Inherit the Earth: Quest for the Orb
First released way back in 1994, Inherit the Earth caused barely a ripple in the
computer game playing pond which is a shame because there is quite a lot to enjoy here for
adventure fans. At the time of its release I remember thinking that it was a children's game,
but I was probably influenced more than I care to admit by reviews in the "in your face"
magazines. Sure, it's a fairytale-like yarn that older children might enjoy, much the same
can be said about Sierra's Kings Quest series, but like King's Quest it will probably appeal
to a range of 'young at heart' adventure players.
Inherit the Earth is set in a 'green and pleasant' future where humans have disappeared leaving
behind only a few artefacts and a legacy to the 'Morphs', as the various (surviving) animal
tribes call themselves. The Morphs walk on two legs and believe the humans gave them the 'Four
Great Gifts': thinking minds, feeling hearts, speaking mouths and reaching hands.
The story opens at a fair where Rif, a personable young fox, loses the problem-solving contest
he expected to win ... to a rat! This is the least of his problems, however, as the tournament
is interrupted with the news that the Orb of Storms has been stolen. Rif is falsely accused
of the theft by the belligerent boars and to prove his innocence he must recover the Orb from
the real thief ... or else! To make sure he complies, his friend Rhene is held captive by the
boars and he is to be accompanied on his quest by an elk named Eeah and a boar named Okk.
In this third-person perspective adventure you control Rif as he sets about tracking down the
Orb. His journey will take him out of his familiar surroundings and into unknown and, at times,
dangerous territory. The obstacles to overcome are in the best adventuring tradition of finding
and using items and talking to other characters, most of whom will help if you first help them.
In addition there are three or four mazes that are not too difficult to navigate and one tangram
puzzle that held just enough challenge to make it fun to complete.
The perspective in this game is particularly noteworthy as your view is from slightly above
the characters and is similar to that used more recently in games like Sanitarium. This, within
certain limitations, allows your character to roam freely against a continuously scrolling
background. Travelling around is easy, which is just as well as there is a lot of exploring
to do and many errands to run. Click to a point on the screen and Rif will walk there, hold
the left mouse button down and Rif will keep walking in that direction as the background scrolls
by. A useful travel map aids in covering larger distances between locations.
Inherit the Earth is a bright and colourful game, though the graphics are, of course, showing
their age. The action window takes up about the top two thirds of the screen with the inventory
and command interface taking up the rest. The command structure is simple and intuitive and
your proposed actions appear on the status bar which separates the interface from the action
screen. Familiar enough to any one who has played the early LucasArts adventures. Saving and
restoring is easy and other options include on-screen text and individual level settings for
music and sound. The CD version has voices throughout, though I believe the disk version only
has voices for the introduction.
Though not a complex game it provided me with an entertaining diversion for a couple of days.
My only disappointment was that the ending came with a rush and the animation took over and
completed the game for me. As I said earlier, it's an entertaining fairytale-type story, ideally
suited to players who are young enough -- or old enough -- to appreciate its delights. The
denouement had a nice twist that left the opportunity for a sequel, unfortunately, it doesn't
appear now that there will be one.
Copyright © Gordon Aplin 1998.
All rights reserved.
386 or higher, 4MB RAM, 1MB hard drive space, DOS 5 or higher, CD
ROM, mouse, soundcard. Also floppy disk version.
Now available from July 2003 on CD-ROM
for Windows 98, ME, 2000 and XP
2007 update: New release of the game is also available on
Mac OS X, Linux, and Pocket PC.