Wrath Of The Gods
Ancient Greek myths have been the point of inspiration for more than a few computer games in the past. The trouble is, most of them seem to take their subject far too seriously. That's an accusation that certainly can't be levelled at this light-hearted graphic adventure from Maxis. It has its tongue firmly in its cheek from start to finish.
The game falls vaguely into the category of edutainment, in as much as it seeks to convey much of the background to the legends that are linked to form the plot. But that shouldn't put off prospective buyers who want to play the game purely for entertainment value.
Bom to be wild
The hero of the piece is a young Grecian, abandoned at birth and brought up in the wild by... get this... a centaur. After enduring a nightmare few years bringing up his surrogate child and having to delicately answer questions like "Daddy, why haven't I got hooves and a tail like the other children?", the centaur finally calls it a day and sends the young man out into the big wide world to prove himself. And prove himself he does, because in the course of his travels he encounters situations from the myths of Heracles, Jason, Perseus and all the other Greek heroes rolled into one.
So, our hero finds himself fighting off the many-headed hydra, stealing the golden fleece, recreating the famous flight of Icarus, and meeting all sorts of creatures; from Pegasus the winged horse to the cyclops, the evil Medusa and the gods themselves. Strangely, all of these characters have American accents and none of them seem to be taking life as a living legend particularly seriously. In fact, the whole thing is played like a rather camp joke. Which is just as well really, because it's not as if you can go around treating stories of flying horses with any degree of earnestness.
Wish you were here
It's not just the sense of fun that has been injected into Wrath of the Gods that makes it so attractive; each of the scenes has been digitised from photographs of genuine Greek locations. In places, it's almost like wandering through an interactive holiday brochure. Overlaid on these are 300 digitised films of the actors that play over 60 different characters. Unlike many products of this nature, the production quality is quite high, and the different images blend more seamlessly than is normally the case. One of the nicest aspects of the game is that it has been purposely designed as a non-linear adventure. Puzzles do not have to be solved in a rigid sequence, although objects you obtain by solving one Puzzle may be needed to solve another. You can always see where you are in relation to other locations in the game by calling up the map screen.
Luminaria seems determined to avoid the frustration factor that is so much a part of many other adventures. You cannot, for example, die. At least you can, but when you do, you'll end up in Hades. Here you find yourself in the midst of yet another puzzle: how to get Charon the boatman to ferry you back across the river Styx and into the land of the living. It is never possible to find yourself in a situation in which you are stuck, with no way to get back on track.
There is also a sophisticated help system in the form of an oracle, who will happily give you hints, provided you have the required points to exchange for them. If you need further aid, you can always get info on any of the quests you are engaged on. It as at this point that the product comes firmly in at the educational end of the spectrum. The information takes the form of an illustrated text which details the real heroes who undertook each quest and then fills in the background and context of each story.
More myths maybe?
Luminaria was set up in 1991 by Joel Skidmore and Jeff Cretcher. Wrath of the Gods is the company's first project in a planned series of adventures based on significant cultural and historical events. It has taken a year and a half to develop, and has involved the work of almost too people. There will be other, similar games to follow, all of which will use the same high quality, film-like production techniques. Plans are vague at present, but games based on Mayan and Inca cultures are very strong possibilities. If the beta version of Wrath of the Gods is anything to go by, there should be plenty to look forward to from Luminaria in the future.
Download Wrath Of The Gods
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP