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ZOOM Aztec: The Curse in the Heart of the City of Gold
$9.95 (Win95/98/ME/XP) (Retail) (AZTECPR)

Released in the US as The Sacred Amulet

France Telecom Multimedia / Cryo Interactive Entertainment

Game

Ratings:

A from Just Adventure

1917. Mexico-Tenochtitlan

The Capital City of the Aztec Empire.

You are little serpent, a young huntsman. You live a simple life and there does not seem to be anything that could disturb it. Until one day, when out hunting you come by chance upon the murder of a nobleman who gives you mysterious information before he dies that you should never have heard... Soldiers accuse you of the murder, a crime which you did not commit. They have taken your parents hostage to force you to give yourself up.

A strange illness is eating away at the country, the doctors are powerless. A few meager clues make you think that this perhaps has something to do with your own misfortunes.

Will you know how to use these clues properly? Be careful, there is danger everywhere and you do not have much time. Choose your friends well. Unmask the traitors. There will be many intrigues...

Your destiny has changed completely. The fate of the Aztec world rests on your shoulders, and on yours alone.

The historical environment has been validated scientifically by specialists well known for their knowledge of Aztec civilization. Certain architectural and musical extrapolations have been made to compensate for some gaps in specific knowledge.

The animation of 50 characters with facial animations in real time 3D is used to show all the varied facial expressions and gives true-to-life dialogues.

The very many lavish cinematic scenes reinforce the dramatic intensity of the story. 3 in-depth game modes: adventure - exploration - encyclopaedia

Requirements:

Windows 95/98/ME/XP: Pentium 166 (PII 233 recommended), 32MB RAM, 8x CD-ROM drive, 8 Mb available on the hard drive, 2 MB graphics card supporting 65000 colors, sound card, mouse, Microsoft DirectX 6 (supplied on the disk).

If you have problems, there is a patch for this game.

Reviews:

Just Adventure by Tom Houston and Ray Ivey

Tom:

"Cryo's latest edutainment game, as those before it, offers three modes of gameplay: the adventure game itself, an exploration mode in which you can visit the sites and simply "look around," and an encyclopedia mode where you can search through the "authenticated" documentation and refresh your memory or learn about the Aztec civilization.

" The encyclopedia mode of gameplay reveals fascinating historical information about the following aspects of the Aztecs.

  • The Empire: The origins, government, laws, and heritage of the Aztecs.
  • The Society: A look at the social order of the Aztec culture, the warriors, priests, and merchants.
  • Religion: The gods, including the two principal mythical kings, Quetzalcoatl, the plumed/feathered serpent, who represented the divinity of civilized, sedentary, refined beings and symbolized the renewal of the earth's bounty and fertility, and Tezcatlipoca, the jaguar/smoking mirror, who was a warrior god, deceitful and who some say used his powerful spells to conquer Quetzalcoatl.
  • Mexico-Tenochtitlan: The capital city, its architecture and palaces.
  • Civilized Life: The language (Nahuati), writings, arts and crafts of the Aztecs.
  • Agriculture: Food and entertainment. "

"...Little Serpent embarks on a journey of adventure and intrigue that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will need to use your wits to escape or avoid perilous situations. You will need to choose your friends wisely in order to learn the identity of and expose the real traitors. The story unfolds quickly, and the pace of discovery and excitement never wanes. This is the best story development of any of the edutainment games from Cryo to date and, as such, you will "enjoy the adventure." The story receives an A+."

". In spite of my disappointment with the attention given to the music, sounds, and voice acting in Aztec, this is a very good game that everyone should enjoy. The strengths provided by an engrossing story line, excellent graphics, and integrated, logical puzzles far outweigh any criticisms."

Ray:

"One result of such "in your face" visual reality is that it's sometimes a bit of a challenge finding your way around. Some players of Cryo's China complained about this problem, as there was a baffling sameness to the red buildings of the Forbidden City. This challenge is much milder in Aztec, and I'm actually not complaining about it. Like Outcast with its aliens that all looked alike, the mundane reality of the architecture in Aztec strikes me as a legitimate and realistic part of the challenge of the game. After all, if I really was humble little Little Serpent, wandering around the great city for the first time, I'm pretty sure all the buildings would overwhelm me and that I'd have to stop frequently for directions. The same with houses, huts, shopping stalls, etc. Again, the atmosphere of Aztec is one of everyday reality, although in a setting that's exotic to a 21st century person. This balance between the lure of flashy graphics and a desire to create a real-seeming environment strikes me as pretty tricky, and my hat's off the Cryo team for pulling it off so well."

"Back to the historical veracity thing. The game designers are so serious about the authenticity of the environments presented that the game even allows you to play the game in "visit the site" mode. No, this isn't a hyperlink to Cryo's website (yes, I admit that's what I though it was); it's simply a game mode that lets you wander around the Aztec environments. This is not something I would want to do as a player, but hey that's just me. I still admire the drop-dead nerve of the designers that this feature illustrates. How many games have virtual environments so authentic they're downright educational?"

"... enjoy Aztec! I did."

Quandary Computer Game Reviews by Rosemary Young, June 2000

"The story runs strongly through the game and gives a good introduction to Aztec political rivalries and power struggles even without the accompanying educational component. Still, the educational component is equally strong as there is information catalogued on numerous aspects of Aztec history, culture, language and everyday life. This information can be accessed from the opening screen; from the ‘documentation’ icon during gameplay, or by simply selecting tagged objects throughout the game. For instance, everyday objects such as baths or kilns may be tagged as well as people and places including significant buildings. By selecting any one of these tags the player calls up a documentation file where there is relevant information on the selected topic and further hyperlinks to related topics."

"Aztec was produced in consultation with a team of archaeologists so as well as telling an interesting story it recreates some fascinating Aztec environments to explore; everything from humble dwellings to prestigious temples and palaces where information can be found on all sorts of objects. As with other similar titles, the player can choose either to enter the adventure game or to simply explore the game world in ‘Visit’ mode. This latter mode allows access to all locations simultaneously and offers the chance to leisurely sight-see and read all about anything that looks interesting.

"Because of its relative simplicity (this game really does take you by the hand and lead you gently through the story) Aztec is best suited to younger players who will find some interesting and entertaining challenges and learn about Aztec life in the process..."





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