Written by  :  Jeanne (76526)
Written on  :  Aug 06, 2008
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

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Not an immortal classic, but a solid adventure that's worth playing

The Good

I had no intention of playing this game until a surprise came in my mailbox with a free copy from Viva Media, the North American publisher. Before installing, I read up on the subject to get a little background on the character. I came to the conclusion that Perry Rhodan was a good choice for the main character in an adventure game. Since it had gotten decent reviews and I have liked science fiction adventures in the past, I dove in - come what may. And, I'm glad I did.

Installation went off without a hitch. The opening movie introduces Perry's futuristic, sci-fi world, which appealed to me right off the bat. The attack on a towering structure by alien beings; a girl fighting them off in hand-to-hand combat; a glimpse of a sinister villain. Good stuff!

Once in the gameplay arena, I found a game that was both good looking and good sounding. In that respect, it is the best I've played in quite some time.

I have been known to play a game entirely without reading one word of its manual. I would suggest that you read this manual before you get too far in the game. It will help you tremendously, like it did me. For instance, the normal direction arrows I've become accustomed to weren't there. Perry can walk to only certain spots in a scene, indicated by a "spot" type cursor. When pointing to an exit, a new box appears on-screen. This contains a snapshot of the next room if you've visited it before, or an abstract if you haven't. The "look" and "use" cursor looks the same, but acts differently with a left or right click. Pressing your spacebar lets you skip through conversation segments.

The story unfolds as Perry solves the dilemmas that are blocking his progress. Except for one or two, the puzzles are integrated well into the plot and never seem added needlessly. There are a decent number of NPCs to interact with and 5 unique settings in the various out worldly locations. The characters' scripts are well written, and speech is voice-acted very well along with good lip sync.

In the end, Perry saves the universe and the girl. That's the way it should be.

The Bad

In my opinion, the UK title is much more enticing than Immortals of Terra: A Perry Rhodan Adventure. At least Rhodan: Myth of the Illochim actually deals with the subject matter. It always baffles me why some publishers think renaming a game will give it more sales appeal in the US marketplace. DreamCatcher's The Adventure Company became famous for it and did it so often that it made our heads spin. Why? Who knows. I didn't like it then, and I don't now. I can understand a title change for an other-than-English language release, but that usually wasn't the case. I certainly hope this is an isolated occurrence and that Viva Media will stop renaming games that have perfectly good titles in begin with.

As far as story is concerned, more back story in the form of cutscenes or flashbacks could have helped us understand the relationship between Mondra and Perry. Even though Mondra is talked about in the game, we have very little exposure to her other than in the intro movie. In fact, her kidnapping becomes Perry's secondary objective. Instead, Mondra's personality is a blank slate. The player can't sympathize with her predicament in the slightest.

It seems that the one item Perry needs is clear across the length of the planet. This has become the norm with many RPGs as well as Adventure games these days, probably to lengthen the gameplay time. It's still tiresome covering what seems like a mile of old terrain to get or learn something new, just to return to use it in the same spot you were a half an hour before.

Another complaint in the puzzle department is that there are hardly any clues. Some solutions were directly tied to the imagination of the developers and take mere guesswork. Be prepared for Perry's witty (sometimes sarcastic) comments about your idiotic attempts at clicking everywhere with everything.

One or two puzzles were frustrating, not because they were difficult, but because they were too far away to see. For instance, one puzzle involves adding parts to the engine which controls an old elevator. The square object (engine) is a very small part of the screen and no "close-up" view is provided. Clicking the parts on a tiny corner of the box is a ridiculously tedious pixel hunt, and one that could have been fixed with a closer view of the puzzle area.

There are only 7 normal game save slots plus one quick-save and one auto-save. That is not nearly enough. Since you cannot name your games, the save should have included at least the location with the date and time.

Finally, at the end of the game there is one particular conversation tree that, if followed incorrectly, leads you astray so that a puzzle is never revealed properly. The puzzle itself required guesswork instead of logic, at least in my case.

The Bottom Line

The story writers and designers have done a good job in recreating the sci-fi world of the 3000 year old, immortal Perry Rhodan. Considering that Rhodan and his adventures have evolved during over 40 of our years in over 2,000 novellas, it's quite a feat getting us newcomers up to speed.

Immortals of Terra: A Perry Rhodan Adventure (aka Rhodan: Myth of the Illochim) is a good introduction to Perry Rhodan, and I hope to see more games starring him in the future.

Overall, it is a solid adventure that looks good, sounds good and plays well. It is strong in the graphics, sound and mechanics departments, but could use improvement in the puzzle department. The story is good but could have been better had the relationship between the characters been developed more. Although never destined to be a "classic", this game is worth playing.