Review: The Immortals Of Terra: A Perry Rhodan Adventure (PC)

The Immortals Of Terra: A Perry Rhodan Adventure
Genre: Adventure
Developer: Braingame
Publisher: Viva Media
Release Date: June 30, 2008

When it comes to science fiction, you’re either going to be a lover of it or absolutely hate it. I mean really, do you ever find someone that just “kinda” likes Star Wars? Nope, you either find someone that is obsessed with the damn film or detests it more than life itself. As for me, I’m one of those people that loves science fiction, but not all of it. You won’t see me checking out Battlestar Galactica, but you will catch me enjoying some Fox and Mulder on X-Files.

Star Wars is awesome. Star Trek sucks horribly. Metropolis is not my cup of tea. Sphere is completely and totally phenomenal. It is all a matter of opinion though, and just because I’m not a fanboy of the science-fiction genre doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the occasional film, book, or video game. So when I was graced with Immortals Of Terra: A Perry Rhodan Adventure; I knew it was going to be either love it or hate it. Only time and some gameplay would let me know for sure.

Story / Modes

It is the year 4934 AD and you are in the 1346 New Galactic Era. Your name is Perry Rhodan and you are an immortal space officer living on a space station that is currently under attack. As officers and other staff rush to defend the station and repair damage that has already been done, your friend Reginald Bull (aka Bully) has you cornered in a room and won’t let you through. You soon find out why as he lets you know your friend Mondra Diamond has been kidnapped by the robotic forces attacking the station. You must find Mondra before it is too late, and as you travel along on her trail… new, dark, and interesting discoveries are revealed that prove there is a lot more to this kidnapping then you are led to believe.

Perry Rhodan is someone I knew virtually nothing about, but for some reason the name sounded familiar to me. After some research it was revealed to me that Rhodan has actually been the title character of a series of science fiction novels, a space opera, audio plays, comic strips, and countless other things for the past fifty years. German created Rhodan has taken on worldly issues including the Cold War, the peace movement, and more, and made them into science fiction stories that deal with problems in space. A rather interesting concept quite honestly, and this would be the first time he has been transformed into a video game.

The story itself may seem rather simple in that Rhodan is in space and needs to try and find his kidnapped friend Mondra. But as you play, you’ll realize that there is a lot more to the story then originally portrayed. Mysteries start unraveling dealing with everything from weird space cats to murder. It does take some getting used to if you know nothing about Rhodan as I really don’t, but it starts to come around and things clear up here and there. I can’t say that my mind wasn’t in a state of confusion often, but maybe that’s just the way it is for someone who isn’t too well read on the immortal Perry Rhodan.

Story Rating: Good

Graphics

From a graphics standpoint, Immortals Of Terra first appears to be visually stunning. The layouts and backgrounds just seem to suck you in with their depth and intricate details. As you play more though, that’s when the little problems here and there show up, making everything not as perfect as you once thought. No glaring issues make it too noticeable or distract you from gameplay, but it is obvious, most of all, that the characters were never really meant to interact with the background scenes. The backgrounds were drawn first, and then characters were put in on top of them to be free-roaming, but without the ability to accidentally bump into anything.

The characters look really good and the interaction as they speak and have conversations makes them look realistic. A number of cut scenes are dispersed throughout the game which actually tell a lot of the story without gameplay necessary. These cut scenes have been done quite nicely and keep you glued to them instead of looking around thanks to some nice visuals and good animation.

Graphics Rating: Very Good

Sound

Now here is where my affection is won if you’re a film or video game in the world of science fiction. For some reason or another I just love the sounds of computers or the actions done by hitting some big red mystery button. Immortals Of Terra does all of that to complete perfection, making the zapping noises of lasers sound authentic while every switch that is thrown on the spacecrafts makes some weird sound worthy of being straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

What makes the sound for this game even better is the wonderful musical soundtrack implanted through the various stages. Instead of getting all high tech and sounding like you’re in a club, you get these glorious epic numbers that make you feel as if you are drifting through the farthest reaches of space. At times it made me feel like I was a kid again and pretending to be in a spaceship with my friends traveling to far away planets. The mood is just captured exactly right, making me feel like it is me who is out amongst the stars.

The voice talents are good, but they come off as rather robotic at times. It never quite feels like they’re reading with any personality; just straight off of the script or a bunch of cue cards. It wasn’t too bothersome, but this is the one and only real complaint in the sound department.

Sound Rating: Enjoyable

Control / Gameplay

It appears as if we’ve finally gotten to something that would deter me from playing this game over and over again, and it is the gameplay aspect of things. First of all, let me get the good things out the way, and that’s dealing with the puzzles. Most of them are quite easy to figure out, and I don’t mean solve. When it comes to the ease of figuring them out, that means the process of solving them is simplified enough that anyone can figure out what they’re supposed to do. Figuring out where to go next or what to do next is also made easier by a scanning function made available by the device on Perry’s wrist. It allows you to check out the whole room at once and what can be used or what doors are accessible are all pointed out to you.

Now onto something a little different.

Other aspects of the game just get frustrating at times, and that includes the point and click method of movement. Movement can be done quite easily if you can ever get to it. Sometimes it takes you forever just to go on to the next scene because you are doing an immense amount of reading. History is all well and good, but present it to me in a better way than having me become super literate. Throw on top of that the fact that you can never skip past any talking between the characters; no matter if you’ve heard it once or fifty times, you have to sit through it. You just have to sit there and take it again and again and again.

As for moving around and solving puzzles, the controls are easy and great. Getting to them makes the gameplay incredibly frustrating.

