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Psygnosis Paris




1 Player

Game Type


Mem. Card

Review Date

August 1997

(15 Blocks)

Setting the Scene

From the creators of the award winning French films, Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, film makers Jean-Pierre Junet and Marc Caro have teamed up with games developers and publishers Psygnosis to bring us The City of Lost Children, an interactive adventure game.

The City of Lost Children was produced at the Paris development studio of Psygnosis under the guidance and artistic direction of cinematic author Marc Caro, whose ingenious artistic style and complex imagery go beyond imagination.

During the night, children are being bundled into vans and despatched to the laboratories of the evil Krank. Krank is a scientist who is aging prematurely due to the fact that he cannot dream and has designed a machine that will transfer the children's dreams into his own mind.

The player controls the movements of Miette as you investigate the surroundings and attempt to thwart the mad scientist before the city is devoid of young children.


The City of Lost Children is a dazzling graphical adventure title unlike any other experienced. A surreal game that combines beautifully-rendered environments with an intriguing plot.


This massive project has taken almost two years to complete and graphically the game looks very impressive indeed. Featuring realistic light sourcing, Resident Evil type background graphics and Alone in the Dark camera angles, City of the Lost Children is a well presented third person adventure.

Most of the backgrounds were put together using the actual drawings from the movie. The characters movements needed to be as realistic as possible therefore motion capture technology was used, resulting in the creation of a virtual actor. Because of the combination of the most advanced computer graphic techniques with Caro's distinct artistic direction, the end result takes adventure gaming in a new direction, delivering a unique experience that sets the product apart. Psygnosis must be commended for actually making the game closely resemble the movie.

In certain locations you may change the camera viewpoint, which is extremely helpful. However, the camera angles are often positioned at a distance that force you to view the scenery in all of it's splendor when a close up would have been more useful. Unfortunately this detracts from the task in hand and hinders the gameplay resulting in Miette stumbling over numerous obstacles and missing vital clues, which in effect slows down the game to a snails pace.

Each of the characters are well drawn and actions are smoothly animated. Arms waving about gesticulating anger, shoulders shrug and palms raised when confused by your questioning and Miette's's stooping walk displaying her poverty and lack of nourishment.

Sounds and Effects

The music is provided by Francis Gorge along with the composer of the Twin Peaks soundtrack, Angelo Badalement and compliments the game superbly. When you become tense and frustrated with aimlessly wandering around the town trying to piece together the clues, the music acts as a peace-maker with it's beautiful atmospheric melodies and becomes the perfect substitute for two paracetamol and a glass of water.

Each of the characters voices are spoken loud and clear with distinguishable accents. When Miette's action is incorrect she will notify you by proclaiming "I can't do anything". Because of the complex and strange nature of the puzzles she will constantly be insisting that she cannot do anything and this slowly begins to grind on your nervous system.


The central character is the ten year old orphan, Miette, who sets out on an adventure which will take her all around the world. She will meet and interact with over 20 individual characters that aid her on a quest to locate the trapped children of the world and then eventually set them free. On her journey, Miette must solve many thoughtful riddles and puzzles to advance through the 100 pre-rendered sets which are divided into three main objectives.

You control Miette, a young girl living in an evil orphanage. You are ordered to complete two introductory missions for Pieuvre, the Siamese twin orphanage mistress. Break into the cashiers office to pinch the cash and then steal the jewels from the Loan Sharks house. You are then thrust into the main focus of the game, to find the lost children.

The control pad works quite well with the directional buttons used to move Miette around the set. The face buttons on the joypad allow her to pickup/put down objects, interact with certain characters, perform an action and open up the inventory. The shoulder buttons allow Miette to run, change camera angles (when allowed) and stoop down to hide from undesirables. Miette can collect up to ten items and place them in her pockets for later use.

The game opens in the classroom with Pieuvre balling out her orders to young Miette. "Go to the cashiers office and return with the money or we'll throw you in the CELLAR". Just time for a quick scout around the classroom to collect any useful items.

Here lies a slight problem with City of the Lost Children. Why does each object not show a slight twinkle (ala Resident Evil) to attract your attention? Instead you must walk over every square inch of each room, courtyard, dockyard and gangway in the entire city to hopefully stumble across a collectable item. Miss an object by a fraction of an inch because the camera is set about 40 feet into the air and it's right back to the start to scan the entire city again. You must virtually step on the item for it to register on the screen. This first happens in the classroom. Walk past an object and a little box flashes at the top of the screen and then disappears again. Back up a little, a touch to the right, an inch forward, back a little more, oops too far, forward a touch, got it! By the time you pick up the object Pieuvre will throw you in the cellar for hanging around too long.

The first time you visit the cellar the door will remain open, the second time it will be locked therefore you must work out an alternative exit, a third time will be game over.

Once you have spoken to each character for clues and scanned the entire location for objects you must then decide what to do with them. This is easier said than done as some of the actions are strangely bizarre, to say the least. During the game a Cyclops will block your path and you must work out how to pass him. How about finding a paint brush, dipping it into a pot of paint and then painting his eye to blind him. He will then fall in the water and drown. Hmm, is that peculiar or is it just me?

The gap between the first two missions and the main one is huge, and seems fallacious. In fact, much of the game seems illogical. It is never quite clear what you're supposed to do next, and more often than not you'll find yourself completely baffled with no idea what you must do to proceed. Even if you have seen the movie you may find yourself bewildered and confused.

Value for Money

This is a strange game to call. I tried playing it on my own for a couple of days and became completely frustrated with going back and forth over previously covered ground. I then asked my mates over and we completed the game in an afternoon by simply throwing outrageous ideas around.

The graphics are impressive, the music is brilliant while the gameplay sometimes gets bogged down with vague missions played at a slow pace.





The game features beautiful pre-rendered backgrounds and gameplay that tries very much to copy Resident Evil in terms of interaction but somehow it just doesn't succeed. The music and graphics are very good, but they don't help when you become totally lost with the idiosyncratic puzzles. I must also mention that this game uses all 15 blocks of a standard memory card.











A game that will appeal to those who enjoyed Broken Sword. The graphics are stunning and I was impressed by how smooth the game ran. I didn't have too much difficulty in completing the game and felt that there were insufficient tasks to attempt in each area.








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