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USK: For all ages
Publisher's recommendation: 6 - 12 years
A review by slydos 05th February 2004
"Great Journey" is a game for children by the now 10 years old Polish developers Rebelmind, best known through "Grom"; within 1 year created and published in several languages. The "Great Journey" doesn't only want to entertain without violent elements, but also takes care of the topic "environmental protection" in playful form.
The players slip either into the role of the ten-year old Tony or Annie of the same age. Tony or Annie are already experienced in travelling and geography. One day friend Penguin from the Antarctic asks for help by letter: For some time somebody is bringing garbage into the clean Antarctic. But Penguin and his friends cannot catch the polluter, since they do not possess a vehicle, fast enough to pursue the ship of the stranger. They know however that professor Glass, who is at present for research in the South Seas, possesses an airplane. Annie/Tony should find him and bring him to the South Pole with the help of Captain Seabear.
The game is installed automatically and smoothly from 1 CDROM and leads us - always accompanied by the fresh title song - into the main menu. If we choose "new game" we first have to select our character: either the girl Annie or the boy Tony. Likewise we specify our savegame by icon, where our score is automatically stored when exiting the game and also after successful completing a chapter. We start with Annie/Tony on the ship of the captain. We don't have to consider much - by text and speaker we are directly told what to do, namely to take up the magnifying glass which anyway lies before our eyes already. With this order we can begin to play.
"Great Journey" is a 3rd-person-game, in which we move our character usually with the mouse, some of the numerous mini-games however have to be accomplished by keyboard. But the different controls are explained in detail in each case at the beginning in text and speech. Annie or Tony cannot be moved freely on the screen. They can only reach preplanned areas that are indicated with a large cursor surface. If the cursor surface is green, you can run, if it is blue, you can jump. With the arrow cursor some manipulations can be accomplished, e.g. objects can be taken up and stored in the inventory and used of course. In some mini-games, e.g. a space Invaders variant, one navigates with the right and left mouse buttons. Other mini-games, e.g. ski-jumping are controlled by spacebar or arrow keys.
To be able to look at hotspots more closely, one must click on them with the magnifying glass from the inventory. Afterwards most clicked objects move in a funny manner or even spit collectable hints or other useful objects, e.g. pieces of bamboo.
In the inventory, which is always visible at the bottom of the screen, three objects are maximum at the same time beside the magnifying glass. On the right side of the inventory the 5 main mini-games are checked off and there is also a button to reach the main menu. Everywhere, where there is something to manipulate or a special difficulty, we can use one of the gathered hints, in order to get some help with the solution if needed.
In this connection unfortunately a technical error occurred, where you get instead of help text, faded in program code when clicking on a puzzle. However one can play on despite this disturbance, game-crashes did not occur.
There is no manual with game advices, only an installation guide. You get all information about using the controls during the game. Sometimes the one or other hint about the purpose and navigation are missing, so that nevertheless often more trial and error prevails. Not all texts are spoken, e.g. the hotspot descriptions are missing, so that one should recommend "Great Journey" only for children who are able to read, although the degree of difficulty of the puzzles and handling wouldn't exclude even a three year old.
"Great Journey" consists only to 40 per cent of adventure puzzles such as finding objects and entrances or manipulating things. The rest are the 5 central mini-games and a lot of dexterity sequences, which are very well integrated into the game. So with each travel by ship, airplane or surfboard you have to weather through a Space Invaders variant, or you have to hop, jump or do the correct things at the correct time.
If you should not cope with those elements at once there is no Game-Over, but you will begin the sequence simply again from the beginning. The further you advances in the game, these sequences become longer. The (repeatable) mini-games get more complicated towards the end and you get less hints, e.g. you must find the correct screen exit for yourself. In the main easy exercises for children.
In the jump sequences you must keep chronology in view and sometimes overturn bridges by jump vibrations. Here you can also find a dead end, since one can bring one of those bridges to falling down only from a certain side. If you dont successfully complete the following mini-game immediately the first time, you're sent back to the beginning, in order to get a special object - but that is not possible, since one doesnt get the bridge down from the other side (logical error). Unfortunately one cannot save the game at this point, so that one must begin the chapter again and again from the start.
The target group shouldnt be challenged in the upper age range and rather laugh at the degree of difficulty of both the pre-chewed puzzles and jump&run games. The correct classification would be maximum at 3-8 years, older will rather be bored and also not particularly kept up to scratch by an exciting story.
The presentation of the Great Journey" can however please throughout. A multicolored, warm palette gives both the 2D-backgrounds and the 3D-characters a lively-fresh, positive atmosphere and is accompanied by identical music in the best way. Annie/Tony move fast and charming through the cartoon scenes from hometown over Africa up to the Easter Islands and the Antarctic. You can click on a lot of hotspots, like palms, flowers, chimneys or icicles. Sometimes you get an objects when doing this, sometimes simply only a beautiful animation.
Up to our Annie the dubbing voices are selected very well and make a good job. About Annies synchronisation I must say, that she was already negatively noticeable to me in various film productions, where they casted this dissembled, nerving girl voice for important roles. Now one is tantalized in games too with it! Fortunately our main actress has too little text, to be too much disfigured by a flashy but dislikable voice.
Up to the mentioned technical and the logical error there were no further bugs. The game ran smoothly. The waiting times while loading new scenes are shortened by constantly new texts.
Even for children surely only a game for in between. Adventure fans will register too many mini-games/jump&run elements here and will miss the mental challenges - also for little players -, which will be busy 3-4 hours with "Great Journey". The story isnt really rich in content, suspense is produced by mini-games, with which one can train handling of keyboard and mouse. There are many adventure games out for this age group, which are more entertaining, offer a more interesting story or even let you learn something. Try instead "Little Long Nose" by Cornelsen or "Gast" by Mindscape.Total rating: 53%
Adventure-Archiv rating system:
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements:
- Windows 98/NT/2000/ME/XP
- Pentium II 400 MHz
- 64 MB RAM
- NVidia Riva TNT2 graphic card
- DirectX sound card
- 6 x CDROM-drive
- Windows-compatible mouse
- Windows XP
- P IV 1,6 GHz
- 512 MB RAM
- 16x DVD-ROM (Artec WRA-A40)
- nVidia GeForce 2MX400 64 MB graphic card
- Sound card DirectX-compatible
Selecting your character
Start the game in the little town
Fishing for garbage
Annie can only walk on the green cursor areas
New locations are indicated with screen-texts
Playing soccer against one of the natives
Jumping from platform to platform is one task on crocodile island
The ship can't go any further - Annie must use her skateboard
A bug shows program text on the screen
Instructions for the mini-games!
Finally the pollutor has been caught!