Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire
That strange sense of deja vu you get when you play Disney's Atlantis is to be expected -- the last few games based on Disney's animated features have been all been developed by Eurocom, and they all have a similar look and gameplay style. But just because Disney's Atlantis is familiar doesn't mean it's bad. This meat-and-potatoes platformer, aimed at a younger audience, is fairly entertaining for as long as it lasts. Which, admittedly, isn't very long.
The game offers the same sort of generic platform game that most everyone has experienced. There are plenty of jumps to perform, some of them frustrating because of the marginal camera, and simplistic puzzles to be solved. What sets this game apart, though, is the concept of using six characters from the movie in the actual gameplay, making them work as a team to achieve their goals.
That isn't to say that the teamwork is complicated. In fact, it's far too simple. You come across obstacles in a linear fashion, and the mission becomes simply navigating the correct character to take care of the task. For instance, if you need something in your path blown to bits, you'll guide the explosives expert Vincenzo. If something needs to be fixed, use Audrey. None of these "puzzles" are at all complex, but they at least spice the gameplay up a bit.
The 12 levels themselves, from underwater caverns to the deep water of the ocean to the gleaming halls of Atlantis itself, are well rendered and capture the feel of the film. And the vehicles from the film are represented in the game, each with their own strengths. These will all have to be used to make it through the game. This is yet another aspect of the game that sets it apart from the myriad of completely average platformers that glut the PlayStation.
The visuals are mostly well done, but the locations and models aren't nearly as vibrant as the movie itself. That's unsurprising given the power of the PlayStation, but a sort of generic feel settles over everything, and there certainly could have been more work done in the area of character animation. The music and sound effects, on the other hand, are quite nice, featuring a soundtrack straight from the film as well as actual voices. In addition, the game's cutscenes, some of which can be unlocked by finding secret icons, are straight from the movie, and are gorgeous even in the low resolution in which they are presented.
Disney's Atlantis could have been a bit more complex in its ambition, but as it stands, it has enough interesting ideas to make it an ideal game for both young players and fans of the film itself. The game is easy to complete, only lasting at most three or four hours for the average player, but it at least has some character and life of its own. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
The visuals are based on the striking images from the film, and they are mostly a success, except for occasional repetitive textures and average animations. The cutscenes, right from the film, are excellent. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
Featuring sound from the film, the aural presentation of Disney's Atlantis is quite nice. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
With gameplay that strives to be better than the average platformer, Disney's Atlantis has elements of teamwork, slightly tricky puzzles, extra vehicles, and a camera system that's less aggrivating than some of its peers. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
The game's lifespan is short, and even if you search for all the secret icons to unlock the extra movie scenes, it will still be completed for you in a matter of hours. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
Full color and informative, the instruction manual is better than it probably needed to be. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide