The Lords of Tantrazz
|a game by||Atlantean|
|Editor Rating:||8/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
|Rate this game:|
And I quote: "Join super-agent Veronica Callahan on a deadly seek and rescue mission! And just when you think you've got it all under control, all hell breaks loose!" The Lords of Tantrazz is basically an on-screen comic book with voice-overs by Alice Cooper and music by Kane Roberts. You will be clicking through a series of still drawings, hearing voice-over dialogue as you go. Atlantean describes the game as a "CD-ROM SCI-FI Adventure." Yes, it comes on a CD, and it does have a science fiction storyline. But in this case, I would use the word "adventure" lightly.
When I first read the game features on the back of the box and saw that "interactive gameplay" was listed, I knew there might be some problems with this title -- interactivity is implied if the product is a game. To advertise a game as "interactive" is like advertising a horse as a quadruped. Ironically, though, I didn't find it very interactive at all, at least not in an interesting way. True, you must actually click the mouse to continue through the game, but besides solving a few rudimentary puzzles, that's all you will do: click to see what happens next. Imagine going to see Braveheart or some other movie and having to click every few seconds to get to see more of the movie -- would you call that a game, or an annoyance? You decide ...
To be fair, though, there are a few other features to the gameplay that I should mention. As you go through the game, you will pick up objects and put them in your inventory. You will need to use certain objects in certain places to continue. But although this adds an extra element to the gameplay, it is really a superficial one. When you reach a spot where you need to use something from your inventory, a button with the letter "I" on it will appear in front of you ... "hmmm, what should I do here?" You don't otherwise have access to your inventory, so it's a no-brainer in the truest sense of the term. Furthermore, there is always one object that will work in a given situation, and finding it is easy, because your inventory screen will only allow you to select that object to use in that spot. Again, no brain cells needed here.
The only brain work (and satisfaction) in this game will come in solving the occasional puzzle. Some of these are pure reflex testers, requiring you to click quickly and accurately on blinking, colored objects. Others require a smidgen more thought, but are nowhere near challenging. The puzzles are all self-contained and self-reliant, meaning that you don't have to get something or see something somewhere else to solve them. Trial and error in moving pieces of the puzzle around usually wins, which shows that even the harder puzzles are really simplistic in nature.
All this results in a game that presents little challenge to an adult or experienced gamer. With any effort at all, you can walk through it in a few hours -- add a little more time if you get stuck on a puzzle (there's no way around one or any optional game path), but you shouldn't have that problem. The gameplay was the biggest (and most crucial) downfall of this game.
The artwork is rather nice, if a bit sexist and juvenile. How many butt-shots of our heroine or views of her protruding nipples do we really need? A lot, apparently, because that's what you'll get. But as I said, the artwork is nice. The colors are rich, the environments interesting. Still, it's not enough to compensate for so many other areas where the game fails to make an impression.
Another one of the game's self-touted features is its animation ... exsqueeze me? Animation? That which does exist is fleeting or superfluous to the action. Most of the gameplay operates on that series of still pictures I mentioned. For instance, in chapter 3, "Thrill Kill," you have to shoot a couple of bad guys to get through a particular area. Here's how it works, visually: One moment the bad guy is not there; the next he magically appears, in a still pose that suggests that he's running, although he doesn't move. You shoot him. You get a still picture of him being blown backwards. You click. You get another picture, this one with his eyes popping out and splatting on a wall. Cute, but not very "animated" in the traditional sense. Of course, animation is basically a series of still pictures, cycling fast enough to imply motion. But here, motion is only implied through the postures of the characters in still pictures, and to me, that's not animation. I would also say that an object which needs to be clicked to cause movement is not animated.
I suggest that next time Atlantean use Alice Cooper for the music and Kane Roberts for the voice-over. The way they've got it now seems backwards. Cooper's voice-overs are supposed to be intimidating and scary. After all, he plays a character called "The Hunger" and has a solid history as the king of Gothic Rock. But in reality, the voice-overs come across as funny, and this unintentionally provides the best entertainment in the game! Every time I hear the title audio, I just crack up. The music was typical metal fare, and the only problem with it was in the opening video, where you had to sit for 3-4 minutes hearing "Reckless" by Kane Roberts before you could play the game at all.
Recommended: 486-33 MHz, SVGA video card 640x480, 4 MB free RAM, 8 bit Windows compliant sound card, 2X CD-ROM drive, Windows 3.1 or higher, Quicktime for Windows or juicier (provided)
Reviewed on: P-120, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, Diamond Stealth 64 video
A glossy, art-covered pamphlet with snippets of cool lettering and no real information about the game beyond System Requirements and a brief story line.
I would advise most players to steer clear of The Lords of Tantrazz. If you're an Alice Cooper fan, you may snag it if you see it in a bargain bin. But Cooper doesn't really have a big role until the very end of the game, so even then you may be disappointed. There is little originality here, and the deficiencies in gameplay warrant a score no higher than 39.