The game runs without problems in Firefox browser. Chrome and Edge may crash when unzip game files.
Gameplay: Puzzle elements
Published by: Cryo Interactive Entertainment
Developed by: Cryo Interactive Entertainment
Having mastered the release of historical adventure games from the first person, Cryo Interactive did not want to leave their favorite mythological-fiction theme to the mercy of fate, deciding to launch a new computer adventure in this direction on the rails of the progressive Omni3D engine, successfully tested in Versailles 1685. Johan Robson was involved as a screenwriter , who had previously created, among other things, KGB and Lost Eden - the storyline he invented eventually unfolded into a whole pentalogy that thoroughly outlived Cryo itself: the last issue in the Atlantis series was born already in 2006.
The choice of the legendary mythical island, mentioned in Plato's dialogues, as the scene of action, just allowed the developers to combine a more or less realistic style, reminiscent of the world of antiquity, and the free flight of their author's imagination. Atlantis appears before us as an ancient and very advanced civilization that even mastered aeronautics; while the city-state of Atlantis is governed exclusively by queens, from time to time electing a prince consort for themselves from the winners of youthful competitions. There is also a fairly developed system of religion, in which the priestesses of the Moon goddess dominate the male priests of the Sun god. Our hero's name is Seth; he had just been elected to the so-called "companions" - the personal guard of the ruling queen named Rhea, and therefore to potential rivals to her current spouse Creon. But before we arrive at the palace for our further service, we find ourselves drawn into a network of partly detective, partly mystical events: the queen disappears, the "companions" are declared almost outlaws, and all the threads of our suspicions are drawn to the prince consort, obviously who does not want to allow competitors to participate in the upcoming next competitions and who has planned something completely bad and even magical. The history of our attempts to counter Creon's plans turns out to be very large-scale, so that in the course of the investigation, Seth will have many adventures - and visiting not only different corners of Atlantis itself, but also several completely remote lands, including Svalbard (fantastically populated by Eskimos) and "Para Nua" (must presumably Easter Island).
As you might guess from the mention of the Omni3D engine, all these exotic places with their sights appear before us in the form of colorful panoramic pictures with a 360-degree view in any direction and with animated movement between discrete locations. A curious technical feature of Atlantis: The Lost Tales, as well as its legitimate heirs, in comparison with the purely “historical” adventures of French developers, is the cursor, tightly fixed in the center of the screen: you need to look around with the free movement of the mouse. As such movement progresses, arrows with the direction of possible movement or similar indicators will appear on the "blank" screen, hinting at the availability of interaction with any object or character - a very good solution in terms of immersion in the virtual world, although from the point of view of gameplay it is similar the position of the cursor often means a forced need for pixel hunting for hotspots.
You can “release” the cursor by pressing the right mouse button - an inventory bar with slots for collected items will appear from the bottom of the screen; the main menu is called up by pressing the ESC button, but for some reason the game settings are not saved after the exit, so each time you have to, for example, re-enable the display of subtitles for numerous dialogs. At the same time, topics for conversations are selected by clicking on the icons, which are images of objects or characters - the identification of such difficulties does not cause, although why it was not possible to make signatures for them, as well as inventory items, is not clear. But when talking with characters (of which there are more than a dozen), you can admire another Cryo proprietary technology - OmniSync, that is, synchronization of the lips of the characters with the words they speak in French (or other) speech.
At the same time, the three-dimensional images of the Atlanteans and other people we meet are very high quality, even by modern standards, not to mention the mid-late 1990s - the authors did not spare the polygons. The graphical execution of the locations is simply gorgeous, both artistically and technically. An important role is assigned here to the sound component - surrounded by hostile court factions, Seth sometimes has to move literally by ear, guided by all sorts of squeaks and rustles. And the music written by Pierre Esteve and Stéphane Pic can only be described in excellent terms: luxurious melodies, created and recorded using folk instruments from various regions of the world, can still be purchased separately on the authors' website (receiving a set of illustrations as a bonus and materials about the creation of the game).
Alas, some shortcomings of the actual gameplay of Atlantis: The Lost Tales do not allow us to classify this game as a masterpiece for all time, despite its visual and audio merits noted above. Many dangers lie in wait for Seth at every turn, turning into death and the “Game over” screen - while another strange decision of the authors is the inability to save the game manually: progress in the passage is remembered only automatically and at certain points in time. Fortunately, the "checkpoints" are located here quite close to each other and the need, in the event of an awkward hand movement, still does not threaten us to replay an impressive piece of the game. However, not everyone will like the arcade inserts, which include actions for time or speed of reaction (for example, in the case of archery at a running boar) - which turns around here the ability to deftly handle a fixed cursor. However, the game also lacks the usual riddles with inventory items, and especially puzzles: there are a whole dozen of the latter. I must say that this kind of puzzles are very diverse - from "fifteen" to assembling a mechanism from gears - and for the most part quite logical.