Atlantis: The Lost Tales

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Atlantis: The Lost Tales
Cover art
Developer(s)Cryo Interactive Entertainment
Publisher(s)Cryo Interactive Entertainment (Europe)
Sega (Sega Saturn version)
Interplay Productions (North America)
Director(s)Rémi Herbulot
Producer(s)Rémi Herbulot
Jean-Martial Lefranc
Philippe Ulrich
Designer(s)Johan Robson
Programmer(s)Éric Safar
Artist(s)Thomas Boulard
Writer(s)Johan Robson
Composer(s)Pierre Estève
Stéphane Picq
Platform(s)Windows, MS-DOS, Saturn, PlayStation
  • EU: March 1997[1]
  • NA: September 30, 1997
Sega Saturn
  • EU: June 1998
  • EU: October 1998

Atlantis: The Lost Tales is a 1997 fantasy adventure video game developed and published by Cryo Interactive. Interplay Productions published the game in North America, where it released on September 30, 1997. The game is named after its initial and most important setting, Atlantis. It is the first in a Myst-like series, and was followed by Atlantis II (Beyond Atlantis outside Europe), Atlantis III: The New World (Beyond Atlantis II), Atlantis Evolution and The Secrets of Atlantis: The Sacred Legacy.

Despite poor sales in the United States, Atlantis was a commercial hit, with over 300,000 copies sold worldwide by late 1998.


Atlantis is a first-person perspective puzzle game. The entire game is in pre-rendered, panoramic 3-D. The HUD is basically a window into the world of Atlantis, instead of moving a mouse around the screen, moving the mouse actually moves the screen itself. To interact with the world, the player must position the item, NPC or thing in the center of the screen.

Progression through the game involves solving puzzles. Some puzzles are extremely abstract and the solution is completely unexpected, whereas other puzzles are very simple. The player must react quickly to certain events happening in the game. For example, in one section guards chase the player away from a certain area. If the player hesitates in moving backwards and looking for shelter, then the player will lose and will have to restart from the beginning of the scene.

The Saturn version of the game supports the Saturn mouse, despite the fact that it was only released in Europe, whereas the Saturn mouse was only released in North America and Japan. European Saturns can be used with imported peripherals. The PlayStation version lacks the movement clips found in the other versions.[citation needed]


The game begins with Seth, the protagonist, joining the Queen's Companions, the personal guardians of the Queen of Atlantis. He discovers after he arrives that the Queen disappeared shortly before he joined. As the story progresses, Seth learns that a power struggle is taking place between the Queen and the Guards of the Consul. The leader of the Guards, Creon, wishes to supplant Ammu, the goddess of the moon, as the most worshiped of Atlantis' gods, replacing her with Sa'at, the sun god; he then wants to conquer the world in the name of Sa'at, using a new weapon that he has developed.

The weapon is revealed to be half of a crystal that is capable of granting immense knowledge to its holder. Long ago, the crystal was split into Light and Dark halves, and the halves were hidden in Easter Island and Stonehenge, respectively. Creon found the Dark Crystal, which has a side effect of driving its holder mad.

Seth retrieves the Light crystal from Easter Island, then returns to Atlantis to face Creon. After Creon's defeat, the weapon he built causes a volcano on Atlantis to erupt. Seth and a few survivors are seen sailing away from Atlantis as it is destroyed by the volcano.


The game features a number of proprietary technologies developed by Cryo. One such technology is called OMNI 3D, which provides a smooth, panoramic 360-degree first-person view of the game environment. This view tends to be less crisp looking than the movement clips that are pre-rendered in the game. All the character animations are motion captured and feature another technology called OMNI SYNC to ensure proper lip synchronization with audio speech.

The soundtrack for Atlantis: The Lost Tales was composed by Pierre Estève & Stéphane Picq of Shooting Star and was released in 1998 as a two-CD set (one of which is an enhanced CD containing wallpapers) on the Shooting Star label.[2]

Atlantis was released for PC in March 1997.[1] Cryo Interactive coded up a new game engine to replicate Atlantis: The Lost Tales on the Sega Saturn, in particular the "freelook" feature. Their demo of this engine convinced Sega of Europe to acquire the license to publish the game for the Saturn.[3]



Atlantis was a commercial hit.[4][1] The French newspaper Les Échos reported it as one of the top 10 best-selling computer games of 1997.[4] By April 1998, its global sales had reached 250,000 units, of which 50,000 were sold in France.[1] The game totaled 300,000 units sold by that November.[4] According to Bob Mandel of Adrenaline Vault, the game "sold very few copies sold in the United States" despite its "smash hit" status in European countries.[5] The combined global sales of Atlantis and Atlantis II surpassed 600,000 units by October 2001.[6] With the games' sequel, Atlantis III: The New World, the series topped 1 million sales by 2004.[7]

Critical reviews[edit]

Review scores
CGM2/5 stars[9]
PC Gamer (UK)72%[8]

PlayStation Power gave the game a 52% rating, specifically finding that the game was marred by extended loading times.[10] Adventure Lantern gave the game 86 out 100 score largely due to the intriguing story, pleasant atmosphere and the fascinating locations.[11] Gordon Aplin of Quandary found the game annoying to play due to the lack of a useful cursor for navigation or actions and the unforgiving timed reaction sequences.[12]

Next Generation reviewed the PC version of the game, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "the game's rough spots are few. Most of the puzzles are pitched at the right level of challenge [...] and it takes about the usual 30 or 40 hours to finish. Nicely done, but not much new."[13]


  1. ^ a b c d Mizio, Francis (April 10, 1998). "La société des multiloisirs. Jeu sur DVD, livre, disque et site: c'est sous ces quatre formes que sort, le 25 avril, «Atlantis». Quatre versions d'un même univers, par quatre sociétés françaises. Le tir groupé est une démarche payante qui attire les éditeurs. Tel Cryo, qui sort «Ubik», jeu tiré du roman de Philip K. Dick". Libération. Archived from the original on July 17, 2018.
  2. ^ "Stéphane Picq personal site (CDs section)". Archived from the original on 2011-10-01.
  3. ^ "Preview: Atlantis: The Lost Tales". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 19. Emap International Limited. May 1997. pp. 26–27.
  4. ^ a b c Feraud, Jean Christophe (November 27, 1998). "Cryo entre en Bourse pour devenir un grand du jeu interactif". Les Échos. Archived from the original on 2018-07-14. Retrieved 2018-07-14.
  5. ^ Mandel, Bob (September 28, 1999). "Preview; Atlantis II". Adrenaline Vault. Archived from the original on 2000-05-16. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  6. ^ "Atlantis 3, en 5ème position des ventes de jeux vidéo" (Press release) (in French). Cryo Interactive. October 17, 2001. Archived from the original on March 20, 2003.
  7. ^ Bronstring, Marek (May 24, 2004). "Atlantis Evolution - E3 2004". Adventure Gamers. Archived from the original on May 27, 2015.
  8. ^ Pierce, Matthew. "Mystical". PC Gamer UK. No. 45. Archived from the original on 2002-03-19. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  9. ^ Yans, Cindy (1997). "Atlantis". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on 2005-02-06. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  10. ^ PlayStation Power #33 (December 1998), p. 113
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-05-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Atlantis Review". Quandary/Quandaryland. Archived from the original on 2006-04-02.
  13. ^ "Finals". Next Generation. No. 35. Imagine Media. November 1997. p. 199, 201.

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