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|Kevin Krock, editor|
|MousePlanet at E3 Expo 2001 in Los Angeles - Part I|
The Annual Pilgramage for gamers begins·
MousePlanet Home Theater and Entertainment has focused on theatrical releases before now, but several requests from readers about family oriented games has led us to expand our coverage. The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 was the perfect opportunity to launch a series of reviews and commentary on family- friendly gaming.
I made my pilgrimage to the holy Mecca of electronic games at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the first time and was impressed by how big this industry really is. To be fair, I am not a big gaming enthusiast. I play some games occasionally, but that is about the extent of it. I was amazed to learn that more money was spent buying video games last year then was spent going the movies!
With Disney's Atlantis just a few weeks away from being released, I decided to head straight for Disney Interactive's booth to see what they had to offer.
Atlantis Makes a Splash
The hub of Disney Interactive's booth was Atlantis central. With the release of the latest animated feature film, the obvious focus was synergy. The faux pyramid drew audiences into the under sea location of the movie and set the feel and tempo for the games they were demonstrating.
Claudia Christian, voice of Helga Sinclair in the upcoming Atlantis movie, introduced the movie and the games to the assembled crowd. She took a few minutes to speak with MousePlanet about her experience.
A diverse offering
Disney has chosen to offer a selection of different games, all based around the title Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Three offerings are availble, with different options geared towards either the younger crowd (ages 5 and up) or the teen / adult players.
Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire - The Lost Games
The Lost Games title is targeted at kids ages 5 and up, and offers four separate games themed around the movie's story line. It runs on Windows 95 / 98 / ME and Macintosh machines and is available now. The games include:
There is also an area where users can browse through images from the movie and either print them or send them to friends. Not necessarily all that exciting, but not a bad touch. We'll see this print/send capability throughout a lot of the PC software titles.
Trial by Fire
Trial by Fire, also a PC / Mac game, takes Disney Interactive in a whole new direction. The first Disney release of a first person shooter game, this darker game better matches the feel and emotions of the movie. The game goes far beyond simple shoot-em up, offering both single and multi- player versions that are entirely different experiences. It is available in stores now.
My biggest concern with these games was that Disney Interactive would be going down the path of gratuitous blood and gore. (It's especially interesting to note the change in box art shown above.) I was pleased to find that the game, while somewhat violent, treats the violence as secondary to the strategy and game adventure. Someone who is shot does not explode into a pile of blood and goo rendered in horrific glory. I could not in good conscience recommend the game for younger teens, but it should not be offensive for older teens and adult gamers.
The single- player mode follows the story of the film, as gamers join an exploration team to find the lost city of Atlantis. Using the Shepherd's Journal as their guide, players fight off the vicious water-dwelling Leviathan, fire-infested mazes, diabolical traps and formidable denizens of Atlantis, before reaching the outskirts of the city. With their team leader's ambition and greed threatening to destroy the ancient empire, players must stop his escape through a dormant volcano, find and activate the four mystical stones of Atlantis, and save the city from a cataclysmic eruption and certain destruction.
In multi-player mode, up to 12 players per game can battle online as either a male or female Atlantean or Trooper in 10 multi-player games, including Capture the Flag, Racing and Tournament, each of which can be replayed again and again. Players can use multiple Explorer and Atlantean vehicles to get around and protect themselves with eight different tools: The Teslator, Froster, Goozer, Bouncer, Puffer, Zoomer, Spinner and Squincher. The games can be played across a private network as well as the Internet.
The Lost Empire - PlayStation console game
The PlayStation version works on the PS, PS1, and PS2 consoles and will be released in June. The game takes you through several levels as you attempt to uncover Atlantis' secrets. The first task is to recruit several of the experts from the movie. You will switch between these characters throughout the game in order to use the skills they specialize in.
Disney has effectively leveraged the Atlantis name to create some pretty impressive games. I think most of my concern about excessive violence in the first player shooter game has been alleviated, though the final judgment is up to you. As far as entertainment value, all three offerings are worth picking up.
The Lost Games
Trial By Fire
The Lost Empire
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