The graphic puzzle adventure game genre, started for better and for worse by Myst, seems generally intent on avoiding any sort of innovation save the most minor of tweaks. Amerzone is no exception in this regard. You’ve probably heard of its better, more original offspring – Syberia. Before Microids moved on to that, however, we had to amuse ourselves with the less intersting Myst clone found herein.
The basic premise of Amerzone revolves around a big white egg, stolen years ago by a now remorse-filled explorer from the jungle paradise of Amerzone. You are a journalist who in a gesture of niceness takes a letter to the now elderly explorer, whereupon he implores you to return the egg to Amerzone, then falls over. And that’s basically the whole setup.
The game’s strong points are not in its story execution, its puzzles, or its design prowess, but in the visual concepts it puts forth. From your versatile boat/plane/submarine vehicle to the various island locales, and especially in the cinematic sequences, Amerzone’s only originality lies in some of its imagery. Just the same, a good deal of the game looks as if it could have come from Myst, or any one of its countless clones.
Unfortunately, the graphics in general are rather grainy, and while you’ll use the mouse to scroll your viewpoint around, the game still amounts to a series of mostly still, pretty images. There are sometimes items to pick up, or obscure puzzles to solve (that, in turn, lead to more pretty pictures), but that’s about it. There’s a lot of journal reading to do, as you hunt for minimal clues for locks, key codes, and other such things, but the puzzles in the game often suffer from obnoxiously vague solutions.
Amerzone is okay for what it is, and if you like a good tough puzzle hunt, the game will challenge you with obscurity and reward you with a lot of interesting graphics. Unfortunately, beyond that, there’s little in the game that lets it rise above any of the rest of the fish in the sea of Myst clones.
System Requirements: Pentium III 700 MHz, 256 MB RAM, WinXP
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