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BYZANTINE: The Betrayal

Reviewed by  Mr. Bill and Lela


This game was produced for The Discovery Channel, and it shows! It combines a thrilling and topical story set in actual present day locales with rock solid and fascinating historical fact ..... plus a hands-on demonstration of the possibilities inherent in our high tech future that is absolutely mind-blowing.

You are an American investigative reporter looking for your big break, that once-in-a-lifetime scoop that will earn you the Pulitzer, when you receive a message from a friend who says that he has stumbled onto just such a story. Someone is somehow illegally smuggling the great archaeological treasures of the past out of Turkey!

Of course you're on the next plane, but when you arrive in Istanbul you find that your friend has disappeared and that he is the one who is wanted by the police for the theft ..... and now they even suspect you. You must locate your friend and find out what is really going on. But you have barely begun to nose around when you realize that your life is in danger and that you are up to your neck in a murderous international web of intrigue and betrayal that spans 3000 years of Istanbul's history. You will need to call on all of your skills as an investigator to unravel this plot, and to stay alive long enough to see the story published!

This is a 1st person, 3D, 360 degree, point and click game, with inventory and a map to make travel easier. The present day scenes and live action videos were all shot on location in Istanbul and are absolutely stunning: as you explore you feel as if you really are visiting the beautiful mosques, palaces and museums. That realism, along with the 1st person perspective, creates an immersive experience and a very real sense of personal danger as you try to discover what's happening and whom you can trust. The suspicious characters are well played by live actors and, as you interview them in typical reporter fashion, your conversations are automatically recorded in a notebook for review later.

The plot is linear and the puzzles are not too difficult, merely a question of deducing the truth with clues that you've gleaned from conversations and various books which you find. However if you should get stumped, there is a built-in hint system which provides help ranging from just a gentle nudge to an outright solution. But don't get complacent: remember that your investigation threatens some very dangerous people, and some situations will require quick action to avoid being killed, so save often.

We were very impressed with this game for several reasons: the tight, well thought out plot, the gorgeous scenes and artwork, and the comprehensive educational content on the history and culture of Turkey throughout the ages, including both the Roman and Ottoman Empires.

But what really blew us away were the virtual reality sequences. By using a 'part-of-the-story' tutorial on how virtual reality is actually created (you have to do it yourself in order to solve the mystery) and highly detailed realistically rendered 3D graphics for the ancient locales, the game creates a first-hand experience of what it might actually 'feel' like to be able to enter and interact with your world as it appeared centuries before ..... and it makes you realize that such a thing is not only possible, it is indeed highly probable.

Entertaining education at its best!

©  1999  Mr. Bill and Lela


Developed (1997) by Stormfront Studios and published by Discovery Channel Multimedia.


Rated:   K-A   for Kids to Adults (realistic violence)


Minimum System Requirements:  Windows

Inferno's Byzantine Setup Walkthrough


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"Walkthrough" available here!



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Copyright  1999, Revised 2001
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