I’m glad to know that Gaming Pathology readers are as interested in this project as I am and shared in my disappointment that I couldn’t run Lost Eden. VAG came through with a suggestion to downgrade DOSBox. Unfortunately, even DOSBox 0.63 begs for mercy. I came up with the brilliant idea to actually run the game natively through Windows XP. I was hesitant to do this the first time since I remembered the instructions advising against running under Windows. The game actually does run in the WinXP Command Prompt, but without sound, and only in fullscreen mode. I can’t capture screenshots from any of my utilities and I can’t get the Command Prompt to operate in a window and still play the game.
Mans R. proposed and implemented another solution: A VMware image running FreeDOS. This turns out to work, though, again, without sound. No matter– the game has subtitles which are likely far superior to the voice acting (though the MobyGames entry mentions that some people thought the soundtrack was good enough to release separately).
So I can get screenshots using the VMware image. They come with VMware frames but I have a process to remove those automatically later before I submit them to MobyGames. This is Eloi, a character in Lost Eden, and he is old:
Remember, this is a game about a land of intelligent dinosaurs and the humans who coexist with them. So now I am able to view the intro FMV in all of its silent, subtitled glory. Given the length of the sequences between subtitles, the designers sure were proud of the FMV. It’s actually quite beautiful by 1995 standards. It speaks of a crumbled alliance between the dinosaurs and the humans. Then I am thrust into the first part of the game where I, Adam, the Prince of Mo, must wander around the Citadel of Mo — which is not nearly as large as it sounds, thankfully — searching for the long lost secret of what makes the citadel so impenetrable by T-rex’s. It’s also my birthday, or “coming of age” day, and everyone in the joint has a Coming Of Age Day present for me.
Here is a sample gameplay screen:
On the bottom, there are items that you have accumulated. On the top is your location and the number of characters presently in your party. Characters will come and go during the game, according to the manual. It looks like there are enough slots to hold at least 4 and perhaps up to 5 characters. Clicking on the characters, or right-clicking the mouse, takes you to the status screen where you can pan to individual characters, talk to them, or ask them questions regarding your items. Clicking on your character in this sub-screen will take you to game information (save/exit/settings/etc.). In the primary gameplay screen is a constantly rotating cube as a mouse cursor. You can point to where you want to travel to next, or perhaps whom you would like to talk to next. At first, I was a little annoyed that, unlike Of Light And Darkness, this didn’t appear to have hotspots to indicate where you could move. But, somewhat cleverly, the rotating cube forms arrows as it rotates to indicate possible directions of movements, and transforms into a scaling eyeball icon to indicate that something can be examined.
So far, this is just typical adventure fare. Allow me to spoil the game all the way up until you learn the secret for building T-rex-proof citadels: Wander around the citadel, familiarize yourself with places you can travel, including the citadel foyer, the main hallway, the king’s chambers, your bedroom, the mummy crypt, and the execution chamber. Eloi, the advisor is talking to your dad, the king. Pop says you can’t leave the citadel because it’s dangerous out there. Eloi meets you in your room to tell you to sneak out the side door with Eloi’s sister, Dina, to go visit Grandpa Tau, who’s dying. You stealthily cross the snow-covered plains with Dina to watch their old pterodactyl die. He gives you some items before croaking. You trek back to the citadel and visit the cryptkeeper. This is when he gives you your present of a courage amulet. You give this to Dina to give her courage to enter the executioner’s chamber to talk to the executioner because she has the ability to translate his gibberish. He then gives you your present– the tooth of the guy who designed the citadel. A clue! …
Bored yet? I sure was. I got a little further and figured out the secret to building the uncrackable citadels. Then I got a prism. I didn’t have the motivation to jump through the next hoop and figure out what to do with it. What I’m getting at here is that the proceedings are — at least the beginning of the game — rote adventure game tedium. Alas, I never got to see the strategy or RPG game elements.
Do you still care about the unbreakable citadel secret? There’s a giant lizard underneath the place blowing on a giant horn that apparently scares off the T-rex’s. I think that has something to do with it. Then there is the matter of keeping the citadels safe while they are still under construction. It turns out the secret here is harmonious collaboration between the non-T-rex dinosaurs and the humans. The dinosaurs are on construction detail while the humans fight any T-rex’s who drop by. Or the duties might be reversed. Either way, it didn’t seem that
earthEden-shattering. But apparently, it would have been necessary to coordinate that kind of effort later in the game to construct more citadels in order to protect more humans, and probably to re-energize strained dino-human relations.