-sounding game premises, that
lets us down. Let's encourage, though, Core and Eidos to make another
game of this style, placing greater emphasis on the story/narrative,
perhaps replacing some of the mechanical puzzles with conversations
requiring deduction. All in all, then, a very qualified recommendation
from Old Rooster. Buy it budget.
What I Liked the Most
The puzzle approach to story progression, as compared to "blasting
away," the specialized team premise; and the fact that it takes
only 10 MB of space even with fine graphics.
What I Liked the Least
The storyline is uninteresting, action elements are infrequent
and weak, and some puzzles are mind-boggling.
Release Date: October 2001
Four Fat Chicks Links
64 MB RAM
12 MB 3D accelerator
10 MB free hard disk space