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by THQ

screen04-01.jpg (6309 bytes)If Hollywood has taught us anything it’s that we don’t want originality. People complain about movie trailers giving too much away, but I don’t think that’s the problem. When we see a trailer for a romantic comedy, we pretty much know that they’ll get together in the end while the affable comedic support looks on wistfully because we know the conventions of the genre so well. We can chart the plot points on a grid and we get very uncomfortable when the movie doesn’t follow our expectations completely.

screen06-01.jpg (7622 bytes)Video game makers too often follow this same line of thought. "Hey," they say to one another, "people really seemed to like that Mario guy walking from left to right across the screen jumping over stuff. We could make a game like that, only have Batman do it." They all nod their heads in approval and set out to make a game that underwhelms and manages to be successful at the same time. I think this happens more on the Game Boy games than on any other system.

screen08-01.jpg (8035 bytes)The latest notch in the yardstick of mediocrity is Atlantis: The Lost Empire for the Game Boy Advance. A few months ago I reviewed an Atlantis game for the Game Boy Color. Interestingly enough, I found a few things about the Game Boy Color version of Atlantis to admire, although this game is pretty much what you’d expect, and I get bored when my expectations are met completely. This game comes at a very interesting time. The movie has vanished from theaters and the DVD is still months away. The quality of the gameplay and the relative obscurity of the release suggest a game that wants to be dumped rather promoted.

screen02-01.jpg (8350 bytes)In Atlantis: the Lost Empire, you play the bookish Milo, who is too busy being an action hero to ever actually seem bookish. Running, jumping and climbing, you have to avert disaster on a variety of levels with the clock ticking down. The levels are fairly short to work your way through. The game provides a number of secondary challenges to keep you coming back if you dare.

screen09-01.jpg (10278 bytes)The graphics are no workout for the Game Boy Advance. The colors are fairly drab throughout, which makes it difficult to see some of the action on the Game Boy screen. Some of the cut-scenes were nearly impossible to see without a light shining directly above your head. The only real failure lies in the controls for the game. They get pretty frustrating. Milo is too quick and can jump too far for his own good. I had a real hard time judging just how far he could jump and would end up overshooting the mark.

screen07-01.jpg (9339 bytes)I probably should be easier on this game in much the same way I should be easier on Adam Sandler movies. Like Happy Gilmore, Atlantis: The Lost Empire hits all of the expected notes. Like so many things in the entertainment industry, it’s not bad. It’s adequate. Most people won’t be too disappointed with this game in much the same way that most people won’t be disappointed with Rocky VI when it comes out. I, on the other hand, gave up on Rocky at number IV.

Jason Frank   (10/30/2001)


Ups: Nothing really WRONG with it.

Downs: But nothing really great.

Game Boy Advance