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Hostradamus - Hoffnung einer verlorenen Welt
(Hope of a Lost World)
Release date Germany: 08/2005
Developer: Team Slaby
Publisher: Purple Hills
Game language: German (English and Russian versions also available)
USK: for all ages
A review by André 13th October 2005
I am always pleased, if, during a wave of releases, a somewhat more unusual low-budget game rises from the whole professional, "big" adventure games. It might perhaps not necessarily appeal to the normal consumer but rather the adventure fan, who enjoys original details, standing out from the mass of adventures. The following game by German publisher Purple Hills, is such a game. It's not very salespromoting titled "Hostradamus" but has the more interesting sounding additional title "Hope of a Lost World".
From a great love between the god Hostrus and the courageous Radamus emanates the demigod Hostradamus. Fate doesn't mean well with the mother and she dies, before poor Hostradamus comes of age. God Hostrus, who was always carefully protecting the world against evil powers, neglected his duties for grief, and chaos in form of evil creatures again prevailed. Now it's up to Hostradamus to free the world from the troubling spirits.
More precisely said, Hostradamus is a "role-playing-game not only for children". That's what the box cover reads and that exactly describes the game principle best. Because the actually naive graphics face quite difficult puzzles and tasks, even if it doesn't begin all that complicated in the first levels.
First there are still smaller errands or tasks. Sometimes one has to brew a soup for gramps or squeeze some oil and fill it into a machine. In addition I now know how to play Othello, because all characters, whether friend or foe, seem to love this board game and invite you to play again and again, so that you can win a few coins and the whole game wins a bit of change.
Before starting the game one selects from three different play modes (action, normal, logic). Depending on this mode, there are more or less RPG-elements, which do increase the degree of difficulty very much starting from the third chapter. One may forgive me that I havn't played all modes, so that I cannot say exactly, how they differ in detail. In any case one must always administer food orally in time, quite in the tradition of classic RPGs to satisfy hunger and thirst, or dispense curing crystals, so that Hostradamus remains fit for further actions.
And - still more difficult - Hostradamus has to keep an eye on the repletion and well-being of his allies, a crowd of hares, by collecting and feeding vegetables and water in time to his fellow combatants. With increasing degree of difficulty the game becomes thus clearly more hectic, which I didn't like so much. One also has to fight some setbacks, since one can die. And even if one extinguishes the life lights of the hares, which are permanently attacked by imps, this still results in being forced to load the last savegame.
Hostradamus is a 3D-comic game in 3rd-person-perspective. The manga-style intro already starts very promising and reminds a little of typical Playstation RPG graphics. And also the three-dimensional game environment, which no longer comes across so manga-stylish, looks really very beautiful for such a low bugdget game. The textures of the actual ingame graphics look, particularly for a debut, very fair already. It makes fun to wander through wondrous coniferous forests searching for mushrooms and explore dreamy small villages with wells, wind- and watermills and little houses shaped like mushrooms. Likewise the interesting characters are very imaginative, like the old man, that somehow reminded me of Janosch and the elves. Hostradamus himself is not just as beuatifully animated. His movements while running look still somewhat stiff. And the characters are lacking facial animations and the like.
Annoying - there are German voice overs, but they can only be heard, if you install an extra codec which can be found on the CD. Since there is no manual and this unusual proceeding wasn't mentioned during installation procedure, needless to say I did not install this codec. I only heard of it later in a forum, where other players had described the same problems. But at this time I had already finished Hostradamus! Too bad, because with dubbing voices the game would have made surely much more fun! So I had to be content with the text. But the font was so teeny - much too small, to be able to read it reasonably. They should have attached a magnifying glass to the game alternatively, in order to decipher the text. After the installation of the codec one does not only hear the speech, but also the dreamy music, which actually fits the very contemplative game. And also the speakers support the slightly ironical texts. I particularly liked the voice of the old man with his regional accent.
After games like Lula 3D, Fahrenheit or Käpt'n Blaubär etc., Hostradamus is already the umpteenth 3D-game I played with combined mouse and keyboard controls. Roughly described, you control your character with the keyboard direction keys through the three-dimensional scenes and the mouse serves to move the cursor and use objects and inventory, click hotspots etc.. In Hostradamus, like other 3D-games, this functions at least halfway similar.
I got along with the controls quite well - even if everything worked rather lamely. The escape key leads to the concise option menu, where one can comfortably adjust the most important settings such as graphics, load and save etc.. Unfortunately there are only 5 save slots. The xtremely long loading times are not actually appealing.
In principle I liked this imaginative adventure game Hostradamus with its RPG-elements, but I admit that there are still a few disturbing things. And I have the feeling, as if one could have avoided some unnecessary errors. A bit inane surely the fact that speech (and the actually very beautiful music) runs only, if you install a codec from the CD-ROM, but weren't pointed to it during the installation procedure. Thus I played Hostradamus without the actually existing dubbing and the beautiful music. In addition it's incomprehensible why such an illegible small text font size was selected. The long waiting periods while loading are rather annoying. Because of the likewise long-winded animations the game is partly somewhat dry and boring.
But enough negative words, because I won't like to give the impression that I havn't enjoyed Hostradamus. On the other hand Hostradamus also shows many positive aspects. It's good work for a debut and the price performance ratio is o.k. too. The intro sequence looks great for a first game. Different from the intro in graphics style, but likewise very solid are the imaginative, fairytale-like scenes with magic forests and dreamy villages.
After a somewhat lengthy starting phase the game wins dynamics with increasing degree of difficulty. Because of the game's principle it becomes clearly more hectical too - too hectic for me. Because not only the puzzles and tasks, but also the RPG-elements become clearly more difficult in the course of the game. If the developers will do some refinements next time, certainly a better rating would be possible. Apart from that, Hostradamus is a cute, nice game for in-between.
Total rating: 68%
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)
- Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP
- Athlon or Pentium Processor 1GHz or higher
- 256 MB RAM
- 350 MB free space on hard disk
- 3D video card Geforce 3, 4 ... with min. 32 MB RAM
- Soundblaster compatible sound card
- DirectX (on CD)
- WIN 98
- AMD Athlon XP 1800
- 256 MB RAM
- Graphic card Radeon 9200 Series
- 16x CDROM-drive
Hard disk 60 GB