|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Braingame||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Viva Media / Deep Silver||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
From a third-person perspective, you'll guide Rhodan around by clicking the mouse on the different elements of the environment in any given scene. The cursor changes to indicate whether an item can be interacted with or picked up. The point-and-click controls are functional and basic, but they're nothing special. Veteran adventure gamers may only use it as a last resort, but tapping the S key to scan the screen and reveal any hotspots definitely keeps things moving along.
Combining inventory items and using them on different hotspots makes up a substantial portion of the puzzle aspect of the gameplay. Clues to solving these puzzles are often subtly buried in vast reams of text uncovered by researching in computers or examining inventory items. This causes players to have to do some actual thinking and detective work at times. The game does suffer from a few wildly unintuitive puzzle challenges, though they're mostly reasonable. Rhodan's personal wristband computer will keep you on the right track with objectives, but it's not always clear what the next required course of action is.
Between examining for usable items and clues to the puzzles scattered throughout the route, you'll also get an earful from the human and alien inhabitants you meet along the way. Some of what they've got to say is interesting, but the inability to skip through the more boring elements of dialogue can be problematic, if you accidentally trigger a conversation you've already had. The voice acting is a little campy at times, yet it fits the game well. Humor pops up in strange places, along with some eyebrow-raising moments. In once instance, a rather burly alien with a long snout is murmuring about how he's lost his pals and needs physical contact; he offers a snuggle. Later on, you'll run into two strange beings arguing on in painfully screechy high-pitched voices about who will keep a stuffed dolly. Then, of course, there's getting hit on by the scantily clad space chicks at a seedy "odor" bar on a disease-ridden mining colony. Rhodan, you stud.
Overall, The Immortals of Terra is a pleasant surprise. The gameplay could use a little spice (some form of combat or other elements would liven things up nicely), but it's an impressive game - both visually and in terms of the expansive sci-fi universe laid out before you. There's some serious potential here for the series to take root on North American PCs with a sequel. The Rhodan mythos contains far more intrigue left to be explored. Lovers of all things sci-fi would do well to give this one a go, and keep your eyes peeled for any signs of life of future installments.
CCC Staff Contributor