The Immortal (DOS)

Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  EboMike (3135)
Written on  :  May 31, 2002
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Atmospheric. Chilling. Oh, and the death animations!

The Good

The death animations. The death animations. The death animations. Hardly any other game has spent so much love and detail into depicturing the demise of the hero (only Mike Woodroffe's games, like Elvira, come to my mind). You often catch yourself deliberately dropping the worm bait to see the monster shoot through the floor, tossing the hero through the air before swallowing him and disappearing, leaving only some blood behind.

But even without those, the game is very slick: The story holds some interest, and only during the final showdown with your mentor, Mordamir, do you finally understand what the heck was going on all the time (and why reading the runes ended the game instantly without any sort of explanation!).

The Bad

The sound - on any version other than the Apple IIgs - is a let-down. And of course, the game can be frustrating - you can only save after completing a level. So if you die (and you WILL die often, trust me on that one), you'll end up having to do the same procedure again and again and again.

The game is also very linear - once you've solved it, there is not much incentive playing it again (other than to re-enact all those death animations). If you do play it again, you'll notice how staged things are. The characters are just waiting for a certain point to speak their lines and hardly ever react to outside interference.

There are some interesting points where you can actually branch off the beaten path, but these are way too few.

The Bottom Line

It's not a game for everybody, but I loved it. In fact, it's been my favorite game for quite some time. The game is just oozing with atmosphere (especially on the IIgs version with its great soundtrack). It's good to see that Will Harvey did not try to bring humor into the game - this way, the integrity of the dark scenario remains untouched.

I remember playing Cadaver once - at some point, your hero is squashed by two big blocks. What you actually see are those two blocks quickly moving towards the player, and then - nothing. Just the stupid sound that indicates "Game Over". How I wished that Will Harvey would have been in charge there. It may sound like I'm picking on a detail when I keep mentioning the fabulous animations of The Immortal, but they're essential to the atmosphere. Immortal would feel less like a gripping story and just like a Pacman computer game without them.