Written by  :  Maury Markowitz (248)
Written on  :  May 07, 2007
Platform  :  Atari ST
Rating  :  2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars

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Great idea, terrible implementation

The Good

Brataccas was the first game I played that seemed to work the way I thought adventure games should: no typing in arcane commands, no static graphics, no fixed layouts. In Brataccas, the world is alive with people walking around, guards watching on TV's, and a map that actually made some sort of sense. Everything is controlled through the mouse.

The game generally seemed highly "approachable". You could pop in the disk and immediately start playing; it was an action game with a plot. Hardly ground-breaking today, but fascinating when it was actually released.

The Bad

The problem was that the game was simply not playable, and for a variety of reasons.

The most obvious was the huge lag times that followed every action. Alone in a room things were not so bad, but if there was more than one other character with you, the game slowed to a crawl. This made actually playing the game annoyingly difficult.

Adding to this problem was the over-designed control system. Instead of simply moving when you moved the mouse, the game used a sort of gesture-based system where starting and stopping were separate moves. However, when you combined that with the lag, you ended up spending most of your time running past whatever you were interested in, often into walls or elevator shafts. Combat, with swords no less, was utterly laughable, as the contestants ran back and forth past each other, desperately trying to time the swing just right.

It might have been salvageable if not for the fact that it was also seemingly impossible to figure out how to actually win. The manual deliberately left everything out to make it an adventure, but as is all too often the case, what seemed obvious to the designer was utterly opaque to the player. I have heard that players have managed to actually win the game, but I could never figure it out.

The Bottom Line

A good bit of history, but I'm not sure you could describe it as "fun".