Secrets of Atlantis: The Sacred Legacy
Review by Old
"What If Atlantis Was Never Really a Myth?" Howard
The Atlantis series of games has been with us since 1997,
initially courtesy of Cryo Interactive. Members of the original
development team have now formed a new company, proudly bringing
us The Secrets of Atlantis: The Sacred Legacy, sometimes
referred to as Atlantis V.
This fine adventure game offers an engrossing, Indiana Jones kind
of story set in the year of my birth1937. It's not perfect,
Gold Star level, for reasons we'll discuss. But Atlantis V does
pull you along from one compelling and colorful sequence to the
next with largely inventory-based puzzles that are reasonably integrated
into the storyline. It's clearly the best new adventure title of
2007 (so far!).
"You Have an Important Rendevous, Mr. Brooks" Garetti
You play, in first-person style, as Howard Brooks, a consulting
aeronautical engineer for the Zeppelin Company, creators of the
famed Hindenburg. After a visit to Germany, you're on your leisurely
way back to New York City in this luxurious zeppelin flagship. Unfortunately,
not far from the coast, you're inexplicably knocked out by two villains
who escape the craft on an attached emergency biplane (one of many
enjoyable cutscenes). Soon, you find yourself using your engineering
skills to repair portions of the Hindenburg, also meeting up with
an enigmatic character named Garetti who is quite anxious to get
you to New York to rendezvous with a Mr. Foster.
Of course, some of you may remember that the actual Hindenburg
fatally crashed in Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6, 1937. I'll leave
it to your imaginings and game-playing as to the timing of Howard's
And so, in graphic 1930s comic style, your thrilling journey of
discovery and mystery begins. You'll travel from New York to exotic
locales in Macao, India and Mesopotamia. Along the way, you'll meet
up with 30 well-depicted characters and enjoy (mostly) dozens of
Along with Howard Brooks, central casting and star credits belong
- Kate Sullivana beautiful and eminent archeologist, one
with a particular interest in the "myth" of Atlantis.
Can she really be trusted?
- James Elliotan embittered treasure hunter and member of
an occult sect. Should we be wary of this fellow?
- Nathaniel Blackwoodeducated, pragmatic and well-traveled,
does Blackwood have an altogether different agenda regarding Atlantis?
- Randolph Fostera talented entrepreneur, prominent in the
business world and passionate about art and history. A presumed
friend of Howard's father. But are his motives as pure as they
"Nice Work, Mr. Repairman" Garetti
As indicated, your expertise is needed within the first five minutes
of starting the game, or you may not even make it to New York City!
The point-and-click interface couldn't be more clear and efficient.
View of a scene is a full 360 degrees, with first-person movement
via footstep indicators. Scenes change smoothly, with not every
area being explorable. The mouse cursor shows not only footsteps,
but also "hot spots." These may allow you to examine and/or
pick up an object, as well as open conversational trees. These,
in turn, offer a number of apparent choices but are mainly there
to present background and narrative information. Further, you may
think you're done with a particular character, like Garetti, finding
later you need to return for followup. Very clear icons are shown
and highlighted to depict persons or topics you'll need to discuss.
Once done, the icon fades into the background. If followup is needed,
an icon will be added or a previous one will again be highlighted.
It works very well.
Right-clicking brings up the inventory, with some items marked
in red to indicate a need for examination. Items are readily combined,
only working together if the combination is needed. Ten save slots
are available, which can be overwritten. Since the story is quite
linear, not allowing progression until certain tasks are completed,
these work well. There are a few puzzles where it is helpful to
save before attempting. In other words, you'll fail and need to
start over at least several times. You can "die," but
resurrection is imminent, and this isn't a problem.
"Don't Be Put Off by One Defeat, Mr. Brooks" Foster
About a quarter of the way into the game, the puzzles start to
become serious and more or less "fun," depending on your
puzzle-liking inclination. Mr. Foster challenges you to an interesting
little game, and you later find yourself playing variations of poker
and Sudoku. These are all well and good, but I must say, about a
third of the way in, while visiting a gambling site in Macao, there
is a timed slider puzzle that almost led me to heave the game. Apparently
there is a trick to it, which I didn't discover until the third
day of frustration. This challenge was the worst of the game, at
least for me, but there are others almost as difficult. At least
they are relevant to the place at hand and not obscure, as with
so many titles.
Pixel-hunting and hot spotsearching can also be a source
of consternation, even early on. Monitor brightness level (not adjustable
in-game) will need to be turned up to find some of the needed items.
I had a terrible time finding a spot for a ladder, finally stumbling
on it by accident. There are several of these hard-to-find locations,
which present minor drawbacks to the excitement and flow of the
"Your Medallion Is The Key to Forgotten Knowledge"
The Secrets of Atlantis is presented, both visually and
with script, in an almost noir style. The 1930s way of dress and
speaking is nicely done, with very adequate graphics and cutscenes.
Voice acting, particularly of the principals, is excellent. It made
me think about Saturday afternoon serials at the Orpheum! Character
depictions are typically over the top, but not too much so, and
this works well with this story. Mannerisms and facial movements
are appropriate. Howard uses his charm in flirting with secretaries
in a way that wouldn't get him to first base today but worked 70
years ago. One of the receptionists refers to him as a "Ladykiller,"
an appellation I had to suffer with much of my adult life (cough,
Care is taken in presenting the Hindenburg, Empire State Building,
and other sites. For example, we find that windows are open in the
Empire State Building, which is quite new at that point, with no
air conditioning. The storm outside is loud and very evident. We
also hear other ambient noises adding to realism, from hisses of
machinery to movement of gears, and many others.
Perhaps one area of disappointment is the obvious lack of nonplayable
characters in many of the settings. Rationales are typically given
for this. The Hindenburg power emergency has confined all passengers
to their rooms. The Empire State's elevators are down, leading all
occupants to stay in their offices. Generally, these excuses are
reasonable, although it often seems strange to have such barren
settings in what should be busy or crowded places.
Finally, we once again find a game that finishes much like that
old Saturday afternoon serialopen-endedly. This came as a
surprise and, although a sequel will be welcomed and readily purchased
by this player, I was quite a bit let down by the ending phrase:
"The adventure has only just begun." All we get for all
our efforts is a bloomin' "road to Atlantis," for crying
"This Is the First Time I've Ever Gone Off in Search of
a Myth" Brooks
The Secrets of Atlantis is a highly entertaining, lively,
absorbing tale. In the style of Indiana Jones, this adventure presents
colorful characters, varied and exciting settings, sensible puzzles.
Some of the challenges are difficult with occasional glitches in
pixel hunting. Yet, except for the anticlimactic nonending, the
entire 20-plus hour experience is fun, novel, and rewarding.
What I Liked Most About The Secrets of Atlantis
- An interesting story, well told;
- Colorful and well-done graphics;
- Marvelous script and voice-acting;
- Mostly well-integrated, sensible puzzles;
- Smooth and efficient interface.
What I Didn't Care For
- Some puzzles, especially the initial timed slider, are frustratingly
- Pixel hunting can be tedious;
- More backtracking than I would like;
- A surprise nonending setting up a sequel.
Developer: Atlantis Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: November 3, 2006
Four Fat Chicks Links
PIII 1 GHz
2 GB free hard disk space
256 MB RAM
32 MB video card
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