Journey to the Center of the Earth

16_1Journey to the Center of the Earth is the Syberia that was forgotten and berried under six feet of concrete, and for good reason. You would think the game’s title would promise a game based on the Jules Verne classic, but this is hardly the case. The story in Journey to the Center of the Earth has virtually unrelated except for its location. You assume the role of Ariane, a determined, young photojournalist on assignment in Iceland. While exploring a remote area, her helicopter crashes and she spots a secret passage down into the earth. Upon entering the passage, Ariane discovers a hidden underground world.

Journey to the Center of the Earth consists of six sections that divide the plot into separate chunks. You’ll go to a lot of different places, all of which contain diverse scenery and cultures. For example, you’ll see an arid desert, a coal mine, a crystal cave, a dense tropical jungle, a floating island, and more. You’ll also visit an institute of higher learning that bears a remarkable similarity to the one found in Syberia. Most of the settings don’t look underground at all.

10_1The range of puzzles in Journey to the Center of the Earth is of the typical sort found in most item-based adventures. And you’ll be carrying items in the double-digit range here, so if you hate the kind of adventure game that relies a lot on item puzzles (which degenerate at times into annoying pixel hunts), then you might want to pass on Journey. The puzzles don’t always feel artificially grafted into the game, but they do turn stale quite quickly. It’s often a question of finding item X, bringing it to location Y, and combining it with item Y to open some inconveniently sealed door.

And with a game that puts so much emphasis on finding each and every inventory object, Journey can becomes more than a little tedious when you miss something important. Some of the game’s hot spots are so tiny, you have to spend inordinate amounts of time moving your mouse over every inch of the screen to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Plus the game doesn’t bring forth any other high points to make up for this rather annoying deficiency – the pre-rendered graphics, through high resolution, can’t being to compare with Syberia. The story is equally humdrum, and the acting won’t win an Oscar.

System Requirements: Pentium III 500 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 600 MB HDD, Win95/98

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