Thorgal - Odin's Curse
Release date France: 09/2002
Release date Germany: 28.02.2003
Developer: Ontario Europe/Akella
Publisher France: Cryo
Publisher Germany: The Adventure Company Europe
Distributor Germany: Flashpoint
Game language: English with German subtitles
USK: 12 years and up
"Thorgal - Odin's Curse" hit the shelves in Germany on 28th February 03. In France it was already published in September 2002, but Cryo (publisher of the game in France) had problems at this time, so the game unfortunately was released much later here. But better too late than never! Since the leftovers of Cryo were taken over by Dream Catcher Interactive, now the game is sold under the "The Adventure Company"-label and distributed in Germany by Flashpoint.
"Thorgal" is a very well-known and successful (particularly in France) comic series, already consisting of many volumes produced by comic draftsman Grzegorz Rosinski. This game is based on the original designs of Rosinski. The script was written by Jan van Hamme (the original author of the Thorgal comics).
In the 7th century: While Aegir, the God of the sea, covers the countries of the north with his uncontrolled anger, the courageous Thorgal Aegirsson tries to find his way to his home island, where he is longingly expected by his beloved ones: by Aaricia, his wife, his son Jolan and his daughter Louve. But in face of the angry divinity, whose outbursts of fury he had to endure more than one time full of sorrow, Thorgal prefers to wait until the uncontrolled elements get quiet. Only a fool would be so senseless to provoke them again.
Thorgal, who was well received in a viking village, must desperately find out, that all roads, which lead away from the village, are paved with the worst dangers. It is rumoured about a horde of merciless marauders. While from the canopy split by Thor with an enormous thunderbolt the floods fall down on earth, Thorgal's bitter thoughts hang around his family and the up and down of his fate. Is it impudent, wishing to live in peace and harmony ...?
In the village Thorgal meets a mysterious old man: Noral. Noral gives Thorgal a magic mirror, which shows his fate ... The vision is gruesome: Thorgal watches, how he spears his own son Jolan with a deadly arrow. Braving gods and humans, Thorgal must travel to the borders of space and time, to protect his family and to solve the secrets around this terrible vision.
In this adventure you play Thorgal Aegirsson, who tries to save his son. Therefore he must find his way home first. He must reach the other side of the island in a (dangerous) journey. On his way he has to solve several puzzles of course and to visit many locations (viking village, spaceship, in-between-world (between death and life), the bandits' castle and his home island).
The story develops during the whole game so that one can never predict what will happen next. Thorgal meets several characters. Some of them are dangerous, but Thorgal's strategy does not include frontal attacks to overwhelm opponents. He prefers more elegant solutions, tricking the enemy to win fights. Thorgal is a peaceful human and tries to avoid violent confrontations. If that doesn't succeed (and of course this often happens ;-) the gamer must come up with something, what is sometimes no simple task.
There are also many dialogues, which run off automatically - you only have to click on a person. You can't select any sentences and so affect the action somehow. The dialogues are informative and not too lengthy. You never get the feeling of talking too much. The whole game is played in full-screen-mode, only the video sequences are in a wide screen mode (with black bars at the bottom and top).
All puzzles are very logical. With some puzzles you'll need some time, but there is never a dead end of thoughts. There are some time limited puzzles and several tasks where you can also die. If you die, you must load a savegame - and this was not only a problem to me. The game crashes very often when loading a savegame and the only way out was a game or even computer restart. In addition the loading process takes about 1-2 minutes.
The puzzles are different: e.g. combination puzzzles, a beautiful rune game (that - once solved - can be replayed again and again as long as you want - great!), shooting with bow and arrows at various moving targets (simple, if you exactly know the target ; -), a 3D-puzzle.
Loading screen: Each chapter has its own "title page", which appears during loading process.
The menu is very simple to handle. It is not very large, contains however everything you need: Save, Load, Options (with sound and graphics settings) and a log book (later more about that). "Thorgal" can be played by up to 5 different users, savegames and settings are separately stored for each of them.
Dubbing, translation and music
I've to say this! This game is in English, only the sub-titles are German !!! And what is most awful: there was no word about this fact on the box! It was sold in Germany as "German version" although only everything which is written (sub-titles, menu, log) is in German, all speech is 100% English! I myself can live with that, since I know English very well and like to play games in English, but for the people, who only have school knowledge or don't know English at all, this is extremely unpleasant, since you have to read the sub-titles while playing and miss a lot of the action while doing that.
In addition I would say that spoken words remain longer in my head, when following dialogues by hearing, than by reading them very fast, which can prove as disadvantage when it comes to puzzle solving.
