Mysterious Journey II: Chameleon

14Mysterious Journey II is a sci-fi game that is riddled with problems, and try as I might, I just couldn’t enjoy it. You awake from a 214-year cryogenic sleep on a deserted space station, only to be told that this slumber was your punishment for nearly destroying your homeworld. No time for guilt, though: you’re also notified that the station will soon crash into the planet. You play from a first-person perspective, but all of the story elements are spoon-fed to you via third-person cut-scenes. Annoyingly, the intriguing premise never manages to go anywhere meaningful or interesting.

As in love-it-or-hate-it adventure games like Myst, almost all the locales are devoid of, well, anyone, so it’s a journey many will spend feeling alone and without reason to push forward. Even worse are the ridiculously tough environmental puzzles. Unless you’re a member of MENSA, chances are you’ll need a walkthrough to finish the game. For example, one conundrum early on requires you to tinker with four obscure dials to unlock a doorway. To gauge your success, you must continuously travel to another part of the space station to look through a pane of glass to see the result of your actions. Sheer pain.

Puzzles get much more complicated and even more obscure throughout this 15-hour adventure, including the task of building multiple bridges on the planetary surface — it’s like the Rube Goldberg game. Puzzles in a good adventure such as The Longest Journey or Syberia help tell the story or add some dimension to the characters, and they aren’t absurdly grueling to solve.

System Requirements: Pentium II 400 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 100 MB HDD, Win95

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