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ZOOM The Legend of Lotus Spring
$9.95 (Win95/98/Me/XP/Mac) (Retail Box) (LOTUSSPRDR)
$9.95 (Win95/98/Me/XP/Mac) (Jewel Case) (LOTUSSPRDJ)

Publisher: Women Wise / DreamCatcher Interactive

Game

Ratings:

A- and B from Just Adventure

            

A Classic Adventure of Life, Romance and Love Lost

Embrace the tragic love story of the beautiful woman called Lotus Spring and her forbidden lover, as you are transported on their romantic quest. Based on true events, this classic adventure comes to life as exquisite images, animation and the unfolding story takes you on a whimsical journey to the enchanting Garden of Perfect Brightness.

Incredible 3-D graphics

Discover the magical Garden of Perfect Brightness

Encounter fascinating characters

Stunningly beautiful animation

Immerse yourself in breathtaking surroundings

Requirements:

Windows 95/98/Me/NT/XP: Pentium 166 MHz (Pentium II preferred), 32MB RAM, minimum 10MB hard disk space, 8x CD-ROM drive (16x preferred), 640x480 display, 16 bit color, Windows compatible sound card.

Macintosh: Mac OS System 7.5 or higher, PowerPC 90 MHz, 16MB RAM, minimum 10 MB hard disk space, 8x CD-ROM drive, 640x480 display, thousands of colors.

The Legend of Lotus Spring

The Legend of Lotus Spring is an adventure story based on a true romance that happened over a century ago. Historians worked with our developers to recreate the Garden of Perfect Brightness, an 800-acre, secret hideaway for the privileged elite of Beijing. The compelling romance partners a ruling emperor and the concubine he loves, until she mysteriously disappears.

Throughout the adventure you travel within the garden and collect objects central to the story. Beautiful animations occur among detailed and colorful graphic representations of the culture and art surrounding the azure lotus pond in the storied Garden of Perfect Brightness. As the story unfolds, a Diary fills with the poems and mysteries of the forbidden romance, along with accounts of interesting rituals of goddess worship, courtship, and Chinese legends.

History Recreated

It's a bright Autumn day, cool and crisp.

But inside the Temple of the Flower Goddess, darkness reigns. I reach for some matches, light a nearby lamp, and my search for Yuan Ming Yuan, the Garden of Perfect Brightness, continues.

Well, one hundred and fifty years ago, it could have continued.

The Garden really did flourish then, in a spacious setting just outside Beijing. But the Garden, and its many temples and artifacts, was completely destroyed by French and British soldiers during China's Opium Wars; with it a classic legend of history, culture and romance was nearly lost forever.

Now, the Garden blossoms anew, thanks to digital media... It's all based on a true story, set in the real world of China's Quing dynasty, which flourished some 150 years ago.

The real Garden of Perfect Brightness was destroyed more than 150 years ago. But some of the original construction plans survived, as did contemporary descriptions of the Gardens found in personal diaries, imperial poems and official archives. There are even some photographs of the ruins, taken by foreign tourists not long after the destruction.

Working with these sources, and having visited the site and spoken to Chinese cultural historians and archeologists, Lifeng Wang was able to painstakingly re-create not just the Gardens, but temples on the grounds, furniture inside the temples, even tapestries hanging on the walls. These elements give Lotus Spring a rich even luxurious feel.

Reviews:

Mr. Bill's Game Reviews

"Although this game is being promoted as a 'woman's story', we both thoroughly enjoyed it for two reasons. First of all, we love gardens and this game is the carefully researched virtual recreation of one of the most famous gardens in all of history. We could have simply wandered through it for hours, looking at the flowers and trees, wonderful wildlife, and landscape design. As a matter of fact, after we finished the game we did just that. Secondly, without appearing to be educational, the game gave us a real feel for Chinese culture, tradition and art..."

