Der Schatz im Silbersee (DOS)

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Written by  :  -Chris (7565)
Written on  :  Feb 18, 2002
Rating  :  0.8 Stars0.8 Stars0.8 Stars0.8 Stars0.8 Stars

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Someone needs scalping.

The Good

Not applicable.

The Bad

I can hear the wail of the Apaches from here down to the Rio Grande: their great chief Winnetou has been reduced to a second-rate clown in this miserable concoction. Oh, the shame!

Der Schatz im Silbersee is so obvious a disaster as a game that I needn't explain this in detail. But it is even more of a catastrophe from the point of view of anyone who likes, or has ever read, Karl May.

It is bad enough that the rich plot of the novel is picked into pieces that have but the loosest connection, and serve as nothing more than a framework for silly puzzles that run absolutely contrary to the spirit of the book. The novel's hero, the nerve-rackingly noble westman Old Firehand, would *never* plunder a lady's cabin. And chief Winnetou would rather die than play the dogsbody who's great moment is to keep a door open.

The inconsistencies stand out like lawyers from a group of cowboys. The book describes the lush rolling prairie in every detail over several paragraphs, but the artists' research trips obviously took them no farther than the forest behind the house -- or does American wilderness actually look like the German countryside?

It's even worse when it comes to speech. The bloodless "characters" have nothing in common with their literary counterparts apart from the name. Why do they exchange sentences of unbearable triviality when Karl May's books burst with carefully crafted dialogue and word-play? Why do they address themselves with the modern personal pronoun "Sie" if one used "Ihr" back then? If Karl May had read his Old Firehand say "Eine schöne Massivholzbar, da macht das trinken (sic) Spaß" ("A beautiful bar of massive wood, here drinking is fun"), he would have shed tears of agony. With all this misery, it's hardly even worth mentioning that there are orthographic errors in every second sentence, and commas were obviously thrown in at random.

It simply pains me when the book repeatedly stresses that any good trapper can take on ten lowly enemies at once (and in fact has its heroes do it every few pages), and then the game insists that Old Firehand shies away from a pack of four. Instead, he has to scare the tramps away. With firecrackers. Talk about harsh life in the prairie.

No matter what you think about Karl May's sometimes pompous novels, he surely hasn't deserved a treatment as careless and sloppy as this. His catchy stories, his clearly modeled characters would have offered possibilities galore, but Der Schatz im Silbersee succeeds only in dragging Karl May's heritage in the mud. You're better off if you simply read the book.

For the entertainment of the German-speaking crowd around here, I'll quote two sentences from the pathetic narrative in the manual that tries to tell the background story. They give a better impression of the game than I could in another hundred sentences:

"Sie bedrohten uns mit ihren Gewehren und ich ahnte sofort, daß sie nichts Gutes im Schilde führten."
"Ich fragte mich, ob der Tramp überhaupt noch am Leben war, denn sein Gesicht war blutverschmiert und von Zeit zu Zeit röchelte er halbtot vor sich hin."

The Bottom Line

Do you know this feeling when you have a clear image of a book's story in mind, and then its representation turns out to be so totally not what you imagined? It's the same here, only much worse. Der Schatz im Silbersee is not Karl May. And it's not much of a game, either.