Lost Eden

Developer:  Cryo
Publisher:  Virgin
Year Released:  1995

Review by Adrian Carmody (August, 1995)
leden.jpgThink back to a time before you were born, long before you were born, back to a time of dinosaurs. The Tyrannosaurs, led by their chief, Morkus Rex, have almost succeeded in enslaving the world and every creature in it including the human race. Only a few isolated and robust human strongholds have thus far withstood their assault and now great numbers of Tyrannosaurs have been sighted converging on your small foothold in the world. Such is the slightly unhistorical premise behind Lost Eden, the latest game from Cryo.

You are Adam, son of the chief of the humans. Your father has forbidden you to set foot outside the citadel fortress, but will you obey him? News of active allies reaches your ears, and in no time at all you are off on an adventure that may decide the future of humankind. Indeed, the future of the world is in the balance and you will need to rally the isolated tribes to withstand the Tyrannosaur hordes. If you are lucky and wise, it is possible you will drive the advancing marauders away, but to complete the task you must dispatch the Tyrant Lord, Morkus Rex.

Make some friends
Adam is a young man who is a kind and caring character. (A sensitive old-age guy!) During the course of the game he, or rather you, will meet many challenges and many allies who will offer you a helping hand. There is Dina, an intelligent and friendly dinosaur, and a woman called Eve (surprise, surprise) who has survived only by careful use of masks and deception. If you befriend these characters both of them will be very useful in translating languages for you. Eloi is the narrator of the story, he and his Pterosaur friends play a vital part in the game and help you to travel from place to place.

In structure and gameplay Lost Eden is very similar to Cryo's last adventure game, Dragon Lore. With the same high class graphics throughout, the atmospheric animated travel scenes tend to immerse you in a world of pre-historic wonder. The sound is well executed with a pre-recorded soundtrack that fits the context of the story and is probably best described as a kind of tribal ritual singing. The voice acting is of good quality, if a little overdone, and the characters' words are effectively lip-synchronised to the animated faces. Wonderfully drawn and animated characters liven up every screen.

The interface, too, will be familiar to those of you who have played Dragon Lore. You simply navigate your way around a scene by use of a cursor that changes shape to indicate different possible actions when it passes over a 'hot spot'. Quite often you can find things to pick up or use simply by waving the cursor around until it changes.

A touch repetitive
Conversations are pre-planned, but depend a little on what you do with each creature you meet. Most creatures require a gift of some sort before they will acquiesce to talk to you, and the nature of that gift determines the outcome of a conversation. Unfortunately, though, the dinosaurs are not individuals, a gift that makes one happy will make all of that particular species happy which does have the effect of decreasing the difficulty of the game. For example, you can persuade a certain dinosaur to tell you how to rid the valley of the Tyrannosaurs by presenting a particular gift, and then you give the same gift to the same species of dinosaur to get this information in each valley you visit. Similarly with the other helpful dinosaurs.

Each of the valleys has a native tribe of demi-humans, some resemble upright monkeys and others resemble trolls, but all play a part in the evolving crusade against the oncoming Tyrannosaurus hordes. You must save each tribe from the enemy, and in so doing you will gain their trust and help. Unfortunately, this too becomes a little repetitive when each tribe require similar actions to please them.

A few minor bugs did pop up in Lost Eden that were a little annoying. For instance, a creature can say things out of order, giving a hint as to the future when you aren't ready for it, or occasionally the weapon you need for a valley may not work. If this happens simply keep trying until it does. The most frustrating part of the game for me, however, was fulfilling the quest for the tribal chief. He would not take the item he asked me to fetch and his further instructions were so difficult to follow he left me wandering around in circles searching for the elusive person I was supposed to find. Perhaps this would not have been so difficult if it wasn't so inconsistent with the rest of the game. Every other quest was relatively clear but this one took me quite by surprise.

Three save game slots
Saving your game is a little different to other adventures you may have played. There are only three save game slots which was a little restrictive as on one or two occasions I was unable to go back far enough to retrieve that all important game that I knew would deposit me in the story before I had made my fatal mistake. Also, you cannot save your own game description, your games are named for you in terms of place and number of times you have been there. For example, visit Tammara and save a game -- it is named Tammara 1, visit and save again for Tammara 2, etc.

Most of your time in Lost Eden is spent finding lost items for people to save them from certain destruction. Luckily for you the Tyrannosaurs move slowly and never actually attack you or your allies unless you stay in a scene with them for longer than a few minutes.

Hint line
All in all, the game is not too difficult, but if you do get stuck there is a magic shell that allows you to communicate with a deceased old wise man and he will let you know what you should generally be doing. The game itself is fairly straightforward and, although you can change the order in which you do things, be warned, you do run the risk of someone important vanishing before you get to them. I found no sub-quests and most things could be solved in one, and only one, way. Compared with Dragon Lore, it is a little disappointing because of this lack of complexity.

Having said that, this game is nevertheless still a lot of fun, and would especially suit younger players or those who may be new to adventuring. There were plenty of things to do, the storyline was involving, the characters were appealing and the prehistoric scenario was utterly captivating, allowing you to explore a fascinating pre-historic landscape. For more experienced adventure players, however, it may be that it won't provide sufficient challenge. rating:  

Copyright © Adrian Carmody 1995. All rights reserved.

System requirements:
486/33 (486/50 recommended), 4MB RAM, CD-ROM