Sinkha: Hyleyn

Developer:  Marco Patrito
Publisher:  Virtual Views
Year Released:  2002

Review by Steve Ramsey (July, 2005)
Sinka: Hyleyn is not a game, but rather a graphic comic book that continues the story of Hyleyn which began with the original Sinkha, released in 1996.

As Sinkha: Hylen is not a game, you might wonder what it is doing being reviewed by Quandary. The answer is that Sinkha (the original) was, and is still, traded around the place as an adventure "game" (that is how I got my copy which is not a game), and it certainly has its fans and aficionados. Similarly, I have seen Sinkha: Hyleyn as a wanted item by adventure game players on game trading sites, so there are undoubtedly players out there with at least an interest in knowing some more about this title.

What's more, some other titles reviewed by Quandary are far more graphic novel than game (The Madness of Roland springs to mind), and persons who liked those titles might be interested in this.

As this is a continuation of the first Sinkha, and as Quandary has never reviewed that product, here is what I said about it on a bulletin board when I played it a few years ago:

Sinkha began life intended to be a printed graphic novel utilising computer generated 3D graphics, but evolved over its production phase into a multimedia experience. You read a story, supported by stills and animated images, backed by some ambient noise and an eclectic, mostly techno-Vangelis soundtrack.

It is an adventure story. Thalissar is the only city on the uninhabitable planet of Ogon. Its steel walls wail and moan, and it is hiding an unknown secret. Its inhabitants pass the time utilising biochemical induced dreams, but Hyleyn dreams of escaping Thalissar, her only hope the almost mythical Star Portals. That is until a Sinkha ship - a ship of the Gods - arrives.

The "illustrations" - both still and animated - are at times extremely impressive. The maker was a science fiction illustrator, and clearly not a bad one. The grandeur and size of space is conveyed equally as well as the claustrophobic and stifling canyons of the city. There is something Geiger-esque about some of the images, particularly one of the alien beings. It will appeal visually to fans and non-fans alike.

The images flash on and off the screen, sometimes more than one at once, they morph into each other, and zoom in and out. Intersperse them with the animated sequences, and there is always something happening on the screen.

It will take you about an hour, and is worth that much of your time.

So what of Heylyn?

It will help your appreciation of Sinkha: Hyleyn if you have previously "played" Sinkha. If you haven't, you can have a look at what is called Sinkha: First Encounter and which is included on this same CD. It is not the same first game, but it does seem (according to my ageing memory) to provide the same background story to this title.

As the story is a big point, I will say little. The description on the back of the box will suffice: "Hyleyn is no longer wholly human. Now she is one of them. The immortal Sinkha are the most advanced life form in the universe. But now something approaches from across the cosmos to challenge their near infinite powers".

I first viewed Sinkha Hyelyn about 2 years ago and without doubt the jewels in the production were the animated cut-scenes which appear periodically. I thought the very first one was exceptional. Every aspect was impressive: the movement, the light and shadow, the ambient sounds, and the images themselves. The fact, that it brought to life the steel canyons of Thalissar was a bonus. I viewed it again recently and, even now, it remains an impressive first scene, and the animations continue to be the highlight of the Hyelyn world.

The rest of Sinkha Hyleyn though ultimately left me a bit flat. The illustrations are terrific, the vista large and elaborate, the science fiction settings generally impressive. The sense of alieness and other-worldness was well constructed and the music, if a bit too anthemic at times, was well matched to the scenes. But for me the parts didn't gel, and I was left feeling that the parts were stronger than the whole.

Two other things. Hyleyn herself is too doll-ish, and nudity makes an appearance.

Sinkha: Hyleyn is viewed direct from the CD, and you can open any page you want whenever you want. You don't therefore need to save. It plays almost full screen, and you can tweak various settings. You can view it in English, French or Italian. rating:  

Copyright © Steve Ramsey 2005. All rights reserved.

System Requirements:
Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Pentium II 260 Mhz (450 recommended), 64 MB RAM (128 recommended), 16x CD ROM (32x recommended), Millions of colours, 1024 x 768 resolution (2D accelerator recommended).
Macintosh G3-266 (G3-400 recommended), OS 8.1 OS X classic mode only, Quicktime 5, 64 MB RAM (128 recommended), 16x CD ROM (32x recommended), Millions of colours, 1024 x 768 resolution (2D accelerator recommended).