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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: December 12, 2001
Atlantis has been an enduring site for virtual recreation over the years. While Disney’s recent movie and computer game on the topic has attracted a lot of attention, without question the most enduring series on the personal computer dealing with Atlantis has been that developed by the French company, Cryo Interactive. It released the groundbreaking Atlantis: The Lost Tales back in 1997 (published by Interplay in the United States), and then in 1999 it followed up with the even better Beyond Atlantis (Atlantis II in Europe), published by Dreamcatcher Interactive. Now, two years later, like clockwork, the two companies have collaborated again with the release of Beyond Atlantis II (Atlantis III in Europe).
You play the role of an archaeologist as she searches in the year 2019 for a city built by the ancient Egyptians located near a mysterious well. The heroine is intelligent and beautiful, and her voice is provided by European actress Chiara Mastroianni, the daughter of the famous French actress Catherine Deneuve. She is fascinated by the very existence of the lost city of Atlantis because it is still undiscovered and is a long way from her native Egypt. You discover an ancient crystal skull with wonderful and mysterious powers, but you also realize that you are not alone in your desire to unravel its secrets. After opening a key portal, you commence an incredibly multifaceted voyage across time and space. Unfortunately, the story lacks coherence and does not progress in a tightly woven fashion.
After beginning your journey in Peru, you visit several fascinating locales and time periods in Beyond Atlantis II. The settings include the Hoggar Complex in the Sahara Desert, ancient Egypt, the Palaeolithic era, and the Middle East during the times of the 1001 Arabian Nights. Among the intriguing places you visit are a variety of religious temples, a floating palace, and a wizard’s garden. You travel from place to place in fascinating ways, including a flying gondola, a magic carpet, and the usual inspired craft present in earlier installments in the Atlantis series. My favorite area is an eerie place which you visit numerous times and looks for all the world like a surreal set of mucous strands in outer space; here you see a talking dolphin and it is incredibly easy to get lost. The problem is that these settings are not well connected to each other in a meaningful way, and most have nothing discernible to do with the myth of Atlantis.
As you progress, you need to interact with many different unusual human and non-human characters. Among the interesting figures you encounter are various priests, a boy fishing on a beach, a Palaeolithic hunter, a Sultan, Sheherazade, a thief, a merchant’s daughter, and a wizard. These people have colorful full-blown engaging personalities, serving to enhance your enjoyment of these encounters. Sometimes you have to interact with these figures in a fixed pre-specified way; for example, you encounter an old man and women late in the game, and you have to try again if you ask the wrong thing or speak out of turn. In addition, you encounter many creatures, including a tiger, dolphin, bear, wolf, cat, griffin, and monkey. Despite the frequent level of interaction during the gameplay, more than is common in typical MYST-style adventure-puzzle offerings, the conversations never get tedious. What I miss, however, from the previous Beyond Atlantis is the truly spectacular creatures I encountered there, such as a serpent, spider goddess, dragon, and octopus.
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