Ocean Depths - The Atari Times
Visiting the depths of the ocean
by JagChrisJanuary 21, 2008
Before actually seeing this title in action for myself, my impression, for reasons I can't explain was that it was an animated 'Aquarium' show. Much like you see in the recent PC screensavers these days. Well I was warned right before I bought it that that wasn't the case. And it of course proved true.
Ocean Depths is a slideshow of still Oceanic images, mostly centering around Dolphins. The only part of it that's animated is the opening intro screen, with a Dolphin swimming in towards the center of the screen. This part is the most intriguing part to me about Ocean Depths. I wish Lars would of continued more in this direction.
The images of the slideshow are pretty good, and according to the credits, are entirely Lars' handiwork. The young man has lots of talent as an artist. Unfortunately for me, a slideshow is not all that interesting.
If the animated Aquarium approach had been taken, man what a awesome thing that would be. You could do an Aquarium, an Oceanic Aquarium. A prehistoric Aquarium. As a lover of Dinosaurs the thought of seeing a Liopleurodon swimming by or a Mosasaur on a Jag screensaver type Aquarium program would really be an exciting prospect.
The next title on the OD CD: Eerievale:
Once again showing off Mr. Hannig's talent as an artist, this demo is reminiscent of Myst and the 7th Guest. Especially when you enter the great hall, right away it made me think of the 7th Guest. The interface is a little different with buttons you can click to determine what action you want to take such as take, look etc. Above the buttons on the left side in white letters, it shows what function is currently active, such as 'Walk'. Drag the cursor anywhere on the screen, if it turns into a boot, and a worded direction will pop up also above the action buttons, such as 'Back, Left, Right' etc. Indicating you can walk in that direction. Also, along the top, sometimes text will appear, explaining an environmental condition to you. The interface is interesting, and once you get use to it, in some ways is more user friendly than a game like Myst.
I've played these type of games but haven't really studied them where I feel I can speak with any real authority on whether this interface is revolutionary or not. Although other graphic adventures seem to accomplish all these functions without needing the action buttons. But perhaps their benefits shine later on in the game, I do not know as the demo only lets you explore around the front yard a little and a couple rooms to the left and right of the main hall and the staircase(7th Guest anyone?) . Perhaps the interface should be more intuitive. Instead of having to go and click 'use' then clicking on the fuse box to open it. Then clicking 'use' again to flip the switch behind it. Perhaps the interface should be smart enough to know when you click on something what is expected.
JAGMIND: The images are nice and sharp. Unfortunately my interest in this was minimal. Not big into this type of puzzle game.
Lars' artistic skills are impressive. As is the fact he is that adept at programming, and learned to program, using the Jag and what resources have been available through the underground. It's kind of inspiring. This shows much potential for the future for Lars.
My overall impression of the OD CD was that the demos are interesting. However, they are IMHO not the $30+ interesting that the current asking rate for a new copy of Ocean Depths is. When complete, good games such as Painter, Jagtris(excellent Tetris clone) are around and available freely for download, in my view, asking the current rate for the VERY brief incomplete demo of Eerievale and the OD slideshow may be a bit steep.
I got this game when it was released and thought it was a good start for Lar's. Its intesting to see what can been done from a novice programmer who is self taught. I did enjoy the demos and Jaguar Mind game which was nicely done. Its just the step price of $39.99 which I thought and also did others that it was way too high..If he would of released the game for $24.99 I would of looked at it as a better value, we must support the new Jaguar development games but at a reasonable price.