Despite I liked the English synchronisation: the characters had a very good pronunciation, hardly sentences to find which can't be understand. The voices fit the characters. The music is also matching and pleasant.
"Thorgal" consists of 3D-characters and rendered backgrounds. Those backgrounds are very beautiful and highly detailed, colored, very lifelike, but with a highly visible comic touch, although it is actually only a "touch". The 3D-characters also succeeded very well (if I say this, then it's a homage, because I'm a convinced realtime-3D-hater). Nothing impressed me here in a negative way.
The game is totally mouse-controlled. You only need the keyboard, if you want to exit a video sequence with the Esc-key. The inventory is also very easy to handle - just use your right mouse button. In addition to the collected objects there are some links: option menu / save load menu / log book. If you take up an object, it's briefly first shown on the screen, then it disappears into the inventory.
If you want to use an object, you open the inventory, click on the desired item and pull it to the place, where it (according to your opinion) belongs. If the opinion was wrong, the object again ends up in the inventory. Some objects are badly visible, however twinkle occasionally, so that the player finally still can discover them.
Saving games - one can save at any time (except you are in the middle of a timed puzzle), but there are unfortunately only 9 save slots (far too few).
"Thorgal" can be installed without any problems and uses approx. 450 MB of your hard disk space.
The log: The log is briefly said a summary of what the player already experienced and this summary can be opened any time. That is nothing new and often offered in adventure games, but it became a special bonbon here, since the whole summary is represented by comic drawings (see screenshot).
I enjoyed "Thorgal" very much. It is beautiful, with an interesting story, logical puzzles and no dead ends. It could have been somewhat longer, but it's surely not a short game (like e.g. "Road to India"). A MINUS of course, the semifinished translation in the form of sub-titles! And it's really barefaced that no word can be read on the packaging about it. Everyone has to decide for him-/herself whether a German dubbing is really important. The game itself is recommendable. The missing synchronisation is perhaps dependant on the fact that adventure games have a smaller market share... but what is really important in adventure games is the WORD, and the publishers deter the buyers with that.
My total rating: 70%
Minimal system requirements:
- Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP
- Pentium II 400
- 64 MB RAM
- 8x CDROM-drive
- 450 MB on hard disk
- 3D graphic card with 16 MB memory minimum
- DirectX 8.1
- AMD Athlon 1333 MHz
- 256 MB DDR RAM
- 32 MB Nvidia GeForce graphic card
I had no technical problems with the game (except savegames, therefore read chapter "puzzles").
2nd opinion by slydos
Like Elena I've played "Thorgal" and like her I must admit that German subtitles or even a game completly in English is no problem for me too. But that is surely untransferable to the majority of players, who besides were accustomed to complete German versions by former publisher Cryo. But this case is somewhat different than with other similarly located games: The publisher and/or distributor has consciously or unconsciously deceived not only the gamers but also the dealers with the indication "German speech", who for their part offered the game with "German dubbing". Who cannot live with that, has to go the unpleasant way of complaint because of "absence of an assured characteristic feature" and require his/her money back.
On my plus side of "Thorgal" is first and foremost the main music theme: a wonderful catchy tune based on forceful cello sounds, to which I sometimes listened for several minutes in the main menu and which I still had to hum later on. (Unfortunately the whole sounded like a broken record sometimes during the actual game, because loading from CD simply did not work.)
The second plus surely are the simple controls.
Thirdly we encounter excellent graphics, which don't deny the hand of the draughtsman Rosinski.
On my minus side are story and puzzles. The story, because by hook or crook a connection with the successful Atlantis titles should be made, which isn't actually existing if you look at the comic original. One becomes aware of this intention and is put out. (with the US-version this intention becomes completely clear, since the French original title "Odin's Curse" was changed into "Curse of Atlantis", which isn't suitable at all).
The story also, because dramaturgic basic rules were ignored and the "hammer puzzle" (a 3D-slider) was positioned right at the beginning, which will shock new adventure gamers at this early stage. The puzzles, as far as they refer to inventory objects, are of the category super-easy and require little mental effort. As compensation the developers have built in time-dependent archery each second scene unsuccessfully ending with Game Over too often.
My total rating: 63%
- Windows XP
- P IV 1,6 GHz
- 512 MB RAM
- 16x DVD-ROM (Artec WRA-A40)
- nVidia GeForce 2MX400 64 MB graphic card
- Sound card DirectX-compatible
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
"CRYO-Games" is part of © "History Adventures" by Elena Steingrad © 2000-2003
Copyright © Elena Steingrad for Adventure-Archiv, 12th March 2003