Review by Ofisil

"Just an Ok game"

Salammbo: Battle For Carthage is an Advanture game developed by Cryo Interactive. It is a game heavily based in the comic of the same name of French artist Philippe Druillet, which in turned was based in the novel of Gustave Flaubert. I liked the game, at least in my first playthrough, but after comparing it with the real good games out there it turned out that Salammbo is just a decent one and nothing more.

Story: 6/10
Presentation: 5/10

You are Spendius, a man that has been captured by Carthaginians and used as a slave. Then one day… you're fired… which means that you are now left in a hole to die! You try to escape from there and in the process meat Salammbo, the beautiful high priestess of Carthage. She asks you to secretly deliver a gift to the man he loves, the leader of the Carthaginian mercenaries and then she will help you escape. The story is good… and that's a bad thing! When playing an Adventure game you need something better than just a good story. It starts ok, getting you into the plot, since your little chore becomes a great adventure with your character starting a riot and being in involved in all kinds of situations, but soon it becomes real boring and you'll almost feel like a boy for chores. The main characters are very boring and have nothing special about them and Salammbo who is supposed to be the main deal here is seen only 2 times in the game. Generally, while the story is ok it could be much, much better… don't forget we are talking about an Adventure game here and not an Action one.

Gameplay: 5/10
Replay Value: 1/10

We have a relatively good plot and a game with a unique graphics design, but what about the game is it fun? It is decent… you might enjoy it in your first playthrough but I guarantee that you won't play it again. Salammbo is a first person adventure game where you move from screen to screen searching for stuff and talking with people and of course solving puzzles. The dialogues\characters don't have anything special about them and the actual adventuring isn't something special. You explore the various areas, pick up the various items and then use them in order to move on. You won't do something crazy with your items, everything is pretty predictable, maybe a bit too much. Puzzles are also quite easy even thought some of them are fun to solve.

Something rare in the point & click adventure games genre is when the protagonist dies and in this game, you'll die a lot. Make a wrong choice in a conversation, move to a certain area, push the wrong level and you are dead. Most of these stuff can be easily avoided since it is quite obvious when to avoid what. A small innovation in this game are some parts where actual real time action is required, but these don't exactly add to the game. For example there is a part where you enter a tend and a timer is on meaning that you must be fast in whatever you want to do in the tent or else you die… so what? Generally I believe that the game lacks a lot of the things that make a good adventure game.

Graphics: 7/10
Design: 7.5/10

Those familiar with the works of the innovative comic artist Philippe Druillet will love the look of the game. You view the game from a first person view and can rotate the camera 360 degrees since, like in Myst the view is panoramic. The world of Salammbo is a dark place, with strange cloudy skies, barbarian architecture and strange almost alien creatures. The characters have good design, with greatly detailed armor and mystifying eyes… apart from Salammbo herself who strangely enough is actually the only normal looking character in the game. The only problem is the lack of variety since everything looks pretty much the same.

Sound: 5/10
Music: 5/10

I can't say that I was impressed by the overall sound quality of Salammbo. The music is almost nonexistent, usually just a short sound clip after solving a riddle. The ambient effects are also a few ones, like the wind blowing or the sound of water. Finally the voice acting of Salammbo leaves something to be desired, not that it is bad, it is just a bit lifeless and one of the 2 reasons, (along with the overall story execution of the game), why the characters are so boring…

Positives:
-Very good, dark\gothic design

Negatives:
-The puzzles are too easy
-Boring characters

Also Play:
Dark Earth (PC)
Myst\Riven (Series)(PC)
Schizm (PC)

Overall: 5.2/10

I've gave it a 5, I could give it a 6, but I could also give it a 4. I'm trying to say that the game is mediocre. Its puzzles are too simple, its plot is good but gets boring soon and the characters don't help at all. I don't exactly recommend the game.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 09/16/09

Game Release: Salammbo: Battle of Carthage (US, 05/08/03)


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