Adventure Classic Gaming
The Omega Stone 4 of 5 (Very Good)
Posted by Matt Barton.
Like many fans of Omni Adventures’ Riddle of the Sphinx, I have been looking forward to playing the sequel, The Omega Stone (also known as Riddle of the Sphinx II: The Omega Stone). The husband and wife team of Jeffrey S. and Karen E. Tobler have obviously lavished a great deal of their time and creative energy into the series. While Riddle of the Sphinx is undoubtedly a sizable game with many scenes of ancient Egypt, The Omega Stone is much more ambitious, with settings as diverse as the Devil’s Triangle, Stonehenge, Easter Island, and even the Mayan pyramids. It is an enormous game that will take many hours of play to explore fully. As with the previous game, many of the puzzles in this sequel are based on actual ancient symbols and rites, such as alchemy and the Mayan number system. I really appreciate a game that manages to be educational as well as entertaining, and this game succeeds in that endeavor. While I have a few nitpicks, overall I have enjoyed this game very much and highly recommend it to anyone who likes Myst style adventures or ancient civilizations.
Like Myst, there are very few characters the player will interact with directly, though the interactions tend to be significant. The characters are portrayed by real life actors, and thankfully their acting skills are adequate. Occasionally an actor will try to effect an faux accent that can be somewhat grating, particularly when the actor cannot seem to maintain it consistently. The player’s encounter with the other characters will occur mainly by reading diaries, notes, listening to recordings, and other means. Fortunately, there is also a friendly driver who helps to breakup some of the lifeless feeling that often exits in games of this type.
Thankfully, the game can be entirely installed on the hard drive so that no disc swapping is necessary during gameplay. For me, this fact alone more than atones for the other inconveniences created by this game.
The puzzles are mostly high quality logic and symbol puzzles. For the few instances that I have been unable to figure out what to do next initially, they usually involve some important object I have previously overlooked. The worst of these involves giving the bus driver a strange object that he somehow knows meant to drive to a mansion. I am still not sure how the player is supposed to figure this out logically without a more obvious clue, such as an address or map on the object. Likewise, it is not obvious that the trunk of a truck in Chichen Itza can be opened—a fact that if missed, can create an impasse. Still, these are relatively minor issues given the cleverness of the rest of the puzzles. I particularly like the alchemy puzzles, which combine ciphering and mathematics in an intriguing and fulfilling way.
The game’s biggest strengths are its clever puzzles, wonderful scenes, and colorful atmosphere. At times I feel I am part of some world history documentary about the mysteries of ancient civilizations. I also appreciate the egghead humor sprinkled throughout the game, such as a can of coffee with a funny message on the back. The only real downsides are the dated graphics and occasionally frustrating interface, but these are not enough to prevent avid adventure gamers from playing through to the end. All in all, though, I have enjoyed The Omega Stone and can recommend it to all fans of Riddle of the Sphinx and any gamer who likes first-person adventures such as Myst. It is not necessary to play Riddle of the Sphinx first, though doing so may give players a greater appreciation for this sequel.