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The early '90 of the last century it was fashion to release a lot of adventure titles. In 1990, Accolade, Following the example of Sierra -which released Kings Quest V among others that year- decided to release a couple of adventure games: "Les Manley", "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" and "Altered Destiny". The following lines come from an advertisement for this last game (courtesy of Mobygames.com):
* Unique concept. Fresh storyline.
* Contains over 90 screens filled with surprising animation.
* Mesmerizing, breakthrough graphics.
* Hauntingly beautiful soundtrack with more than 25 songs.
* Multiple layers of intriguing puzzles and solutions.
* Recognizes full sentences and more than 1,500 words.
Let me tackle this review by going over each of these statements one by one.
Unique concept. Fresh storyline.
Well, since 1990 gave birth to about 95 adventure games, the concept can hardly be called unique. It's a parsed based adventure game, comparable to say Space Quest 2. The story is sort of a new twist: you're a regular guy being thrown in a weird surrounding full of bizarre creatures and events, but this can hardly be called unique.
Contains over 90 screens filled with surprising animation.
I didn't count all of them, but there seem to be quite a lot of locations in this game, so the statement is probably true. The world is large and interesting. The animation is nice enough, though not especially impressive.
Mesmerizing, breakthrough graphics.
The graphics are decent and drawn in a fresh cartoon like way with nice looking colors. They pale in comparison however to the aforementioned Kings Quest V, which has a much richer color palette and more detail. Compared to a lot of other titles from the same year, Altered Destiny seems to be in the upper mid-section.
Hauntingly beautiful soundtrack with more than 25 songs.
Apparently is was quite a task to get the sound running back in the days, DosBOX gave me perfect adlib-music during the game and I must admit the soundtrack consisted of pretty decent background ditty’s. The haunting however never occurred in my case...
Multiple layers of intriguing puzzles and solutions.
I don't really know what they mean with the 'multiple layers' bit, but the puzzles are solid and tough and will keep you busy for quite some time. Because the environment is awfully weird, some of the solution are equally bizarre, but most of the time good for a chuckle or two.
Recognizes full sentences and more than 1,500 words.
Again, I haven't tried all options during play testing, but it seems the parser does understand quite some verbs. Instead of the obligatory and generic 'use item on other item' phrase you actually have to think of an appropriate verb. Often a clue to the correct one is given in the item description or in some conversation with another character in the game, so be sure to probe any- and everything for answers!
All in all I have to say that Altered Destiny is a solid adventure game, that offers everything you'd expect: puzzles, nice backgrounds, some bizarre jokes and an interesting plot, but it never really manages to rise far above the mediocre level. Another thing is that I think that the parser based interface that was used was a bit old fashioned for the time it was released and a easy point 'n click system would have made it a tad more playable! Because of this I rate it 3 out of 5, not meaning you shouldn't play the game, but indicating that if you're a casual player of adventures, you probably want to skip this one and go for a nice dose of Sierra eye-candy. For the real fans it's worth a play though!