Alida (Windows)

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Written by  :  Jeanne (76526)
Written on  :  Sep 04, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars
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More a puzzle game than an adventure

The Good

I couldn't help but nod when I read another review which stated "It's fitting that Alida was created by a developer called Dejavu Worlds, because this point-and-click adventure will make you feel like it's 1993 all over again ...". I totally agree. Nothing about Alida is really new. The way it was designed .. its looks .. its gameplay - all of it feels like it should have been released 5 or 6 years ago. First released for MacIntosh computers, it took almost two full years for it to become available for the personal computer in Windows form. So, technologically speaking, the Windows version was "dated" before it ever got off the ground.

The best part about the game has to be the graphics. They are lovely and the single artisan who designed them added many small touches in the way of textures to make them appear real. Animations are driven by the QuickTime engine on the 2D, low resolution backdrops. There are several animated movies which contain the only information you'll find about Arin and what is going on. In addition, you'll take several awesome, animated rides in underground carts.

The Bad

Because the game ships with 5 cds, it stands to reason that there will be disc swapping. To forego that irritable task, you can do a "full install" - but not within the installation routine itself. You must copy all of the files from the other 4 discs to your hard drive manually.

Alida looks best in 640x480 resolution but can be run in 800x600. When the higher resolution option is chosen, the gameplay screen is very small. Again, you must change that manually .. or just live with it.

You are set upon the Alida island 10 miles off the coast of Australia and gameplay begins on a balcony overlooking the sea. The introductory movie gives you very little to go on - a woman (whose dialog is hard to understand) simply tells you to find her husband, Arin, and return him home to her. Who in the heck Arin is and why he is involved on the island is not explained. It doesn't take long for you to discover some machinery that needs to be looked at or played with. What on earth it does and why it's important is also not explained. But, that's not unexpected because Myst was the same way.

There are some beautiful outdoor screens, but way too much of the game is played indoors - actually mostly underground.

All of the puzzles lead you to playing a massive musical instrument - a guitar. I consider myself to be "musically challenged" - completely ignorant about the simple anatomy of a guitar. So, I was at a loss just figuring out some of the terminology. The puzzles themselves are not terribly difficult, once you figure out what it is you're supposed to do. (A walkthrough helps tremendously, I might add, although there are differences between the MAC and Win versions.)

This is a game about a band and a guitar, but there is very little actual music within the game itself. I would have liked to hear the song that made the Alida band so rich, but not even its title is given. What a shame. The sound effects are minimal too.

And where are the rides in this supposed theme park? You won't find any or even hints of such.

Lastly, I never really cared one way or another what happened to Arin. The character was not fully developed and his personality remained hidden.

The Bottom Line

If you are one of those who still prefers Myst and derivatives of it, Alida may be right up your alley. It is definitely more a puzzle game than an adventure, in my opinion at least. It's not a bad game ... just not a good one.

I think this may be the last Myst-clone I will ever play - and I've played loads of them. I have finally decided that I'm tired of travelling around in solitude surrounded by weird contraptions just to achieve an end that doesn't matter anyway. An adventure needs to be much more than that for me. I need more story, more character interaction, interesting places and things.