The Immortals of Terra: A Perry Rhodan Adventure, developed by Brain Game and published by Viva Media for play on the PC, is a point-and-click Sci-Fi adventure game based on the German Sci-Fi character Perry Rhodan book series published since 1961. Perry is an immortal human who helped humans populate space amongst other alien species. The series totes over 1 billion copies sold and is said to be the most successful science fiction book series ever written.
The story for Immortals begins in the futuristic world of Perry Rhodan where an explosion has rocked the Solar Residence space station, which happens to be the main power source for Terrans (the people). Mondra Diamond (Perry's main squeeze) has just been kidnapped by alien battle robots and it's up to Perry to solve various puzzles in order to save her. Perry begins his adventure stuck on the space station where he needs to solve puzzles in order to progress through the game and save his sweet sexy sugarbuns.
Immortals is not an exciting stop-your-heart did-you-just-see-that-old-lady-explode-her-guts-all-over-that-alien's-butt kind of game, but rather more a thinking man's game. It lends itself to very calm and quiet periods interspersed with moments where you think something exciting will happen only to be blandly led on to a new challenge yielding the same yawn-inducing results. Immortals uses the old-fashioned point-and-click interface which leads to the repetitive nature of the gameplay. As Perry Rhodan, you point and click around each environment looking for clues (or use the Scan feature which will highlight all active elements in a room - a very nice touch for those who don't find scanning every pixel on a screen a hot steamy time). Elements in a room may give you a clue that you can investigate with the other characters in the game, or may be a puzzle that, if you feel free to leave logic at the door, can be solved. The puzzles range from somewhat challenging to easy; not challenging in a math problem-solving way but in a 'I didn't know I could pull that lever?!?' kind of way. The gameplay is a continuous cycle of: talk to characters, find a new clue, talk to characters again, find new puzzle, bash brains on table, solve puzzle, talk to characters.
The graphics in Immortal are very hit and miss. Once I've made up my mind that the game looks too outdated, I'll enter another room where the enhanced lighting effects make it look spectacular. The environments look very sleek and detailed but sometimes it's hard to know exactly where you can and can't traverse. Perry does not interact with his environment very well as you'll see him typing on a control panels two feet above the keys, which is pretty goofy. Screenshots you'll see on the Internet for Immortals can be a bit misleading, because the game does excel as still pictures, but add movement and life and it's as exciting as installing Windows Updates.
Immortals fares above average in the sound category due to the amount of quality voice work. The characters can be annoying because of the repetition of the canned phrases (especially when shopping new clues to the same old characters) but the voices are clear and resonate quite well. Perry's voice (especially when talking to himself) sounds like a cowboy in a coffee commercial (a Space Ghost-type tone for those familiar with the campy show), but helps to assert his alpha male status despite his tight clothing choices. The sound effects are fairly standard canned sounds that help add depth to the environment but are nothing new. Music-wise, there is only one futuristic opera-type song that I remember from the menu screen.
While I was discussing Immortals with a friend of mine in preparation for this review, I was explaining why I felt the point-and-click interface, the sometimes illogical puzzles, and the circular format of asking the same characters questions again and again made this game fairly boring. He made an interesting point: How is this different from the Resident Evil games that I love so much? This is quite a poignant question and threw me for a bit of a loop. Resident Evil is fun and entertaining; it requires the player to use a 3D character to walk around stationary environments solving puzzles in order to advance the detailed storyline much like Immortals. How can I enjoy the Resident Evil series and pan Immortals as less exciting than Solitaire?
Resident Evil succeeds in creating a sense of mystery and urgency for the player. With zombies and other creepy creatures around every turn, I felt far more motivated in Resident Evil to complete each puzzle until I finished the story. Immortals on the other hand, has a kind of laid-back feel to it where there is no urgency; you have all the time in the world. Immortals places Perry in situations where other people are around only to complicates the puzzles, because the solution may not be up to just Perry to solve. In Resident Evil, most of the puzzles relied on a single player to investigate, remember, and replace items in order to continue. In addition, Resident Evil offered action sequences that (and I say this in a strictly contemporary artistic way…) allowed you to blow the heads off of the undead! Immortals generally lacks these important pulses in maintaining a tempo of exciting gameplay. The differences between the two titles are deeper than the difference in genre.
Immortals is not a game that I would choose to play in order to relax or pass the time in the airport. This title would offer value to those who are already fans of (or have previously heard of) Perry Rhodan and would like a more interactive experience with the character. With a background of the Perry Rhodan series, I can't help but think that the environments would offer illustrations of ideas written in the text which would make the fans happy.