City of Lost Children review by Al Giovetti


City of Lost Children
Review by Al Giovetti, 09/22/96
Price: $50
Genre: animated graphic adventure
Release:
Developer: Psygnosis Europe
Programmer:
Music: Angelo Badalamenti
Art:
Co-Designer: Marc Caro
Producer:
Publisher: Psychnosis
Languages: English, French and German
Phone: 415-655-8000
Website: http://www.psygnosis.com/games/lost.html
Requirements: 486 EDX2, 66 MHz, DOS 5.0, SVGA, sound card, 2X CD ROM< 8 MB RAM, 45 MB hard drive space

Company line: Think you can win?...in your dreams

Plot: The game and film plot are virtually identical. On a lonely oil rig, lost in the swirling fog of an unknown future, there is a sad man called Krank. Aging prematurely because he can't dream, he kidnaps young children, hoping that eventually he will find a way to steal their sleeping thoughts and get his youth back . . .

Back on land in the city lives One, a mountain of man, innocent and brave. His mission is to search for his little brother, Denree, who has been kidnapped. By chance, One meets Miette, a young girl, leader of a wild bunch of orphans. Their tender friendship grows as the adventure takes its course. An adventure that will confront them with a multitude of bizarre characters . . .

Game design: Astounding post-industrial universe Game design elaborated in collaboration with Marc Caro, one of the most original talents in contemporary cinema (co-author of Delicatessen and the big budget film The City of Lost Children which was released December 15, 1995). The movie received favorable reviews from Roger Ebert and others (see URL below).

Game play: There are 100 third person perspective rooms to explore and to solve puzzles in. The puzles are few and far between, making the City of Lost Children short by comparison with most other computer games. The characters are controlled by the keyboard as is the interaction with the eerie reality portrayed in the game, eliminating the normal point and click features and replacing them with an awkward interface, where objects only appear when you have maneuvered the onscreen character precisely and tediously until you are over the exact correct spot.

Graphics: More than fifty real-time animated 3D characters designed with Softimage modellings and motion capture animations. Twenty three dimensional realistic characters will be wondering the 100 rooms in the mansion built on an oil rig in the sea offshore the city. TGhe 3D rendered city scenes are very interesting and pleasing to the eye, which one would expect from cinematographers turned game designers.

Animation: The character animation is very smooth and realistic, true to life. Miette moves in a very lifelike way which will surprise most gamers. Many will find just moving Miette around and observing enough for at least 45 minutes of game play.

Voice actors:

Music score: Angelo Badalamenti has worked on Naked in New York, 1993, various Twin Peaks themes, Wild at Heart, Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Blue Velvet, and the music for the film, The City of Lost Children.

Sound effects:

Utilities:

Multi-player: There are no multiplayer options available.

Future plans: We have no idea of whether the team plans another game. We think that inspite of the mistakes in interface control and overly short plot, the overall game is a remarkable achievement in beauty and mood. We would love to see a second effort where the first few deficiencies were eliminated to make a beautiful and playable game.

Cheat, Hints, Walkthroughs: City of Lost Children Walkthrough

Reviewers: Yans says, "Itís French. Itís weird." Which may be the thoughts of many North American game players, but the French have produced some really great game hits in North America: Bureau of Astral Trouble-shooters, and Ecstatica, Julie says "the game creates a stunning, cinematic atmosphere with enigmatic characters and an immersive story line."

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References:

Psygnosis City of Lost Children Site
Cindy Yans, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 71, October, 1996, pg.47.
http://coriolis.esm.psu.edu/bart/movies/citylost.html
http://www.paranoia.com/~myk/movies/cityoflostchildren.html
http://www.movienet.com/movienet/sonycl/city/
http://spebbn.spe.sony.com/Pictures/SonyClassics/city/misc/RogerEbert.html
http://www.xmission.com/~jonyag/TP/Cast/Angelo.html
Dutch: http://meerpaal.bwot.tmf.hva.nl:81/~ncsf/film/city.htm
Anonymous, Hyperactive Review, 84%
Julie Gordon, Computer and Net Player, volume 3, number 12, May, 1997, pg. 82, 70%.

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