>> Thursday, December 6, 2007
As a tribute to the loss of the CD-i Collective, Interactive Dreams puts up some reviews courtesy of Gir Draxa which are not available anymore at this time of writing (labeled with '(c)' of the CD-i Collective). Today, we start with the excellent Atlantis: The Last Resort. Atlantis was the codename and eventually commercial title for this very unique CD-i game first announced by the President of Philips Media Games, Dave McElhatten in Issue 16 of the UK based CDi Magazine in February 1996. The Atlantis project was described as a realtime 3D engine, it was the byproduct of some powerful debugging software developed by Philips Redhill. It's the one and only realtime first person shooter on CD-i, and something that a lot of people considered to be impossible to run on CD-i. Legendary Philips ADS proved the opposite, and Gir tells you why.
Oh man, its time to go on vacation. Where should we choose? Jurassic Park? No. Westworld? Nah. Spooky Island? Hmm... close.. but no. Hey, how about ATLANTIS? What could be better? Well, turns out almost anything would have been better. Monsters and robots have taken over the resort, and you're there to clean up the mess. Makes that Carn-evil place sound ok now don't it?
Most people thought the CD-i would never have gotten a first person shooter. In moves ATLANTIS: THE LAST RESORT. Trying, as many others did, to capitalize on the craze started by Doom and Castlewolfenstein, Atlantis tries to bring FPS gaming to CD-i. The result is one of mixed results.
One must give kudos to PHILIPS RESEARCH for bringing this to the CD-i as a full game. The engine that it runs on originaly appeared in the European Web-i update disc "CD-ONLINE #2" as RAM RAID with a few sample levels to play. Surprizingly very stable, despite running within the limited confines of the CD-i's memory. Still, the inital 'shock & awe' aside, this game has left ALOT to be desired.
This title boasts alot of 'ideas' that PRI was testing to see how they'd go over. The neatest was the ability to remove the game CD once the level was loaded and put in your favorite audio CD. A really nice bonus, but also can be a real drag as you need to switch back to the game disc if you complete a level.
However, since the in game music is VERY grating on some levels, it's almost a must to either change the CD, or mute the sound. Mute is probably the best option for long term gameplay. Don't worry if you mute it, the sparse creature sounds, and generic gunfire and death sound effects are NOTHING you'll miss.
Graphicly, this game tries its best to shovel in all it can, and still keep a reasonable frame-rate. Since the new CD sound technique was used in this one, everything had to be loaded into the limited memory of the CD-i (with DV cart memory), the result isn't what one would call great. Adaquate is about the best I'd say for it. Room textures and creatures done with a software 3-D rendering that really is pushed hard to do what it does... but what it shows is really low-res. Most enemies, even at a distance, start to pixel out badly. By the time they're up close, they're so badly pixelated that they're un-recognizable. Also, if you get more than a couple enemies on-screen at once, framerate starts dropping quick.
Mostly the graphics brought back memories of the Genesis title ZERO TOLLERANCE, another good game with good intentions, but ultimately disappointing visually due to the limitations imposed by the machine.
When it comes right down to it though, graphics and sound aside... gameplay is where you'll ultimately hit or miss. And this one misses by a mile. In an attempt to push every possible option in a FPS on to the 2 button CD-i controler, things got so muddled that often times, you're getting killed just by trying to side step, and suddenly you're firing a missle, or spinning around. If the hero were really this clumsy, he'd deserve to die.
To summarize, this game was a good start, but needed ALOT of refinement to get it to the level of real fun. The lack of alot of good enemies, the slowdown, frame-rate jitter and all the rest really sum up to a less than spectacular bit of fluff. Best as a showcase for what (with refinement) could have been in the next generation of FPS on CD-i.
Thanks to and credits by: Gir Draxa of the lost CD-i Collective (December 2007)