Perry Rhodan may be a newcomer to the adventure game scene, but he’s actually been around for a long time. Like about 3,000 years. He’s an immortal, after all, the fortuitous result of being the first human being to encounter an alien race, and his experiences have been chronicled in thousands of German novels in a series that’s been around almost 50 years itself. At long last, Rhodan is finally ready for his first interactive adventure in the form of The Immortals of Terra, or Myth of the Illochim in Europe. Fortunately for gamers, it’s an auspicious debut that should appeal to sci-fi adventure fans, even if you’re not familiar with the American astronaut and his “Perryverse”.
In an all-new story created specifically for the game, Immortals takes place in a distant future, beginning on a world called Terrania. We are introduced to this world during an attack on the Solar Residence, which is the seat of power for the Terranian government. The assailants are what appear to be an army of robots, trained with malicious intent. Enter Perry Rhodan, the charismatic and popular Regent of Terrania. After surviving the assault, Rhodan is determined to find out who was behind it. The devastation wrought by the robots, however, becomes more acute when he discovers Mondra Diamond, his closest friend and mother of their long-lost son, is kidnapped during the attack. The only clues to her disappearance lie in her office, which is sealed but somehow avoids damage. However, in order to piece together the mystery, Rhodan first needs to overcome his strict confinement, imposed on him for his own protection.
The opening sequence might lead players into thinking the game will play out as a traditional tale of hero saving the damsel in distress. But while Immortals is in many ways a conventional point-and-click adventure game, it is also one with far more depth than the introduction suggests. The “damsel” proves to be a tough-minded researcher who has uncovered a dark secret, and the “hero” is a fallible but mature leader of an alien world who has seen and experienced much in his long lifetime. The emotions displayed through the dialogue are also more sophisticated than other typical futuristic, interplanetary stories. Interactions between characters are neither simplistic nor obvious, but instead demonstrate an understanding of real-life personalities. Although it’s certainly not necessary to know their backstories coming in, it’s clear even to newcomers that many of the 60-odd characters in the game are already well-established personalities, offering a refreshing departure from common stereotypes.
This same surprising depth applies to the plot of Immortals, as its storyline continually leaves players guessing as to what type of adventure it’s going to be. In many cases, this would be a significant drawback. However, here it generates a compelling epic that plays as part detective mystery, part high adventure, and part espionage thriller, all wrapped up seamlessly in its science fiction setting. Throughout the game, players will guide Rhodan as he visits such places as a scientific academy, a museum for robotics, and other intergalactic sites. The Solar Residence is explored extensively as your investigation leads you to procure clues throughout the building. At one point, Rhodan even has a chance to explore a museum about himself. Most of the offices are devoid of inhabitants, but many have puzzles that unlock further clues to solving the mystery behind the attack.
Despite being Regent (and sometimes because of it), Rhodan must travel incognito at times to continue his journey uninterrupted. Fortunately, he soon gains the ability to change his DNA, allowing him to become another person seamlessly. His change in appearance fools other characters and machines as well, though it’s not entirely foolproof. Along the way, players will encounter allies as well as enemies, including of a professor whose entire being is now a brain without a body. Of course, Rhodan interacts with a number of different alien species. Most of the creatures he comes into contact with, while not openly hostile, are certainly not pleased with his presence, so players will need to find ways to placate them. In many locations, Rhodan seems to be followed by an evil force of some kind. This force manifests itself in a throaty, angry voice, periodically sending obscure messages through computers and robots. This adds another layer of intrigue, leaving players wondering about the purpose and nature of its source, and what the relationship is to the attack.
Beyond the usual adventure game challenge of determining which objects can be manipulated is figuring out how they are used, which is often a problem in alien settings. The developers of Immortals have addressed both problems through the game's highly detailed graphics and the addition of a few helpful features. The environments often display a clear background/foreground placement of objects so that it is obvious which are out of bounds for the character. If you do find yourself having difficulty, the game also features a hotspot highlighter that reveals the interactive objects on screen, which is very helpful although a little too slow, as it runs through a complete “scan” animation before returning control to the player.Continued on the next page...