PC REVIEW: ALIDA

Like a storyline in a porno or a love interest in a comedy, who needs it?

That seems to be the philosophy behind Dejavu World's, story-less puzzle game Alida. Created in the tradition of Myst, Alida is full of fantastic-looking scenery juxtaposed with strange machines and devices that seems all at once ancient and futuristic. Puzzles fans are probably drooling right now but you should be warned that this game appears to be built on an engine that is ancient and not very futuristic.

Alida has some kind of a story but I was under the impression that a story is supposed to have a plot. What is presented here is more or less information. What you're doing here and why is never really addressed. It's just one puzzle after another. They do all tend to relate in the end but they are essentially arbitrary. It's a lot easier to make them all connect to a big picture after the fact than to have them relate to each other in interdependent stages.

Alida is the name of the deserted island which was once in the process of being turned into a theme park. The island was owned by a popular band also named Alida and is in the shape of a giant guitar. Some woman wants you to investigate the island in hopes of finding her missing husband. You'll find notes, recordings and other tidbits of information but you'll never find yourself drawn into the storyline. With virtually no dialogue, music or interaction with other characters the feeling of isolation is already substantial which is only further exacerbated by the lack of motivation and involvement between the principal character and those that seek his assistance.

As in Myst, the scenery is incredibly beautiful and realistic. It's art. But like a painting, the scenery is static. It's presented in 2D. This is a videogame, remember? You can't explore the painting.

There is an immediate interactive environment with various walkways, caverns, rooms and gadgets that you will use as your arena. All of your actions are of the point and click variety. The nature of the puzzles dictates that there will be lots of pointing and clicking. Often you'll have to backtrack to engage the various machines and gadgets. It becomes tedious after a while as it seems like some of the puzzles are padded to make them seem more involved than they really are. Essentially a make-work project.

Alida is like a gorgeous girl with a low IQ - not unlike Paris

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System: PC
Dev: Dejavu Worlds
Pub: Got Game
Release: Aug 2004
Players: 1
Review by Stew XX
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
2.5
MUSIC/FX
1.0
VALUE
1.0