Wednesday 17 July 2013

Flight of the Amazon Queen Review (PC)


Most of the best games in the point and click genre come from only a small number of studios. Lucas Arts, Sierra, Westwood and Revolution are the names most people think of when they want to go puzzle solving. However, this is somewhat unfair as many other developers have produced excellent point and click titles. Flight of the Amazon Queen, published by Warner Interactive in 1995, can now be picked up completely free from a number of totally legal sources (such as the ScummVM website). This being the case we thought it warranted taking a look at.

The game is set in the nineteen forties and follows the adventures of Joe King (yes, that joke is done), pilot for hire who crashes in the Amazon jungle early on. The Flight of the Amazon Queen's little world is a highly entertaining one and comes across in tone like a more humorous version of the Indiana Jones comic/serial adventure style. Story wise, the title mixes everything from the Lost Valley and Jules Verne's Mysterious Island to King Kong- there's even a crystal skull for good measure.

Things state brightly, with the dialogue being particularly sharp. Each of the characters also has wonderfully thick accents which cover everything from New York cab driver to unscrupulous Dutchman. The jokes are also very good and there is a genuine humour to almost everything. The puzzles, at least to start with, are quite inventive as well. The opening moments see Joe trying to escape from a hotel which requires the player to dress him up as a woman to slip by some goons at the front door.

On the whole, Flight of the Amazon Queen keeps to the logic it sets down early on. Puzzles tend not to be obscure but require you to think a little laterally. Using jungle vines instead of rope is one of the more simple examples, but there are much more inventive problems to overcome.

Unfortunately, as the game progresses the puzzles begin to lose some of their sparkle. You will come across a few sections which will only be solved by pure trial and error. The fact you often have to go back and forth over large areas to exchange one object with someone for another or get the final piece of something soon begins to grate and is completely unnecessary. Getting hold of objects is also a bit unbalanced with some coming far too easy and others being far too hard.

The dialogue can also be to over written as well. Simply clicking to try anobject out on something can bring up four or five lines or dialogue at a time. This isn't a problem to begin with but when you are trying to solve a problem through trial and error seeing the same message that takes so long to get through becomes really frustrating, something not helped by the fact that you can't speed the dialogue along.

Flight of the Amazon Queen is well worth trying out and has many funny moments. However, the longer you play it the more obvious it becomes that this is really just an Indiana Jones want to be. It may be far easier to find than Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis but that is the much better, and more balanced, game. It's a shame that the games flaws begin to drag it down as there is some really good script here. As it's free there is no real reason not to at least give it a go, just don't expect something on a par with the classics of the point and click genre.


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