Rise of The Argonauts, vids and games

By Jim Rossignol on September 10th, 2008 at 8:20 am.


There’s a whole bunch of Rise Of The Argonauts materials arisen on the interweb that I’ve been meaning to post on here for a while, including a couple of videos detailing some of the legendary islands you’ll visit during the game. The other thing, which I know I’m painfully late with, is Codemasters’ Olympics-themed Argonauts mini games, which you can play here. They’re moderately entertaining.

The untamed jungle island of Saria. Hermes, the cyclops, and adventures:

Mycenae, the city-island and the most urban environment in the game:

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26 Comments »

  1. Esha says:

    I’m torn about this game. I’m excited about it because I’ve always liked Greek mythology, but this has been touched by one element of modernisation that I despise. I wish they’d stayed more close to the culture, rather than what they’ve done.

    Jason in this game looks… how can I put this? I feel like a wet blanket for pointing it out, but I must. He looks sensationalised, like a Greek super-hero. His shied looks like the hat of a giant (it’s too bulbous to be practical) and generally it’s just too big to work properly as a buckler, and the same goes for his sword.

    Not even Hercules: The Legendary Journeys was this bad. If anything, their use of props was actually half decent by comparison. I wish they’d gone with a look though that was more close to Jason & the Argonauts. A film that just had a believable look to it and it was all the more an immersive experience for that. That’s relatively speaking, of course.

    I’m still intrigued by this, I’ll likely end up buying it and loving every minute of it. But I can’t help but feel that every now and then I’ll be giggling helplessly at the pose-happy super-hero alternate reality rendition of Jason, and listlessly sighing over what could’ve been if it had better art direction.

    Still, I’m very critical of things like that, I can’t help it. I’m an artist myself so aesthetics mean a lot when I first look upon something.

    I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying that… I wish this style would go quietly the way of the Dodo. Neverwinter Nights 2 suffered with it aswell (as did D&D 3.5), poor Grobnar was stuck with a sword four times the length of him that looked like it was partly made of lego. This looks much the same.

    I’m trying not to dwell here, so I’ll wrap it up at that. I want Greek mythology stuff to be good. I’m hoping this game will be good. Oh, let it be good.

  2. Rook says:

    I can’t help but feel that if you were expecting accuracy you’re probably missing the point. It’s supposed to be a fantasy, with larger than life characters, heroic deeds against impossible odds.

    Take it as poetic license if you will.

  3. Bobsy says:

    I think the worry is that it is “dumb fantasy”, which is to say fantasy for ease of use, rather than actual fantasy, which is fantasy because it ought to be fantasy.

  4. Hernan says:

    I just hope you can visit the island of Lesbos….. for its poetry….

  5. Rook says:

    Well, it is a video game, dumb fantasy is probably a step up from most of the drivel we get.

  6. Bobsy says:

    I’m using “dumb fantasy” as the current point of reference for most fantasy gaming settings.

  7. Duke Goosington IV says:

    I’m in agreement with Esha, though I did perhaps think of a reason for the quite so ludicrously sized shield. It could be used as a makeshift tent, perhaps? I really want this game to be good, and I’ll be more than willing to put up with a bit of ‘spartaaaaa’ like visual license for a solid action rpg. The trailers did seem to… give away quite a bit though? I don’t know how much each island counts to overall game length, but is giving away the key plot arc to one of them really necessary? *shrug* their call, I suppose.

  8. Rook says:

    I think there’s some sort of book out as well that’s filled with spoilers too.

    And a film. AND OMFG THE TITANIC SINKS!

  9. Ninja Dodo says:

    Artistic license is one thing, but they’re not really respecting the source material. Just because it’s public domain mythology doesn’t mean you should do just anything with it.

    I agree with Esha this feels more like the “Marvel’ version of Greek mythology. More Xena than Harryhausen.

  10. Jonas says:

    Xena: The Bioware-style Action Roleplaying Game? I think I’m good with that.

    Yep. Definitely good with that.

  11. Alex says:

    To be honest, there isn’t really any single, definitive and self-consistent set of “source material” for Greek mythology. Using artistic license to adapt the stories that have already been told is pretty much how any myth works.

    But they might at least have tried to get the names right. However you choose to pronounce Greek syllables in English, “MY-se-nay” is quite definitely wrong. The stress goes on the middle syllable, which should be long, not the first, which should be the shortest and weakest in the word.

  12. Ninja Dodo says:

    Sure, but there is at the very least a consistent aesthetic and spirit throughout the stories that comprise Greek myth. The Aeneid, the Iliad, the Odyssey and the various other stories surrounding the Olympians and their favourite heroes all very clearly take place in the same universe. This is true even of Ray Harryhausen’s work (Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans). As much it takes liberties with plot and characters it still evokes the same atmosphere…

    Something I’m not getting from this.

  13. Rook says:

    Really? Clearly take place in the same universe? Have you read these books? Because it’s pretty plain to most people that there are massive disconnects between the parts that are loosely based on actual events and real history, and the entire monsters and myths and we just made shit up parts of them.

  14. Noc says:

    I DO like the idea that Jason and the Argonauts was the Justice League of Greek Myths – that someone had an idea for this “awesome epic crossover Epic,” and wrote everyone in.

