Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
Some myths and legends never die: they seem to strike a responsive chord in us, as if they speak to some long forgotten memory of our soul. And once again (as in Riddle of the Sphinx), Jeff and Karen Tobler have addressed one of those ancient unresolved enigmas, combining rock solid research of the available literature on the subject with their own logical reasoning and conclusions. It all makes for a fascinating story ..... and is of course the perfect backdrop for a game.
The questions are ones that have long perplexed both scholars and laymen alike. Why are there such striking similarities in the oral tradition, history and beliefs of so many ancient cultures? And where did they get the knowledge and expertise required to build all of those mammoth structures, and for what purpose were they erected? Is there some connection between them and whatever lies beneath the waves in that deadly area of the ocean known as the Bermuda Triangle: the 'Devil's Triangle'? And perhaps the most important question of them all: why does the phenomenally accurate calendar of the ancient stargazing Mayans, which they meticulously kept to reflect both the past and the future, abruptly stop on a specific day in the year 2012: a day when they said this age would end? What did they know that we don't know? What's going to happen then?
These are the questions that Jeff Tobler, as noted archaeologist Sir Gil Blythe Geoffreys, intends to answer, and his research has led him to believe that he is on the right track. But time grows desperately short: it is already 2012. And if what he suspects is true, our very lives may depend on finding the answer. He needs your help.
This is a 1st person, 3D, point & click game, with 360-degree panning, a large inventory, a smart cursor, and an onboard camera for taking screenshots of pertinent information. The interface is well designed and easy to use, with variable panning speed available and a choice of fixed or free cursor to suit your style of play. Movement is linear but gameplay is not, and you can visit and revisit the various areas in any order that you choose. You begin where you ended in the previous game (the 'Chamber of Ages' in the Sphinx on Egypt's Giza plateau), but familiarity with the first game is not necessary to play this one.
In your search for understanding and a way to stop the impending disaster, you will need to explore selected areas of several ancient civilizations: Easter Island, Chichen Itza, the 'Devil's Triangle', Stonehenge, and (ultimately) Atlantis, as well as visit an English manor and an old Celtic compound. And you are taken to each place in style, by a delightful driver named 'Hump', in everything from a Rolls Royce to a seaplane.
Logically, your search takes you into areas not previously explored by archaeologists, like those beneath the famous monuments and on the ocean floor, or to secret Knights Templar areas under cover of darkness. Nevertheless they have a certain beauty, often startling, as when you unexpectedly come upon a veritable waterfall of emerald light from above, or notice the eerie charm of the full moon in an old Celtic cemetery, or the muted colors beneath the ocean waves. The original soundtrack is sparse and moody, expertly adding to your feeling of isolation. Because basically this is a solitary game, with only a few human encounters (and no two-way conversations), but those few do an excellent job with both acting and character portrayal.
As in the first game, the puzzles are solved with found inventory items and the information gleaned from books, and scrolls, and symbols carved in stone. They are not particularly difficult, but the search for the needed items can become frustrating and even tedious at times: we were very grateful for a walkthrough. And you can die in this game. But thankfully you can save anytime except during a video, and we would strongly recommend that you do so often, and under different names. That way you won't have to retrace all of your steps in case you get lost or miss something, and you won't have to repeat all of the parts of the more complicated puzzles.
We do wish there had been less 'busywork' in the game (like in the underground caves, the hedge maze, and the alchemy measurements), and instead more details about the research and prophecy surrounding this real life situation. But we did enjoy the unusual beauty, and the characters, and we were particularly impressed with Tobler's summation of the known facts, and conclusions about the nature of the threat. As usual, we look forward to their next game.
NOTE: A patch is available for this game to take care of a number of minor glitches. We played the game without the patch and only noticed a few minor problems that did not interfere with our gameplay using Windows 98. However the patch does make one of the stone's glyphs (skull puzzle clue) much easier to see, and solves some more severe problems that have occurred using other Windows operating systems. You can read about what the patch corrects and download it HERE.
Visit the official website for The Omega Stone to read more about the game, see additional screenshots and view a video trailer.
Developed (2003) by Omni Adventures and published by The Adventure Company. The Mac OSX version is being called Riddle of the Sphinx II - The Omega Stone.
Rated: E for Everyone (mild violence)
Minimum System Requirements:
PC and Mac Versions are on separate CDs
PC: Pentium II 300 MHz Processor (Pentium II 400 MHz Recommended); Windows 98 / 2000 / ME / XP; 64 MB RAM (128 MB Recommended); 12X CD-ROM Drive; DirectX Compatible Video Card (16 MB DirectX Compatible Video Card Recommended); DirectX Compatible Sound Card; Mouse
Mac OSX: G3 600 MHz Processor; Mac OSX 10.2.6 or Better; 128 MB RAM (256 MB Recommended); 12X CD-ROM Drive; NVidia GeForce or ATI Radeon 7500 Video Card or Better; Sound Card; 1 GB of Free Hard Drive Space; Mouse
Where To Order This Game:
OR: See our Places To Buy Games for other sellers around the world.
Walkthroughs or Hints: