Eternal Journey: New Atlantis
The story of Atlantis is one of the oldest legends in western civilization, and it holds as much fascination today as it did over 2,000 years ago. Whether it be an allegory on hubris, a thinly veiled reference to the destruction of Thera, or an overblown tourist trap in the Bahamas, the story still resonates even today, especially in Alawar's new adventure hybrid Eternal Journey: New Atlantis.
Amrite Stone, the heroine of the story, is an archaeologist working on the newly discovered ruins of Atlantis with her fiancé Michael. The first building uncovered, the temple of Mars, has been shielded with a handy geodesic dome allowing for an archaeological dig without all that pesky scuba equipment (or, at this depth, all those expensive submersibles). Pretty soon, though, the story takes an unusual twist, and next thing you know Amrite is participating in a rollicking sci-fi adventure that travels to some pretty unexpected places. If this doesn't say much about the story, well, that is deliberate as there are some pretty interesting plot twists that are better experienced first-hand. Here's a hint: pay attention to the word new in the title.
Eternal Journey: New Atlantis has the basic bells and whistles of most adventure hybrids, a changing cursor to indicate different areas of interest and navigable areas, a bottom-loading inventory, a refilling hint timer, a handy notebook to keep track of the story, sparkles of light to highlight items to explore (which are absent in the advanced mode), etc. While there are some interesting hidden object scenes and puzzles in the game, the emphasis here is on the adventuring aspect. Best of all is the map feature which allows instant jumping around without a lot of tedious back-tracking.
Analysis: First of all, it's a refreshing change not to be battling demons, ghosts, ferocious dogs, or psychotic witches in Eternal Journey: New Atlantis. Instead, what Alawar has produced is a fantastic science fiction adventure that journeys far beyond the "traditional" Atlantis. Think less Atlantis and more Stargate: Atlantis, although the story itself is not related to that beloved TV series.
The production values are everything you would expect from Alawar, including the usual stunning graphics and haunting soundtrack. Amazing animations also contribute to the adventure but stunning graphics and animations are not exactly uncommon. What is uncommon these days is what Eternal Journey: New Atlantis delivers in spades: a fantastic story! Most adventure hybrids have a storyline that could be summed up in two sentences and the ending can be seen usually within the first 20 minutes of play. Not so here, as Alawar has taken great pains to create an involved and involving adventure, but we shouldn't be surprised, these are the folks who brought us the Snark Busters series and Dark Strokes: Sins of the Fathers.
The hidden object scenes, what there are of them, are definitely up to snuff with a lot of interactivity involved, including "secondary" scenes hidden within the main hidden object scenes. The adventuring aspect is top-notch and rates with the best of the hybrids and is a fantastic complement to the amazing story. Where the game falls down, if only a little, is in the mini-games and puzzles which are all very familiar and at times a bit too easy. Considering the quality that is present everywhere else, though, this is a minor quibble.
Eternal Journey: New Atlantis is an amazing science fiction adventure wrapped up in an exquisite bow. The two modes of play ensure that a wide range of adventure fans can enjoy this marvelous story in all its glory. Time to forgo the ghosties, ghoulies, and long-legged beasties and set off for a kick-butt adventure to the stars! Or the bottom of the ocean. Whatever!
A Collector's Edition is also available. It includes wallpapers, extra gameplay, and a built-in strategy guide. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions, and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.