First off, this has nothing at all to do with either the 3D movie or the DS game; this is, as another reviewer has pointed out, a re-release of an older game. Which is why some of the puzzles are no longer puzzles, but have become nothing but a meaningless hotspot in the game. This is annoying enough, if you have come looking for a puzzle game. But when you add the other irritant factors, what begins promisingly as a nice little steampunk adventure rapidly becomes intensely dull. What other factors? Well, movement glitches can cause you to miss large chunks of the scenery and therefore the items you need to carry on; your character can get stuck and you have to perform ridiculous and unecessary movements to get her to a point where she can move. Hotspots can be very easy to miss, or will show up only when you have completed certain actions which may be completely irrelevant. The story is linear, and you can find yourself having to backtrack over the terrain (without the saving grace of any shortcuts, and believe me the 'wow' factor of a giant mushroom forest vanishes pretty rapidly when you are jogging through it for the fifth time). Some of the puzzles involve a logical and intellectual challenge; others have no logic at all and you wind up trying random combinations of objects to achieve your goal. Some are entirely pointless - for instance, when I was supposed to be involved in a breakneck race to prevent conspirators spreading a lethal virus, I had to pause and plough back and forth over a previously trodden landscape collecting basic supplies for an NPC. There was no sense of urgency or excitement in it at all. The graphics weren't the best I've seen, though the scenery was well done; and the voice acting was generally nothing special. There are two possible endings, one of which leaves out a good third of the gameplay, so if you do take a shot at it, save your game when you get the choice to leave the underworld. On the whole, though, I'd say you would have much more fun from Return to Mysterious Island, Dark Fall; Lights Out, or Murder on the Orient Express.
This game is fun but challenging due to the lack of clues on where to go and what to do. I bought this game with no idea about any link to any other game as other reviewers have said. For me this was a brand new game to play and I had no pre-expectations. The game installed on my vista pc with no need for any online activation and the disc wasn't necessary after I'd installed the game.
The game itself has a menu that allows you to play the game or see the manual. If you've never played this game or any other type of point and click adventure game then I'd really advise you to keep referring to the manual as the game is impossible to play without it. The main problem with the gameplay is that there's no initial instructions on how to play. With most games you can either keep being told where to look for something, or where to click, or at least be introduced to the game with a tutorial-style start and most games also give you a hint button. But NOT with this game. You start the game and are left to work out how to play yourself. You have an inventory and can click on walls, and things but initially I had no idea what I was doing and no idea how to play.
The manual talks you through step by step each section of the game. Of course you can explore the areas in your own time and choose where to go first (within reason) and work things out for yourself but without referring back to this manual again and again you can sometimes get completely stuck and with no hint button there's no chance of being guided to where to search or what to use next.
The gameplay, once you get around what to do, is actually quite good. You explore the world pretty much as described in the original book. You find similar worlds and the overall atmosphere and graphics are good. The storyline once you get deeper into the game also gets much better and I really enjoyed the weirdness and interacting with characters. The game also has a good ending but all the while I feel that if only a proper hint button to give you a real clue had been there it would have made for far better gameplay than constantly exiting to the menu to read the walkthrough manual.
I've given this a 4 star rating as once you get into the game and get used to how to play you do seem to develop a sense and know where to click and what to do, but I was tempted to put a 3 due to the lack of decent hints in-game. I'd recommend this game to anyone who has patience and to anyone who likes the original story of Journey to the Centre of the Earth as it does suck you in and the whole atmosphere is good. And although there is nothing gruesome or nasty for little kids, I'm not sure the 7+ rating is good as at that age I don't think I could have worked out what to do without a proper hint button. Perhaps adults and older kids would appreciate the game more, just beware, again, of the lack of clues.
on 28 November 2009
I am 74: My only PC interest is adventure games. I bought this in response to an Amazon advert, thinking it was new only to discover I had played it some years ago. It is a good game (if somewhat linear, with some to-ing and from-ing) but unfortunately, in this version, two of the puzzles [seal gate in cavern and complex musical puzzle to giant's floating garden] have already been completed ! For the price it is still worthwhile considering.