Everest Review (PC)

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Since the dawn of man, mountains have captured the imagination of men. The desire to climb mountains has always been expressed with the famous answer, "because its there!" Working on that premise comes a new game called Everest, on the the topic of, you guessed it, mountain climbing.

The basic concept of the game is to form mountain climbing parties, buy equipment for them, and then take them to a number of famous mountains in the world, and make your assent. On the surface this seems like an interesting and different kind of topic for a game, unfortunately, as you start to play this game, you quickly realize that this is not a very interesting or particularly well done game. The game play has almost no variance, and the choices you have to make are not really difficult or challenging.

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You must successfully climb each mountain in turn, before making for the world's largest, Everest. The other six mountains are scattered throughout the globe, in Africa, New Guinea, South America, Alaska, Antarctica, and Europe. Each mountain requires a certain amount of climbers in your party, and the better climbers are more expensive. In an attempt to inject a little role playing, the climbers come from different ethnic backgrounds, and their skills and abilities vary. Once you have your party of stalwart climbers, you can purchase one, and only one, piece of equipment for each climber. Interestingly, you have to buy rope also, it would seem a given that you need rope, yet it must be purchased. Any money you have left can be used for training, which increases the abilities of the climbers in three areas.

OK, now up the mountain you go. The mountain is displayed completely on a mini map, which seems rather redundant, as the mountains themselves are relatively tiny, so you won't be worried about straying off course. Each mountain has a set number of rest areas called base camps, in which your climbers rest after making a climb. In between the camps is the actual mountain, which has some obstacles to overcome. The obstacles are clearly marked as such, and really aern't much. The actual game play is rather lame, you just mouse click where you want your guy to go, and you watch him go from a third person perspective. It might have been fun if you could select a tool, such pitons or a pix axe to use, but you can forget that, you don't have any such option.

There may be problems as you climb, like getting hit with rock slides or injuries to the party, as the climbers do slip when tired, but just give them some food or oxygen and watch them perk right up and finish the mountain. You are given a set amount of time to finish each peak, about an hour, but it never takes more then about twenty minutes to climb each mountain. Because of the poor game play, you have almost nothing to do, just point your guys and watch them climb. This just isn't very interesting. In an effort to at least make it seem harder, Everest itself has a lot more falling rocks, and it suddenly becomes nearly impossible to complete the climb, but few will probably bother climbing the other six just to see the final mountain, the game is that boring.

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The mountain climbers themselves and the mountains are decent animations, if a little simplistic. The game doesn't look that bad, it just isn't much fun. The sounds are ok, with winds and things, and the climbers do look nice making their climbs, but it just isn't enough to sustain interesting game play.

The game interface is simple, the screens to hire climbers and equipment are well done, but overall the look of the game is not great, the mountains themselves just don't seem majestic. They actually feel as if they aern't very high.

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Overall, for a game that the box claims to be the ultimate strategy game, is far from it. National Geographic should be ashamed of themselves for putting their famous name on this turkey. The subject matter is good, a compelling game could have been made on this topic, instead, it looks like a half-baked educational computer video. Sorry to say folks, do yourself a favor and pass this game by if you see it.