    Which is where the idea of continuity comes in. It’s not the first time, either; the myths have always had a habit of stringing their characters in with the happenings of other myths to create a superhero-universe style continuity. Like, take Tiresias: he’s got his own “origin story” (involving two randy snakes, a stick, and a sex-change), then he settles down in Thebes and keeps showing up in myths set there (The Bacchae and the Oedipus trilogy).

    And then you’ve got Ovid’s Metamorphosis, which, while being a Roman work, spins a vast stretch of the myths into a single, vaguely congruent story. So yeah – there’s always been a sort of “Greek Universe” style continuity between the myths. Which makes me chuckle every time I think about it.

  15. Erlam says:

    I saw this game at PAX, and it actually looked really fun. People get fucking annihilated by your weapons, and once you learn to avoid their blocks/shields/etc, it avoids my largest complaint in action games – enemies, even basic ones, that take multiple mortal wounds to actually down.

    Keep an eye on it, looks quite fun.

    Also, ancient Greek and Roman myths rule.

  16. DSX says:

    I’m intrigued by the fatality and blocking physics, as well as the RPG / mythology elements. The set design and landscape all look superb, but man, the NPC’s just look horrible IMHO, like the medium poly chunky style that are made to be viewed from a top-down most of the time with occasional close-ups sort of like like old school WC3.

  17. Ninja Dodo says:

    Rook: I’m reading the the Iliad right now actually, and am reasonably familiar with the other stories in their original form. Sure there’s a range where Homer’s work represents the more grounded realistic side (though not exactly historical) while myths like Hercules or the origin of the Olympians veer more towards the fantastical… but all the same, I maintain that these stories feel connected.

  18. Duke Goosington IV says:

    RooK: Thanks for the un-necessarily sarcy comment, but I wasn’t under the impression that this was a word-for-word retelling of Jason and the Argonauts search for the golden fleece, but rather a ‘re-imagining’ of the myth, and so giving away the plot of one of their sections of the game is a spoiler. But then I’ve not actually read the myth, and I’m not all that familiar with it, so what the hell, right?

  19. Caiman says:

    Why does everyone these days use that “rocking back and forth as though gently copulating” standing animation these days? I know it’s supposed to simulate the character breathing, but it’s completely wrong and looks ridiculous. All you have to do is add your own sexual noises and the illusion is complete.

  20. Rook says:

    The Iliad is supposed to have some historical accuracy to it. There probably was a city of Troy, there may have been a siege somewhere etc. Certainly at the time it was accepted as an historical event with a bit of poetic flair. The Argonautica on the other hand though, was written 400-500 years after the Iliad, full of superheroes, beasts and monsters etc. It’s not something that people would have mistaken for a real story.

  21. Bobsy says:

    Er, right. Well there definately was a Troy, and it was attacked, besieged, burnt down, built up, burnt down again many, many times, exactly the same as every other Aegean city-state. Schliemann excavated a crapload of different Troys built on top of each other. The one guessed to be Homer’s Troy is Troy VII or VIII.

    But then myths are rarely based on single events. They’re an amalgam of dozens of folk stories, each with their own scores of varients.

    Accuracy in myth is not the issue at hand. The problem that I and others have is that that fellow in the picture is holding what looks like a fricking lightsabre because “it’s fantasy” so it’s allowed.

  22. Ninja Dodo says:

    If the Iliad were a movie it would be “inspired by true events” at most. There’s little consensus on the degree to which it is factual and reading it I find the sheer amount of direct meddling by the gods put it as much in the realm of fantasy as other myths. Troops rally around gods disguised as humans, heroes only succeed because they have been granted temporary strength by Zeus, Poseidon or others… The Iliad is as much about the bickering of the Olympians as it is about Hektor and Achilles.

  23. Weylund says:

    Yeah, which is why I won’t play it.

    “Hey, let’s make a game about Salamis and make the Egyptian marines *walking mummies with pulse rifles*! It’ll be so cool! And then, we’ll make the ships have motors, and the oarsmen will be dressed up like in The Road Warrior, and they’ll all glow because Xerxes was actually a super-magical wizard who was MADE OF MAGIC…”

    It’s not as bad as that.

    But if you’re going to use stories (or legends, or what have you) that have definite grounding in a well-known period of history, get it right. Dammit.

  24. Ninja Dodo says:

    Caiman: Noted. Speaking as an animator, what works at a distance in the middle of an action scene may indeed look like gentle copulating in a close-up, but often what ends up happening is that devs don’t have time to make special conversation animations.

    Still, I’ll bear it in mind next time I do an idle animation. ;)

  25. Real Horrorshow says:

    To be fair, hoplon shields are pretty big.

    http://www.xyfos.com/images/Promakos1.jpg

  26. Chris R says:

    I’m really curious to see how the combat in this game pans out. I’ve been led to believe that “a hit equals a hit” in this game, and that “a block equals a block.” None of that nonsense of the sword passing completely through an enemy for 5 points of damage or 10 points critical hit! I HATE that so much.

    So far the combat seems pretty good, but I hope it feels more fluid than it looks, cus currently it looks like the enemies are waiting to attack one at a time ala Assassins Creed. Boo.

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