Gold and Glory: The Road to El Dorado
Miguel and Tulio have a rollicking story of comradeship and high adventure to tell in this game. If you've seen the Dream Works movie then you'll immediately recognise that the two adventurers are retelling how they saved El Dorado from the clutches of Cortez. I haven't seen the movie so this review is a reflection of how the game stands on its own.
Well it is undoubtedly lots of fun, jam packed with action, and puzzles, and humour, and with two spirited heroes who are destined to climb out of the frying pan and into the fire at every step. The 'feeling' of the game and the relative simplicity of the puzzles and problems clearly stamp it as one for younger players but it is so much fun that everyone can join in and enjoy it. The graphics are rich and colourful and the characters are beguiling with clear, cheery voices accompanied by subtitles throughout. The action packed cut sequences literally skip the game along as the story unfolds and, if I had any complaints to make here it would be that it could have been longer. I think that maybe a couple of the cut sequences covered too much territory, too fast, and left the story floundering somewhat for those who haven't seen the movie. But, not to worry, the gameplay is entertaining enough to make up for this shortcoming.
At the beginning of play you'll soon discover that Tulio and Miguel don't actually set out selflessly to save El Dorado as they have plans of their own for its riches. They are a couple of amiable tricksters living somewhere in Spain and wanted by the law for past misdemeanours. They need to run away and, by pure chance, they stumble across a map to El Dorado. Well if you have to run away, you might as well head off in search of fame and fortune, so that's what Tulio and Miguel do. With the help of the player they'll climb out of every scrape and fall into the next ... and, with a bit of luck, save El Dorado from a terrible fate. J
In Spain getting out of town is the first problem. With only 1 peseta in their pockets the tricksters have to turn it into 20 or even 40 pesetas unless they can find another way past the guard who is guarding the docks. This then entails using fair means or fowl J, teasing a raging bull, playing dice and getting hold of a disguise before the task of physically boarding the ship and subsequently escaping after being thrown promptly in the brig ... and the tests go on.
These tests require some clever thinking and planning and very quickly young adventurers will learn that teamwork is the name of the game. Sometimes Tulio takes control of the action; sometimes Miguel ... and sometimes the player must shift between the two and work out a cooperative strategy to get things done. The problems posed in El Dorado are always fun, not too easy and never too difficult. Just to help matters along either Miguel or Tulio will have some good suggestions for solving the current dilemma.
El Dorado was first released for the console market so it doesn't make use of the mouse. For young computer users this means that some keyboard dexterity is required for character navigation. Mostly this navigation is at a slow pace and not too demanding but the heart-pounding finale where speed is crucial might mean that younger children will need some assistance. There are also 9 or 10 keystrokes to memorise including the arrow keys for navigation and others for inventory access, for running and crouching and for interacting with the gameworld. Very usefully, objects that can be acted upon flash invitingly so that the player doesn't miss them.
Copyright © Rosemary Young 2001.
All rights reserved.
Windows 95/98/Me, PII 233 (PII 300 recommended), 8Mb Graphics Card capable of 640x480 and 32 bit Colour (16Mb Graphics Card recommended) 100% Direct X 7 Compatible Sound Card, 32Mb RAM (64Mb RAM recommended) 466Mb Hard Disk Space, 4x CD ROM Drive