Adapted from the comic strip Thorgal, created by Grzegorz Rosinski and Jean Van Hamme, Curse of Atlantis: Thorgal's Quest puts the player in the lead role of Thorgal Aegirsson, a Viking warrior who must tread the path between reality and a magical vision to save his son. As with many titles in The Adventure Company's repertoire, players must solve puzzles, explore bizarre and exotic locales, interact with dozens of NPCs, complete multiple quests, and unravel a mystery (in this case, the Curse of Atlantis).
As the story plays out, progress is tracked through hand-drawn illustrations in the form of a comic strip (the Album). Curse of Atlantis relies heavily on Norse mythology, contains brilliantly drawn 3D graphics, features fluid animation, and offers multiple story paths. For players new to the realm of 3D adventuring, the manual offers a walk-through for the first five minutes of gameplay, where Thorgal begins his quest in a Viking village.
In the 7th century: While Aegir, the God of the sea, covers the countries of the north with his uncontrolled anger, the courageous Thorgal Aegirsson tries to find his way to his home island, where he is longingly expected by his beloved ones: by Aaricia, his wife, his son Jolan and his daughter Louve. But in face of the angry divinity, whose outbursts of fury he had to endure more than one time full of sorrow, Thorgal prefers to wait until the uncontrolled elements get quiet. Only a fool would be so senseless to provoke them again.
Thorgal, who was well received in a viking village, must desperately find out, that all roads, which lead away from the village, are paved with the worst dangers. It is rumored about a horde of merciless marauders. While from the canopy split by Thor with an enormous thunderbolt the floods fall down on earth, Thorgal's bitter thoughts hang around his family and the up and down of his fate. Is it impudent, wishing to live in peace and harmony ...?
In the village Thorgal meets a mysterious old man: Noral. Noral gives Thorgal a magic mirror, which shows his fate ... The vision is gruesome: Thorgal watches, how he spears his own son Jolan with a deadly arrow. Braving gods and humans, Thorgal must travel to the borders of space and time, to protect his family and to solve the secrets around this terrible vision.
In this adventure you play Thorgal Aegirsson, who tries to save his son. Therefore he must find his way home first. He must reach the other side of the island in a (dangerous) journey. On his way he has to solve several puzzles of course and to visit many locations (viking village, spaceship, in-between-world (between death and life), the bandits' castle and his home island).
The story develops during the whole game so that one can never predict what will happen next. Thorgal meets several characters. Some of them are dangerous, but Thorgal's strategy does not include frontal attacks to overwhelm opponents. He prefers more elegant solutions, tricking the enemy to win fights. Thorgal is a peaceful human and tries to avoid violent confrontations. If that doesn't succeed (and of course this often happens ;-) the gamer must come up with something, what is sometimes no simple task.
There are also many dialogues, which run off automatically - you only have to click on a person. You can't select any sentences and so affect the action somehow. The dialogues are informative and not too lengthy. You never get the feeling of talking too much. The whole game is played in full-screen-mode, only the video sequences are in a wide screen mode (with black bars at the bottom and top).
All puzzles are very logical. With some puzzles you'll need some time, but there is never a dead end of thoughts. There are some time limited puzzles and several tasks where you can also die. If you die, you must load a savegame.
The puzzles are different: e.g. combination puzzles, a beautiful rune game (that - once solved - can be replayed again and again as long as you want - great!), shooting with bow and arrows at various moving targets (simple, if you exactly know the target ; -), a 3D-puzzle.
Loading screen: Each chapter has its own "title page", which appears during loading process.
The menu is very simple to handle. It is not very large, contains however everything you need: Save, Load, Options (with sound and graphics settings) and a log book (later more about that). "Thorgal" can be played by up to 5 different users, savegames and settings are separately stored for each of them.
"Thorgal" consists of 3D-characters and rendered backgrounds. Those backgrounds are very beautiful and highly detailed, colored, very lifelike, but with a highly visible comic touch, although it is actually only a "touch". The 3D-characters also succeeded very well (if I say this, then it's a homage, because I'm a convinced realtime-3D-hater). Nothing impressed me here in a negative way.
The game is totally mouse-controlled. You only need the keyboard, if you want to exit a video sequence with the Esc-key. The inventory is also very easy to handle - just use your right mouse button. In addition to the collected objects there are some links: option menu / save load menu / log book. If you take up an object, it's briefly first shown on the screen, then it disappears into the inventory.
If you want to use an object, you open the inventory, click on the desired item and pull it to the place, where it (according to your opinion) belongs. If the opinion was wrong, the object again ends up in the inventory. Some objects are badly visible, however twinkle occasionally, so that the player finally still can discover them.
Saving games - one can save at any time (except you are in the middle of a timed puzzle), but there are unfortunately only 9 save slots (far too few).
The log: The log is briefly said a summary of what the player already experienced and this summary can be opened any time. That is nothing new and often offered in adventure games, but it became a special bonbon here, since the whole summary is represented by comic drawings.
I enjoyed "Thorgal" very much. It is beautiful, with an interesting story, logical puzzles and no dead ends. It could have been somewhat longer, but it's surely not a short game (like e.g. "Road to India"). The game is recommendable.
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