Wrath of the Gods
Review by Orb
This is a retro gaming adventure, declared, interestingly enough,
to be "state of the art" by The New York Times upon
its release. A game made and released by a small garage-game company
out of San Francisco on the eve of the release of Myst, it
is also one of the rare graphic adventures based on Greek, not
Roman, history and mythology.
The story is a mishmash of historical Greek mythology and characters
that the player runs across and interacts with. There is an incredible
amount of Greek mythology packed into a compact package here.
It's set in a time when the gods of Olympus walked the earth.
You play as a child born of a princess and unknown father who
is left in the wilderness after the king is told by an oracle
that his future replacement is this same child. The character
is raised by a centaur, and the story begins as he, now a young
man, sets off to discover who his parents really are.
The game itself has instructions available for the player regarding
whatever particular myth he/she has encountered, which also provides
clues as to how the characters will respond. This function would
be particularly good for kids, and the whole game overall is encyclopedic
in its coverage of Greek mythology.
Graphics are an interesting and slightly disconcerting blend
of live actors pasted onto what looks suspiciously like pictures
cut out and cobbled together from travel magazines, painted in
sometimes perplexing hues. There's a nice mapping system included
in the game that pieces together screens that contain small pictures
of all the gameplay areas that must be explored to complete the
game, and looking at these tells the player right away where he/she
is and how much progress has been made.
Music and sound are mostly minute and inconsequential. Almost
all of the storyline and plot forwarding is delivered by actors,
and, surprisingly, they actually are costumed fairly appropriatelyin
some cases quite cleverlyand deliver the dialog well.
Puzzles are for the most part inventory-based, and they are very
logical as regards the gaming environment and progression of the
story. The player cannot, unfortunately, drop or discard inventory;
in fact, when an item is used and the action with it completed,
it is sometimes returned to inventory to take up space.
There are, I am sad to report, two of that terminal illness of
adventure gamesmazesin Wrath of the Gods. And
one is underwater, where a wrong move can cause your character
to become a sandwich for a shark. Oh fun. As if mazes weren't
painful enough all by themselves. Actually, in retrospect, maybe
sharks should be incorporated into all game mazes. It would certainly
tell you if you'd made a wrong turn, something certainly precious,
despite the game-saving this would entail.
The game has a point system with a perfect score of 500. The
player is also provided with an in-game "oracle," which
provides solutions at a cost of 5 points each. There are certain
conquests to be made in the gaming environment that provide points;
these usually involve some slight arcade sequences that are easily
conquerable. Saving is important, as it is sometimes necessary
to lose and go back and try again after a hint or two to succeed
while still not losing any points. Some of the arcade-like sequences
include bull and Minotaur hopping, as well as shooting small animals
(I kid you not) and a dragon with a bow and arrow that only moves
back and forththe animals just keep running in front of
you until you finally nail them, my kinda arcade sequence.
There's a nice and simple save game feature, with unlimited saves
to hard drive, although the game plays from the CD. The endgame
was simple but thorough and not dissatisfying. There's a site
with info for teachers and buyers available here.
This was an enjoyable little game, good for a couple of evenings
or the kids. If you can pick it up inexpensively, go for it, but
don't lay down a lot of cash.
Developer: Luminaria Inc.
Publisher: Luminaria Inc.
Release Date: 1994
Four Fat Chicks Links
Performa 450 and above
8 MB RAM
2X CD-ROM drive
Win 95/98/NT, Win 3.1
386, 25 MHz and up
VGA, SVGA, 256 Colors, 640×480
8 MB RAM recommended
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