Paradise - Review

Ages: Teen

Benoit Sokal is known for interesting characters and good stories -- not to mention great graphics. This is the second female protagonist after Kate Walker of Syberia. Ann comes with a history. We know that she is the daughter of Rodon the despotic king of Maurania. Her entry into the game is through a plane crash resulting in amnesia. Little clues give her name as Ann Smith, and a notebook indicates her understanding of the flora and fauna of this fictional African nation/colony. While Ann's apparent mission is to return a mysterious leopard "home", actually, her real object is to find out who she is and why she is here. Throughout the game, Ann will question the people she meets and get stories pro and con for Rodon and the rebels fighting against him. Coming closer to her realization of who she is and where her allegiance lies is the crux of the story. Heavy stuff.

The action takes place in fantastic settings -- as you might expect from Sokal. A luxurious harem, a tree-top colony, lush and dangerous jungles, an emerald mine and eventually the ominous Black Vault. The puzzles that you need to solve to navigate through these environments are numerous and complex. Complex because they are not one-shot solutions but require multiple steps and logical planning on the part of the player.

The game ends in typical Sokal fashion. Remember in Syberia Kate dismisses the plane home and re-boards the train, and in Syberia II she is left alone on a snowy, windswept bluff. Expect an inconclusive ending in Paradise.

Of course, Ann Smith will be compared to Kate Walker. Kate was more engaging because she had a clever character to play to -- Oscar, the almost human automaton, and the result was that Kate became a character that the player could identify with. Ann Smith is out of it; she expresses no amazement at incredible situations she finds herself in, or even concern about the deaths of the people who are helping her. A little more work on the game throughout would have brought it up to par with Syberia. But not to grouse too much, not all of Rembrandt's paintings were masterpieces.

Reviewed by: Editor - 06/06

  • Paradise
  • © UBISoft
  • Windows 2000, XP
  • To Order: Win $35.99