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Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Eurocom
Media: Cart/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Atlantis: The Lost Empire captures the visual style of the movie with amazing detail. Visually this game just seems to scream Disney. Each of the levels is alive with background details such as air bubbles and swaying leaves. The color pallette is used perfectly and helps to set the mood for each the levels from the dark blues and browns used in the caverns to the lush pastels used while exploring the city of Atlantis. Each character is animated extremely well, almost to the point where you forget this is a Game Boy Color game. This reminded my alot of Aladdin on the Genesis - everything is very fluid. Something that deserves mention are the explosion effects used when Vinny uses his special power. Again, it's nothing too spectacular, but they definitely make you respect the GBC a little more. My only complaint with the graphics was that some of the enemies blended into the background. For example, the submarine level is very dark, and I found myself taking way to much damage from the equally dark soldiers just because I couldn't see them coming towards me.

Soundwise, Atlantis isn't as impressive. The background music is good and easily recognizable from the movie (sorry guys, no Disney-style song and dance routines), but it tends to get annoying at times. You can really tell that they were trying to pump the most out of the Game Boy's aging sound card, but something is lost in the attempt. The sound effects are on par with the soundtrack and the sounds are present where you expect them, but it's nothing you'd miss out on if you turned them off.


Welcome to Atlantis, city of enchantment, city of...wait - wrong movie...Anyway, the plot of the game pretty much follows that of the movie, although a few embellishments were made for gameplay's sake. After discovering the Shepherd's Journal, Milo Thatch and his rag tag crew set off in search of the lost empire of Atlantis. Each of your five members has a special skill that will be very useful to you on your search. Milo is an expert in translating glyphs, while Audry can fix broken machines, and Vinny is an explosives expert. Atlantis is a side scrolling adventure game and very reminicent of the old PC game Impossible Mission. You begin each of the 11 boards with Milo, and as the level progresses, you come across radios that allow you to call on different members of your team to help you overcome obstacles.

Getting past obstacles involves you standing in front of the object, such as a wall, glyph, or machine and holding 'UP' until the timer runs out. This sounds easy, but when you have an enemy is coming after you, it can get hectic. Deciding what characters to use isn't as simple as it seems either, because each has different levels for other skills as well. Some are able to hold their breath longer underwater and swim faster, while others can jump higher, push heavy objects, or use weapons. This adds a real strategy aspect to the game because not only do you have to think about getting past the special skill-specific obstacle, but also need to keep future 'minor' obstacles (like moving boxes) in mind. This may sound daunting at first, but you can switch back and forth between members as long as you are close to a radio.


At first glance, Atlantis looks like it would be fairly simple since it's aimed towards younger players, but it ends up being a surprising challenge for older players as well. I was impressed to see that accommodations were made so the game could be enjoyed by a variety of skill levels. You play the game at one set difficulty level, and as the levels progress, the puzzles and obstacles smoothly ramp up in difficulty. I really liked the lay out and pace of the challenges. Choosing which character to use becomes obvious in some areas, while in others things get a little tricky. As mentioned before, knowing all of your crew's special skills adds a whole new level of challenge to the game. While it may sound mildly complicated at first, the game does an excellent job of preparing you for each challenge. I was a little discouraged that no continue option was offered, but this is balanced out because your crew members can die an unlimited number of times, but once Milo dies it's over. You are also given an easy to remember password at the end of each level.

Game Mechanics:

The controls are easy to learn, which is always a real plus, especially considering the target audience. The directional pad moves your character, while pressing 'UP' in front of a puzzle starts the 'solving timer'. The 'A' button jumps and the 'B' button attacks. I had no real problems or complaints with the way things were laid out or how smoothly they ran. Everything just seemed very natural.

Considering this is a movie-licensed game, which don't have the best of track records, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is excellent and really stands out. If you're a fan of the movie or just looking for a fun adventure game that is a little different, this is a worth while game to look at. It has the right balance of easy game play and challenging puzzles to keep anyone entertained.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Nintendo GameCube Wrestlemania X8 GameBoy Color/Pocket E.T. Digital Companion

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