You are a journalist about to meet an old man, an explorer of the land called Amerzone. You speak briefly with the explorer, to find that he has been planning another trip to Amerzone to return the egg of the White Birds. He dies during your talk; his last request is that you undertake the journey for him to return the egg. Being the sort of person you are, you decide to fulfil the request (or this is a very *very* short game!)
Amerzone is a Myst type game, one of the better clones that I've seen. The world is beautifully rendered in 3-d with much detail. The sound effects and music blend well and don't distract you from the story. And the world has many rendered animals which are nicely built. I'm not too fond of using 3-d techniques to render characters, the plastic look just don't do for humans. But there aren't many of those.
For an adventure game, Amerzone has one of the simplest booklets that you will ever see (two small pages). The escape key brings up the main menu (save, load, options and quit). The right mouse button brings up the inventory screen. The cursor is a typical hot cursor which changes on items that you can manipulate in some way.
You'll find that each location has 360° of rendered background, just move your cursor even slightly to the left or right to start looking around (up and down to some extent as well). There are only a limited number of locations you'll be able to move to, but there are times when you may get a bit confused. Well, anyone who explores a swamp without a compass should expect such things. You may have to persist to find what you need though.
You will find that it is impossible to continue on your journey until everything in the area has been found/solved. So don't panic that you are stuck somewhere. You'll just need to look more closely for items. In fact, this is the major secret to playing this game, look very carefully everywhere.
The Hydrafloat is your craft for this exploration. This is a most amazing craft. It does need fuel, and it needs 'details' (this seems to translate to directions on where to go next). The Hydrafloat will regularly need fuel, and you'll need new instructions to use alternate forms the Hydrofloat can take. You'll find that the original team left some diskettes behind, you'll need to find and load those.
Not terribly major gripes for Amerzone. The first is that the cursor is too responsive to your mouse. You start spinning in a circle as soon as your cursor moves from the center of the screen unlike games like Black Dahlia where you must click and hold to start changing direction. While quick response is generally good, I found that to be a bit dizzying at times.
The game did lock about 3 times on my computer. Your mileage may vary.
A couple of small inventory bugs. Once the game and I were out of phase about whether or not I was carrying one of the inventory items in hand. And once I solved a puzzle I shouldn't have yet because I hadn't quite completed the rest of the puzzle.
If you are looking for a new Myst type game, Amerzone may be the answer to your prayers. The game is relatively short for experienced adventurers. But the travelling sequences as you move further toward or into the Amerzone are worth watching. No violence, no critical timing sequences, but some of the items on the screen are a bit of a pixel hunt. Suitable for family entertainment.
I can hardly wait for someone to invent the Hydrafloat. A most useful vehicle for your travels.