Lost Horizon PC DVD
Published by: Deep Silver
Developed by: Animation Arts
Lost Horizon puts you in the shoes of Fenton Paddock, a dishonourably discharged British soldier who spends his time boozing and smuggling in Hong Kong. Paddock has been spending his time upsetting Mun Tong and his band of Triad thugs and they’ve just about had enough of him when Lord Weston calls upon him to search for someone. Paddock certainly has no intention of assisting the army in any way but when he learns that the missing person is Lord Weston’s son, Richard, who has been a long-time friend of his, he immediately decides to do all he can to help. What Paddock doesn’t realise is that his friend’s disappearance is closely tied to the Nazis and their search for occult weapons with which to aid their efforts for world domination. Some may find the storyline clichéd and the pace of it is a little laboured to begin with but it certainly picks up as the game progresses.
Like the Secret Files titles, Lost Horizon is a point and click adventure game with traditional adventure game style puzzles. You’ll be collecting items and combining some of them in order to solve the many puzzles that will come your way during the course of the game. Some puzzles require teamwork between Paddock and other characters you can switch between. As a rather pleasing twist, there are certain puzzles that can be solved in more than one way. Very early in the game for example Paddock has to avoid the attention of a couple of Triad thugs in his local nightclub. If he’s managed to arrange a date with a chanteuse she will distract the thugs whilst he pops out the back door but if he didn’t manage to impress with his conversation choices he’ll have to get creative with some absinthe and a serving trolley. Such flexibility in an adventure game is rare to see and is certainly appreciated.
As most adventure gamers will appreciate, there comes a time when you’ll simply be unsure of what you have to do next, maybe because you’ve been away from the game for rather longer than you would have wanted or maybe you have more than one adventure game on the go. Lost Horizon thankfully includes an in-built assistant that you can call on to remind you of what you need to be doing. To receive the reminders you simply need to click on the “!?” icon in the lower left corner. You won’t be given any hints as such, so this can’t be considered as a hint system but it does help you to get back on the right track if you happen to have forgotten what needs to be done. The game manual does come with a generous amount of hints included, so if you’re stuck in the first couple of chapters it’s certainly worth taking a glance through it.
Adventure games are not normally known for being great looking titles but it has to be said that Lost Horizon is rather pleasing on the eye. The game features a healthy amount of beautiful locations such as Hong Kong, the Himalayas and Berlin that really add to the game’s ambience. The large character models are well detailed although their animations can seem quite wooden at times. On the whole however this is a fine looking adventure game.
Lost Horizon is subtitled and deaf gamers will have no problems in following the game’s storyline. Not all of the dialogue in the game is subtitled, for instance very early in the game you’ll see a chanteuse crooning away on stage and none of her words are subtitled. Songs being played on radios are also not subtitled and there aren’t any visual clues for any actions that are carried out off screen (you won’t be aware that Paddock is using the toilet for instance whereas hearing gamers will hear him relieving himself). This is hardly a major problem however and all of the essential dialogue is subtitled. Character portraits are placed above the dialogue so you’ll always be aware of who is saying what. The dialogue text is quite large and therefore always comfortable to read. The text is also placed in a black border at the bottom of the screen so you won’t have any problems with it clashing against the various backgrounds in the game. Clicking on the magnifying glass icon will allow you to see what people or items can be interacted with on screen. You can also click the “!?” icon to remind yourself of what needs to be done. These reminders are also subtitled.
The quality of both the storyline and personalities involved in it definitely feel like a step up from the Secret Files games and as a result the game is more enjoyable. I particularly like the inclusion of a system that reminds you of what needs to be done. Some may have also wanted a full blown hint system and this certainly would help to avoid having to exit out of the game to consult a walkthrough when being stumped by a puzzle but it’s certainly not much of a problem. In short Lost Horizon is a fine adventure game that shows that Animation Arts are definitely improving as a developer of adventure games. Definitely recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in point and click adventure games.