Control/Gameplay Rating: Mediocre

Replayability

Immortals Of Terra has all the possibilities of being a game that can be played over and over again. Most of the puzzles are really enjoyable and take some real thought to get through them. Not every puzzle is that way because a couple times you’re just going to be searching around for stuff to open doors or get things activated. Pretty much some seek-and-find crap that will get you to the next level, but they’re still alright. It’s being able to relay your answers to the puzzles that can get frustrating at times. You may know the solution in your head, but trying to interpret it to the game can be mind-boggling.

The game’s backgrounds are so beautiful to look at that I wouldn’t mind just seeing a slideshow as my screen saver. Seriously the game looks that damn good at times, but in order to see all of those wonderful images… you have to sit through the long ass conversations that take almost half of the replayability right out of this game. Not being able to skip conversations or even speed them up gets so incredibly frustrating that there were moments I wanted to just turn the game off and come back later when I was ready to handle it.

Replayability Rating: Decent

Balance

Things progress nicely in Immortals Of Terra so that you move along from simplistic puzzles to those that are a little bit more complex to some that are downright infuriating at times, but that’s how they should be. What’s cool about that is seeing a story told on different levels without blatantly publicizing it. Perry Rhodan’s mystery is able to continue right along without missing a beat, but your puzzles are going to go from easy to extremely hard as you move further and further into the game. Sounds about right to me.

Believe it or not, you may actually have to write some stuff down at times in order to make it through a particular puzzle. Took me straight back to my days of playing Shivers. Man, I’m going to have to dig that game out.

Besides the difficulty rising as you get deeper into the game, more stories and clues start getting unlocked as well. The story here is so deep and complex that it almost seems endless at times. When you think something has been figured out and you’re well on your way to rescuing Mondra, another situation pops up that requires you to go in another direction. Nice work of being able to incorporate so many different little tidbits and storylines into one big game.

Balance Rating: Great

Originality

When something is coming to video game land for the first time, it’s hard not to call it original. Perry Rhodan has been around for decades in every form of media imaginable, but never has he fallen into the world of gaming until now. The story is unique and actually made me want to do some research or read up on the characters so I could learn more about their past. I kind of want to see whether or not anything in the novels or plays is connected to what was presented here in the game.

Then on the other hand, the gameplay itself is nothing new. Pointing and clicking, searching and retrieving, it’s all been done before elsewhere so in a way I felt at times like I was playing a less complex version of Resident Evil. There are no battles (zombies) happening and Perry can’t really die since he is immortal, but the puzzles and methods of solving them reminded me of many games that have already come my way.

Originality Rating: Above Average

Addictiveness

My God have I never wanted to play a game so much and then just lost all interest in doing so when my butt hit the computer chair. It’s the damn talking and reading that kills me. Go ahead and call me illiterate or tell me I’m an “action monkey,” but you’re wrong and that can be said with a guaranty. My brain comprehends reading and loves figuring out different puzzles while being given tons of knowledge to have to comprehend and sort through. If there are fifty pieces of scrap paper spread around my desk and pens that have run dry all over due to figuring out word puzzles or having to reexamine paragraphs that are hiding clues then I’m a happy camper.

But when you don’t let me do it at my own pace, then consider myself done with you. I just can’t handle listening to the dragging conversations from these robotic sounding bastards who are being presented flash cards to read from. And if I wanted to read one of Perry Rhodan’s novels (which I do), then it will be done when it is “reading time,” not while I’m trying to solve some puzzles. Ugh!

Addictiveness Rating: Bad

Appeal Factor

I’m willing to bet that there will be a huge crowd of Europeans that want to dive right into this game. Obviously they’ve been presented with Perry Rhodan’s adventures more then anyone since he originated in Germany. Might as well throw in anyone who is a diehard science fiction fan and loves everything space related. Those people are going to eat this game right up. You can include all of those with an extreme amount of patience in this group too. Even if they could care less about the future and space stuff, the game is fun enough with the puzzles and all for anyone to enjoy it. But they’re going to have to have the patience of the elephant who sat on the bird’s egg waiting for it to hatch.

If you have ADD or ADHD, you might as well just forget about it.

Appeal Factor: Decent

Miscellaneous

Nothing else really comes to mind here when thinking of extra stuff. The game is fun to play with some really great puzzles making you use your mind for once instead of just your hand-eye coordination. The story is very deep, but takes too long to come forth. Talking = bad!

I will say this and maybe it was only my copy, but there were some issues playing the game after a couple days playtime. It loaded just fine the first time and there were about three or four days of gameplay with no problems. Then came a few errors not letting me load the game. Uninstalling it completely and then reinstalling it didn’t help because now it wouldn’t load at all. Next I tried moving away from the laptop and loading it on the desktop, but had the same issues. Weird considering it played just fine for the first couple days.

Miscellaneous Rating: Bad


The Scores
Story: Good
Graphics: Very Good
Sound: Enjoyable
Control / Gameplay: Mediocre
Replayability: Decent
Balance: Great
Originality: Above Average
Addictiveness: Bad
Appeal Factor: Decent
Miscellaneous: Bad
Final Score: DECENT GAME



Short Attention Span Summary
Immortals Of Terra has so much potential with a well established character that doesn’t need an introduction really even if you’ve never heard of him before. You’re going to get plenty of backstory and a lot of knowledge keeping you well informed throughout the game. The puzzles are intimidating but fun. Gameplay is kept simplified enough that anyone can figure it out. But the aggravation stemming from all the reading and the non-skippable conversations between characters sucks all the life out of you and half the fun out of the game. After a while it made me feel like I was at an insurance convention trying to stay awake. And I work in insurance so what does that tell you? It tells you that if your patience is only half of what it should be, then stay away from this game or risk severe damage to your fist from going through the screen.

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