While some may have foreseen Sirtech's Excalibur 2555 AD as "Tomb Raider with a sword" or, better yet, "Tomb Raider with a brain," it's clear that such comments were a little premature. In fact, the game has very little to do with Eidos' 3D action/platformer, and much less to do than it should with either sword or brain.
Excalibur 2555 AD sets you as the niece of Merlin, the sorcerer better known for his stint serving under King Arthur's court in jolly old England. It seems evil warriors from the future have appeared in Camelot and stolen the fabled sword Excalibur. Merlin gives you the task of recovering it so the kingdom may once again prosper and begin a several-century imperialistic reign over the world, before eventually retreating into economic recession.
The game takes place in a third-person perspective, polygonal world, sort of like a stripped down claustrophobic Tomb Raider (thus the many references). A simple four-move-and-two special fighting engine sees you through EAD's occasional conflicts (which are nowhere near as action-packed as they should be), and the characters you don't have to kill will speak to you via streaming audio off of the CD. But no, both battle and conversation are only a small part of the gameplay, which is perhaps best likened to an old Infocom text adventure. For example, a standard scenario might entail you getting the components to a spell to open a door to get a wineskin to get water to refresh a prisoner to get a key to pick up medicine to cure a child to get a key mold from his grandmother to make a key out of some iron you acquired earlier, and so on. This formulaic "do this, do that, go there" approach is applied to 13 levels, none of which really varies but for the degree of difficulty in accomplishing the tasks. Unlike inside the Infocom titles, there's rarely ever any doubt about what to do with an item once it's acquired. In short, there's little thinking required.
Unfortunately, Excalibur 2555 AD misses the mark in being either an engaging action game or an interesting puzzler. While not a horrible title by any means, it's simply boring. When it comes down to it, there's really just no sense of adventure in this adventure.