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Beyond Atlantis II (Windows)

73
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.6
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  אולג 小奥 (164965)
Written on  :  Aug 21, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2.83 Stars2.83 Stars2.83 Stars2.83 Stars2.83 Stars

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Summary

Clueless coldness

The Good

I played and enjoyed (to a certain degree) Atlantis II, one of the better Myst-like adventures; it had plenty of atmosphere, nice graphics and music, interesting locations and characters. However, the game was often severely (and fairly) criticized for being too obscure and difficult.

The sequel is most certainly less so. The puzzles in the game are, generally speaking, of the same kind like as in the predecessor: lots of arranging, turning, spinning, and collecting. Though the similarity is obvious, the difference is also noticeable. Here, the puzzles are slightly more connected to the story and are generally significantly easier than in Atlantis II.

As in the previous game, you'll be visiting plenty of exotic locations, including the good old Shambala and other countries such as ancient Egypt, Baghdad of the Middle Ages and even the Snow Age. Personally, I was more fascinated by Ireland, China and Mexico of the predecessor, but this is a matter of taste.

The Bad

The story of this game simply makes no sense. The previous game (almost) got away with it because of its deliberately "dreamy," otherworldly premise. Here, we control a modern-day character, who becomes involved in a series of bizarre journeys and encounters, but there is absolutely nothing to hold the whole thing together. You always hope for some really interesting showdown with the villain, for the final piece of puzzle that clarifies everything that was unclear, but nothing of that sort ever happens.

This is made worse by the total lack of charm and appeal in the game's characters. They are uninteresting, to say the least - they usually serve as mere clue-givers or appear without any reason. The villain has no personality whatsoever, and the imaginary locations are lifeless and empty; most of the time, there are no real characters to talk to. The only exception is the cool Egyptian mummy in the first part of the game.

The biggest letdown, by far, is the heroine herself. She is indifferent, distant, and very cold. Even when she's being attacked or a corpse comes out of a sarcophagus in front of her eyes, she doesn't display any emotions. Her actions are implausible and unconvincing, culminating in the ending, which is truly bad.

The puzzles aren't too frustrating, but most of the game advancement is as clueless as in the predecessor, without a solid gameplay system to tie it together. Many tasks are absolutely illogical and downright strange. The whole dolphin business was unnecessarily complicated, and there was also some very annoying pixel-hunting, which is made even more difficult by the game's limited movement possibilities.

One word about the graphics. Sure, the backgrounds look good at first sight, but they are all pre-rendered, so there's always a certain deadliness in them. There are many FMVs where things are actually animated, but otherwise, the game is as static as the rest of the series. As for the 3D characters, they never look real, I always had the impression they were some sort of dolls.

The Bottom Line

There is some atmosphere and a few interesting puzzles to find here, but a complete lack of coherent narrative coupled with cold and unattractive characters make this game inferior even to its already problematic, but certainly more impressive predecessor.