In ”WRATH OF THE GODS” you take the role of a hero on a quest to regain your kingdom. In this photo-realistic CD-ROM adventure game based on the Gyeek myths, you’ll explore over a hundred scenes created from original photographs of Greece. Fight monsters, encounter colorful live-action characters and match wits against challenges based on the exploits of the greatest heroes of all time.
Featuring an animated hint line and an illustrated information resource that provides background on the myths, “WRATH OF THE GODS” takes you far beyond the limits of the traditional graphic adventure game: the life-like characters, lavish soundtrack and unparalleled photo-realism give you the experience of being inside a movie.
~from the back of the box
The fantasy of Greek mythology is rife with stories to mine for a point-and-click adventure. Pretty much all of them are represented in Luminaria's one and only game; Wrath of the Gods. Released in 1994, it appears to have been a staple of US school computers. Here in the UK however, where it never saw store shelves, it's something of an unknown.
As you can probably guess given its prevelance in the educational system, there's a large educational component to Wrath of the Gods. Included is an entertainingly informative glossary detailing the historical and mythological events depicted in any given screen. Reading these blurbs will let you know just how accurate the game's story actually is - which isn't much. Our nameless hero is an amalgamation of several characters from antiquity, including Hercules, Perseus and Jason so you'll see him travel to the underworld, defeat a hydra or hunt for the golden fleece. All of these acts were originally done by seperate heroes.
With all of these trials in front of you, it sounds like it could be a dangerous quest. Our hero is not as strong as Hercules, as wily as Perseus or as commanding as Jason so how will he fare? In fact, he's a bit of a buffoon, although at least he's a loveable one. You're likely to accidentally kill him off the first time you encounter any dangerous creature, but it's good to know that that's not a game over. You'll be sent to Olympus where a grumpy Zeus will send you back. These scenes are very fun to watch, so I recommend dying purposefully a few times just to see what happens. You're only punishment will be a brisk walk to where you died to try again.
The two difficulty options only relate to whether
you have access to the Oracle hint system or not.
On you're leisurely stroll back, you'll perhaps notice how pretty the photoshopped sights of Ancient Greece are. Real photographs have been altered and composited to make each backdrop fit with the game's needs. Being digitized sprites of actual actors, the characters compliment them too. The whole cast performs their roles very well, even if their close-up animations look a bit wonky in an attempt for the developers to save processing power and disc space.
Every actor imbues their character with a distinct personality. The overall tone is a comedic one, but unlike many, I would say it's actually laugh-out-loud funny. Almost any action you try or conversation you have is played for laughs. Consider the point where our slightly confused hero tries to climb on an old lady's back instead of carrying her over the river as you'd expect. Look at the bemused look on his face as a snake whispers some threatening advice into his ear. Hear his struggles as he balances across a fallen tree to cross a crevasse. The game is filled with jokes and gags that don't need to be there but they are, proving that the San Francisco based Luminaria put a lot of heart and effort into its development.
The only issue I found is that some random pieces of dialogue don't play. Overall, I estimate around 10% is missing or broken and it appears to be that way no matter how I play it. I can't be sure if it's the emulation or the game itself, but either way, it's ultimately a slight annoyance. While there are no subtitles, the included guide also provides the script alongside the walkthrough. Even so, you can figure out what to do easily enough and the encyclopedia will also aid you if you're stuck. Or if you can't be bothered with all that, you can sacrifice some arbitrary points and take advantage of the Oracle.
The Oracle is an optional in-game hint system that will offer up cryptic clues on what to do next. The more you visit her, the more succinct she'll be until she more or less solves it for you. If you're an old-school Sierra adventurer and care about completing adventures with the most points possible, do not use her but all those points will give you is bragging rights so it's up to you. I don't know anyone who'll be impressed by it anyway. It's already an easy game.
The map screen is useful if you're lost or want to quick-travel to a location (left).
It may play like a familiar adventure, but there are a few help pages just in case (right).
Most of the locations are open to you from the beginning, making the world seem huge and sprawling. The game gives you a map to offer a hand in directions, but it's not entirely useful to begin with. What it can do is warp you directly to a place you've already been for the cost of 2 gems. I don't recommend doing this for a while as this form of currency is quite scarce at the beginning of the game. You'll be given two at the start, with another one easily found nearby, but you'll need all three to trade with a couple of beggar women and a chipper torchbearer. Later on, you'll find a location that will offer up gems every time you visit so wait until you've discovered that before warping all across Greece.
If I were to compare Wrath of the Gods to other edutainment titles, it fares very favourably. In fact, I struggle to put it in that category as it's much more of a traditional adventure. And a good one at that. Very rarely do educational titles feel like full games, but Luminaria succeeded fantastically. If only the audio kinks could be ironed out, it would stand up as one of the better examples of the genre.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Guide included. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 237 Mb. Install Size: 555 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Wrath of the Gods is © Luminaria
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me