Sethi and the Inca Wizard
Suitable for ages 6 and up
A review by slydos 5th December 2002
"Sethi and the Inca Wizard" is the second game of the series after "Sethi and the Crown of Egypt" by Montparnasse Multimedia (the company isn't existing any more since middle of 2002, it was bought up by Mindscape), where children can learn playfully more about the great civilizations - this time it's about the Inca imperium.
The game comes on a hybrid CD for MAC and PC, together with a scarce, however colored illustrated manual in an Euro-box. We can select between an express and a user-defined setup. The installation runs in each case smoothly and we reach the input screen for our name accompanied by South American panpipe sound. Under this name the game is saved in each case, if we leave the game. After the name input or name selection, if we've already started to play it, we watch the prehistory and get our (Sethi's) order within the short intro. The intro can be stopped by mouse-click.
In Cuzco, the Inca capitol, strange things happened. We see a disguised person, who gets a doll from a woman. This woman is the sister of Quoya, the queen of the Inca. She gets together with a wizard to occupy her sister's throne through evil magic. And the queen actually gets seriously ill. Nobody knows to help her. So the holy Condor asks Sethi for help. Sethi and his faithful friend, the little monkey Pepi, should free the queen from the magic spell and throw the magic doll into the big river. The game begins in the Inca town.
"Sethi and the Inca Wizard" is totally mouse-controlled, whereby we cannot move young Sethi ourselves within the different scenes. Sethi is standing or sitting in each location and moves automatically, if we exit the scene by mouse-click. To mark a scene exit, the cursor transforms into a rectangle with an arrow inside.
If the cursor transforms into a hand, we can push objects by drag&drop e.g. into our inventory crate at the right lower corner of the screen or just move it from A to B. A hand with stretched index finger lets Sethi speak with a person. If the cursor transforms into a large "L", you can listen to a legend of the actual topic, e.g. about the sun cult. A further cursor shape is a book. Behind this hides a detailed encyclopedia, with topics of culture and language of the Inca, likewise spoken but also in text form so that it can be reread. If a small padlock appears, then a possible way is still blocked.
At the top of the screen one can click on a piece of cloth and a map flaps out. Here one can move fast with one click to another location, however only to places, which already have been visited. At the bottom left hand corner there is a navigation wheel, in which you can adjust the volume, take a photo, call the photo album or the help function or simply can save, load or quit the game.
In the bottom right corner you can click on the inventory chest. With clicking and pulling one can use objects. If you drive with the mouse over it, the object description is indicated. The control is simple to learn, but if you need any help, you can find it under the question mark in the navigation wheel. There one gets explanations of the functions on the basis of on screen examples, all texts are also spoken. Such functions can in each case be stopped by left click of the mouse. Handling and controls are simple and appropriate for children. Positive: All interactive screen texts are simultanously and clearly spoken.
In order to complete his task - to get the doll and drown it into the river, Sethi must visit the most diverse locations to get objects that are necessary to finally advance to the wizard. The puzzles and tasks are appropriate for children, but not as simple that one would get through the game without thinking. One must listen to the interlocutors and examine all scenes exactly.
In the sumptuous and colored scenes one can look and click at a lot of things and also carry away some items. Other objects you can only receive after successfully solving a task, e.g. colour the carpets of the weaver women or put together a jigsaw puzzle. The famous rock drawings of the Inca, which one can recognize only from bird perspective, are jigsaw puzzles. Here the degree of difficulty can be intensified, by fading out the original template. If you like, you can repeat e.g. the puzzles with other individual pieces. Also some other tasks are repeatable.
The puzzles are integrated into the plot and make fun. Under the movements of the cursor many things on the screen move too, animals and humans. Some characters offer hints to get ahead or give you objects, which you can use elsewhere well.
In addition you learn a lot about Inca culture and language just by the way, when clicking on certain areas: about their former rulers, their religion, their customs, their clothes, their food and their tales. One can also look up the most important terms of the Inca language Quechua in a dictionary, the Quipu. The whole thing is very instructive and interesting not only for children but also for adults. In addition the children can make photos of the game screens and put them in an album.
The graphics of the game are comic style and very colourful. Everywhere something is moving around, suddenly some stones separate from a cliff or a mummy bestirs. Animals scamper through the screens and we can fly on the Condor. The video sequences at the beginning and end are however somewhat blurred contrary to the clear ingame graphics.
The speakers accompany the game expressionful and clear. By Sethi's and Pepi's comments we get to know whether we are right or wrong with our puzzle solutions. The whole is accompanied by Indian music with flute and rhythm instruments.
A graphical affectionately designed adventure game with puzzles, which challenge children, however do not overextend. To point out in particular the detailed edutainment part, which sure animates to replay the game to experience more about the life of the Inca. A successful combination of puzzles, information and entertainment, unfortunately with approximately 4 hours play time very short (adults may need approx. half the time).
My rating: 65 %
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)
Minimal system configuration PC:
- Windows 95/98/2000/ME/NT4/2000/XP
- Athlon/Pentium 233 Mhz
- Graphic card 800 x 600
- 16 bit audio
- 32 MB RAM
- 70 MB on hard disk
- 12x CDROM-drive
Minimal system configuration MAC:
- Power PC
- Graphic card 800 x 600
- 16 bit audio
- 32 MB RAM
- 70 MB on hard disk
- 8x CDROM-drive
- 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