The Immortals of Terra: A Perry Rhodan Adventure

Review

posted 8/19/2008 by Randy Kalista
other articles by Randy Kalista
One Page Platforms: PC
As with any point-and-click adventure title, the name of the game is opening doors. And sometimes, especially as you near the conclusion of any given chapter, a bottleneck starts choking the temporal progress, and one missed item is unacceptable under any circumstances. Every piece of every puzzle must be fitted before moving on, and that every piece of every future puzzle must be obtained before progressing. It’s beyond the scope of this review to challenge the mechanics of an entire videogame genre, but the Immortals of Terra works harder than many of its peers at presenting logical puzzles without skimping on every challenge those puzzles present. Not to mention a bugger of an “end boss” puzzle that stumped me for hours.

Across the Milky Way, there are puzzles of all shapes and sizes: Time-locked puzzles, audio puzzles, cryptography puzzles, dialogue puzzles, sliding tile puzzles, and inventory puzzles, all of which aim to connect the dots as to why Perry Rhodan’s best friend Mondra Diamond has been kidnapped, and why it’s likely centered around her scholastic papers on the mythological race of Illochim (compare to the Christian Bible’s “Elohim”). It will – and it’s time to face this – take some acclimating in order to appreciate the back-and-forth ping-pong motion in each chapter. Even though the motions are splayed across stellar backdrops, it’s hard not to complain, even if it’s even harder to complain for long.


Despite a Mensa-strength endgame (I may be exaggerating, but I’m the type of person that’s never put a Rubik’s Cube back together but was never bothered by that shortcoming either), the fact that I was utterly mind-boggled but determined to press on is a testament to the game’s strengths puzzle-wise. Too many other adventure titles – for instance, Runaway: Dream of the Turtle or, to a lesser extent, Jack Keane – heavily-rely on walkthrough solutions and makes-no-sense puzzles, that it turns the Immortals of Terra into a full-blown breath of fresh air in a genre often looking for reacceptance in all the wrong places.

Despite the fleeting and episodic feel of this adventure, character development springs up without hesitation, though it’s often important to recall that some of Perry’s interactions with cohorts, rivals, and arch-nemesis are informed by, yes, a series of stories that are nearly half a century old. When Perry starts browbeating a colleague named Daellian for his “self-pitying” – a brilliantly-pulpy character that’s a human brain preserved in a hovering conveyance – it’s important to note that this has been a running issue between the two gentlemen for years, and that Perry isn’t instantly haughty and impatient with people that have been reduced to nothing but a brain in a jar. Further, in the game’s depiction of “The Blues,” an alien race with disc-shaped heads and a grating falsetto, they’ve managed to introduce a set of characters as annoying as Jar Jar Binks – sad but true. The roster also features (in progressively less annoying formats) a touchy-feely race of elephant-trunked people; sexy, unspeaking blue-skinned femaliens; white-haired, serpent-voiced humanoid militants; and plenty of Terran DNA strands that trace their ancestry back to Earth. The variety of characters is on par with Mass Effect, though the Immortals of Terra doesn’t outline racial profiles as solidly as BioWare’s near-unmatchable space epic.


B
A soupy ending cinematic can’t drag down this intimately-crafted homage to German sci-fi staple (but American unknown), Perry Rhodan. The puzzles pack an analytical punch, the graphics are painterly and inspired, and the story rarely loses traction during its manageable spiral of momentum.


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