Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
Because our list of games to be reviewed is so extensive, we had planned to delay playing this one until a later date. But in the process of looking the game over for preview purposes, we became so captivated with it that we couldn't leave it alone. And we think that you, and your entire family, will be too!
It is a new version of the famous 'Episodic Speech Adventure' that was first produced in 1994 by Lisa Tunna and Paul Carrington for the old Amiga computer, but which they have now updated and reconfigured to run smoothly on your modern PC. They are publishing the 3 original games in 12 different 'Episodes' sold individually for a nominal price, but each episode is a complete (and surprisingly lengthy) game by itself. And Episode One, 'The Crypt', is FREE!
The simple background story is a classic fairytale. Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Valhalla, a twisted and evil man known as the Lord of Infinity killed his brother, the good King Garamond, and usurped the throne. And he then ordered the death of all those loyal to Garamond, which of course resulted in civil war, destruction and despair throughout the land. He also decreed that the little Prince, Garamond's 2 year old son and rightful heir to the throne, be drowned. But the little Prince was never found, having been spirited away by the good Bishop to a neighboring kingdom and there raised and schooled in wisdom and justice and taught the true history of his people.
But it is now 14 years later and the little Prince has come of age. And he has come back home: back to Valhalla to destroy his father's murderer and take his rightful place as King of this once beautiful land.
This is a God's-eye-view, 2D, 3rd person, point & click adventure, with inventory (the little Prince's rucksack) and subtitles. The game itself is played on the 'screen' of a virtual TV-like box called the Vulcan Portal, which also contains all of your options within view at all times plus some unforgettable characters. Note! The Vulcan Portal is no longer used with the game (see picture at bottom of review), but is still available for various communication purposes.
Installation of the Vulcan Portal is almost as much fun as the game itself, and we heartily recommend that all of the gamers in the family be present for it. Choose your guide for the game from a motley assortment of eager 3D potential candidates, enter the name that you want to be called (even creating a virtual representation of yourself if you so desire), and adjust both the speed and inflection of their voices to suit your fancy. Then sit back and enjoy the fun as they all come alive (!) and finish installing the game for you: self-upgrading and checking on any missing files, adjusting the 'servers' (complete with sound effects), and even sending and receiving any voice mail to other portal users for you. And all the while talking to each other and to you personally (in a choice of 6 different languages), and commenting on everything from what time of day it is to how popular you are!
Once they decide that everything is in order and say 'let's do it', the game proper begins. In Episode One, the little Prince must find his way through the many dangerous rooms of 'The Crypt', avoiding the traps and locating the 4 Orbs of Infinity which will ultimately provide him access to the inner Castle.
The graphics are detailed and sharp, and the sound effects and voices are absolutely perfect. And the puzzles themselves are excellent: not too easy or too hard, logical, fun to do and downright addictive, with a comment and fanfare to let you know when they are solved. He can get hurt or die in the traps and there is only one save slot, but more are not really necessary since he is helped all along the way with bottles of stamina potion, journals with stories and hints (which are read to you by your guide), and even detailed maps of the trapped rooms.
But the real charm of this game lies in the dialogue of the little Prince himself. He is adorable: a miniature munchkin with a disarming innocence and sly sense of humor, who looks up and talks to you. He had us in stitches from the start with his all-too-human observations, and he had completely won our hearts by game's end.
It's a great little game, a marvelous remake of an old-style adventure, and one you certainly don't want to miss. Recommended for the whole family!
© February 2002 Mr. Bill and Lela
Developed (1994 - 2006), published and sold by Vulcan Software.
Rated: E for Everyone (mild violence) - Mr. Bill's Rating
Minimum System Requirements: PC Only!
PC: Pentium 133 MHz Processor; Windows 95 / 98 / 2000 / ME / CE / XP RC2; 4 MB RAM; DirectX 7.0 or Higher; 3D Accelerated Graphics Card; Direct Sound Compatible Sound Card; Approximately 15 MB of Free Hard Drive Space (For Vulcan Portal, Speech Engine, Language and First Episode, The Crypt) (Approximately 9 MB For Each Additional Episode); 56k minimum Modem Speed
Where To Buy This Game:
Vulcan Software Download all 12 Episodes (approximately 9 MB each). Episode One 'The Crypt' is Free, and you pay for each additional Episode. Or you can buy all 11 Episodes at one time for a much better deal.
Walkthroughs or Hints: