So, while I originally wanted to do this review for the Revolution-marathon, I ran into a ton of problems while trying to make it work on my PC. First off, I do not have a CD drive for my laptop. So I had to get a separate unit for this. Then I had trouble running it. That is okay, there are probably some patches somewhere on the internet. Then the game started glitching. So fine! I gave up on it as it was not even included in the anniversary collection for Revolution’s 25th birthday. However, now that I have my own site and helpful hands at checking my reviews, I felt bad for not tackling this game. Finally thanks to the internet, I was able to play Gold and Glory: The Road to El Dorado. Yes, I could have just gone with the PS1-version, but I would rather try to get nicer footage on the PC when I now had the opportunity. Hopefully, capture-cards will be cheaper one day.
Like if a bard and rogue told about their adventure, while on the run
The Road to El Dorado is not one of my favourite movies, but one I do enjoy watching whenever the opportunity arises. I love the visuals, the songs by Elton John and Tim Rice I always sing along to with a full voice, the writing is entertaining with two lovable scoundrels, and the overall journey is exciting. It is one I, for some strange reason, always watch at Easter-time. Before The Prince of Egypt, that is.
Sounds fun, right? The game does not represent this at all. It starts off with Miguel and Tulio telling about the events of their journey, starting with how they were wanted criminals on the run and got a map to the city of gold. Everything from the movie-adaptation has been scaled down, making events more nonchalant in this retelling, or outright skipped. In fact, the entire middle section of the movie has been downgraded to showing clips from the movie, losing a third of the story.
This is a shame, as the story of their discovery of El Dorado is only a part of the journey. Even the beginning is an exciting visual trip in the movie, with the game simply skimming over with minor nods to what happened. Teasing a bull should be more intense than the few seconds it is shown on screen here. It all feels rushed, with low and short CGI cutscenes, edited clips from the movie, and two lifeless creatures telling most of the story, or the transitioning to new areas.
I also miss the arc the characters go through, especially with Miguel, as it is completely removed from this adaptation. Luckily, the humour is kept intact. Tulio and Miguel have some funny lines, such as Tulio asking Miguel to stop admiring the architecture, why it is not nice to be wanted, or spurring a cute reference to Moses. It is all fun, and I like how they got the personalities of Tulio and Miguel close to the movie, as they were fun characters. Miguel is the more naive man, while Tulio is the snarky one, and they work out off of each other well by being good-hearted thieves. Not all jokes hit home due to poor delivery, and some being just odd misunderstandings, like violets vs varlets, but about 70% are humorous.
This is kinda the problem with the entire adaptation. It is okay to remove elements or change a setup to adapt to a different media, but this clearly just cuts out elements due to either time, budget or simply no desire to tell the entire story. It is such a shame, when the movie is a fun adventure, and the game only does the bare minimum.
Story Score: 3/10
So, Revolution is still sticking to what they know best, which is the point-and-click-genre. However, since this is all in 3D and we have a PS1 adaptation, every action is done with tank-control. This does not necessarily have to spell disaster, but with how sensitive every movement is and that our character automatically uses ladders, doors or turns on contact with walls, it makes it easy to go to areas you did not mean to.
At least with the pre-rendered graphics and fixed camera angles, I can understand that they tried to build a game around this issue, and the areas are thankfully small and confined. They also added a run-button and the ability to sidestep to make traversing easier, but it barely helps. Unfortunately, this is really the best praise I can give this game: they at least tried. This is because everything else is simply awful.
The puzzles are simple and uninteresting. All are logical, but they go with such direct setups, it would be hard to miss out on what to do with any puzzle. Some are also just simple actions padded out. For example, there will be a switch-puzzle you need to do twice, both as Miguel and as Tulio where you pull a lever, and move on to the next area with no variety or thinking involved. This game even includes segments you cannot do, unless the characters themselves are aware that they can. This makes every puzzle annoying and unnecessarily time-consuming.
Even worse, is that Gold and Glory tries to vary itself up with minor stealth-segments and context-sensitive platforming. I will spare you on both accounts, and say that they last under 20 seconds, and are bland and forgettable. The only segment that was tedious outside of the puzzles, was a gambling-game, where you guess whether the second roll of two dice will be higher or lower than the first one. This has to be done multiple times until the game says: it is time to move on. It really is not fun.
I try not to be too harsh on this game, as it could be a decent introduction for the puzzle-genre for minors, but none of the puzzles go the extra mile to be fun or engaging. Even the idea of switching out characters is not good as it either happens automatically, or manually controlled to make tasks padded out. The entire game ends on a long and drawn out puzzle that feels like a huge contrast to the more direct puzzles from before. For so much irritation there is here, Gold and Glory only lasts 3 hours. This is just an uncomfortable and underwhelming game, that really is just forgettable. At least, it is quickly over.
Gameplay Score: 2/10
Cartoony games looked better than this
I am at least happy that Revolution tried to represent the movie with lovely colours and recreated settings from it. The backgrounds look nice with clear distinct locations, and it is a good detail that interactive things are clearly highlighted. However, the locations, while most are from the movie, can also be a bland jungle, uninteresting houses, or a bare landscape, with nothing memorable about the set pieces. This is made worse by the lack of anything special in the audio as well. There is only stock ambient sound or eerie silence, with only moments of progression being accompanied by whimsical and repetitive music.
While there are areas and events implemented from the movie, these consist of only minor scenes from song-sequences. Instead, the environments that were grand and spectacular in the movie, are introduced quickly here and glanced over, which is a severely strange mix-up. The movie-clips look alright, but do a poor job at transitioning between events, and the CG-cutscenes are stiff and poor, even by the era’s standard.
This leaves the NPCs, all looking like origami-figures. It is uncomfortable, stiff, and they clip in the environments or each other, making everything look awkward. Even the voice-actors who clearly try their best to imitate those from the movie, cannot capture the magic, with some voices sounding just bad. At least Eddie Crew and David Gasman do a good job with their directions and try to sound characteristic, and on a personal level, the bad voice-actors can be on the edge of hilarious.
That does not excuse the rest of the audio. Some effects can even be forced, such as a record-skip that never appears again. If more visual humour were provided, it could have worked, but everything is so lifeless, it just comes off as a cheap gimmick. I could go on with sound-effects being cut out, removed, the pauses between dialogues, and the ear-grating effect of a sword slicing in the option-menu. Bottom line, it is just impressive in its poor quality. There are not even Elton John songs to be enjoyed here!
There is a likeness that is trying to be achieved here, but technical issues and shortening the experience, hurts this game overall. This ends up with me trying my best to be kind to clear attempts at making something passable, but that is reaching for straws, at best. All in all, this is a rushed project. Oh, and for the PC-version, you can only fix subtitles in the video-options. Nothing else.
Presentation Score: 3/10
This was quite the terrible road to walk with so much wrong or downright unfinished in this game. Boring puzzles, terrible character-design, forgettable areas, insufferable story-telling, and audio that feels like a lazy art-project. However, this is all on the point of being “so bad, that it is entertaining”. It can be a hassle to play it, but really; it is part of the charm. If you are up for bad movies due to their sheer idiocy, this might be to your liking. Otherwise, stay far away. There is only a personal value here, nothing objectively good.