Written by  :  Jeanne (76613)
Written on  :  Nov 22, 2004
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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A little too short - but good while it lasted

The Good

The graphics and music outshine everything else about this game, but I don't mean to say that the rest is crap .. because it isn't.

The story flows well from beginning to end. It keeps you interested as Spendius, your character, jumps through hoops to advance from one area or problem to the next. What starts out as one lover trying to marry another becomes a battle of factions (Carthage's armies verses mercenaries) and an all out war! This is where the strategy elements come in, but they're in the form of adventure puzzles in which you decide where to position the different troops to defeat the enemy on a battlefield.

Most of the puzzles are based on inventory items, but some are part of conversations. Choosing the wrong answer could lead to Spendius' death! Luckily, after dying, you are put right back where you goofed so you can try again. There are plenty of true adventure puzzles and they were well integrated into the story line.

The voice acting is excellent for all of the characters. I wish, though, that the actors who had more than one person to portray had tried a little harder to make different characters sound separate an apart. (A change in accent or tone perhaps.) Lip movement is very good 90% of the time with a few close-ups not being quite in sync. No biggie there.

I also liked being able to choose whether to have subtitles on or off and choosing from different screen resolutions. Although the game point-and-click interface is easy to use, the movement cursor was a little to foofoo for my taste - it's a weird pointing finger. I prefer a neat and simple arrow over the fancier types. Inventory is easy to find and use and I was pleased at least to see words describing the objects. Items magically disappear after their last use so things are kept tidy. Saving and loading games is a breeze, but I would have liked to name my own saves. As they are, you'll see a picture and a date and time only.

The Bad

Besides the fact that the game is too short for my liking (I finished it in a little over 1 day!), I didn't have any problems with installation or gameplay. But, I wanted more than 10 save game slots .. and I kept getting lost in the scenery! Too much of the terrain is alike and very easy to get turned around in. Panning around in 3D can also make for a dizzying experience.

The Bottom Line

Fantastic graphics and beautiful music are the best things about Salammbo. The story is a truly different one with a plot unlike any other adventure I've played. Some of the puzzles are challenging, especially since there are few clues for them. This is a good game if all you want to spend is a day playing. Value for the buck? Not too good. It won't take long for it to appear in bargain bins.