"The setting is history's most magnificent garden, Yuan Ming Yuan (Garden of Perfect Brightness) outside of Beijing, China, which took 6 generations of Qing Emperors over 150 years to build and spanned about 900 acres, with a fairyland of hills, ponds, lakes, ancient trees and palaces, filled with one and half centuries of imperial treasure collecting. Tragically, it was burned to the ground, lost forever, in the autumn of 1860. The romantic story or legend, which takes place shortly before this date, is also tragic. The Qing Emperors (the last feudal dynasty of China) were Mongol rulers who had conquered China and ousted the existing Ming dynasty (who were of the Chinese Han people). The Mongol Qing Emperors set up rule from the Forbidden City (the imperial complex) in Beijing. An Emperor was allowed (and expected) to have many concubines, any one of which might be made Empress. But, because the Qing conquerors feared that intermingling with the conquered (but more numerous) Chinese Han people might result in the loss of their power, one thing was strictly forbidden by Law from the beginning: no Emperor could have a Han girl in the Forbidden City; none could be a concubine or become Empress. But the Han girls were very beautiful....

"Qing Emperor Xian Feng fell deeply in love with a Han girl, whom he named 'Lotus Spring'; he hid her away in the Garden and there they whiled away their days of love. But the Empress found out about it and, with the Law on her side, had Lotus Spring imprisoned and isolated. Dying of loneliness and a broken heart, Lotus Spring has apparently committed suicide. As our story begins, Xian Feng, hearing of the tragedy, has gone to the Garden to try to recapture and relive their love, and to try to make some sense of and understand what really happened....but what he discovers there is the true beauty, mystery and magic of eternal love.

"Although set up like an adventure game, with a small inventory and puzzles to solve, the game is primarily an interactive evolving story of a romantic legend. As you visit the various locations and examine artifacts or solve a puzzle, you unravel one more chapter in the story..."

Just Adventure, by Ray Ivey and Darcy Danielson

Ray: The "game" simply consists of wandering around the beautiful garden and interacting with mementos from Lotus Spring's life. The "puzzles" are so light as to almost not be there. But in this game, that's not really the point. This game is about exploration and discovery, not puzzle/problem solving. ... Everything about Lotus Spring is poetry. The graphics are beautiful, often heartbreakingly so. Especially lovely are the animations you trigger during your explorations. Some of these are so remarkable that they bear repeated viewings. ... Playing The Legend of Lotus Spring is like falling into a heady, moody, beautiful, romantic dream. ... Final grade is B.

Darcy: Be prepared to immerse yourself in a portion of the history of China, as well as its music and overall feel. The pleasure of being able to even just walk around in an environment painstakingly recreated from historical documents is truly astounding and worth the price of admission. ... There is a lot to look at and examine. Activities result in rewards of animations and added pages in the book. To the seasoned gamer this would be a bit disappointing, but to those that enjoy visual games with the accent on the immersive environment, to wander around in this would be right up their alley. This style of gaming is reminiscent of the games done by Japanese designer Haruhiko Shono, who made L-Zone, Gadget, and Alice, which were all pretty much click-through fests, although in Alice you were to find and collect a full deck of cards, a bit more task than the others. And this is more similar to Lotus Spring as there is a story here to be found out and told, and tasks to be done to accomplish this. ... I was pleasantly surprised to find the graphics gently feminine without being condescending. The prerendered scenes are visually stunning. Navigation is quite intuitive. The animation is spectacular eye candy... I give it a final grade of A-.

Adventure Gamer by Heidi Fournier (3/9/00)

"However, the Legend of Lotus Spring is also special for another reason. It is a game the whole family can play. If this game were given a movie rating it would be G. In direct conflict with a great many adventure games released in the past year, there are no ghosts or ghouls, no violence, no overt sexuality, none of the things lawmakers like to point to, to explain the rise in juvenile crime. In fact, this game is squeaky clean and completely appropriate for families who like to gather around the computer for a good story."





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