Relentless: Twinsen's Adventure (known overseas as Little Big Adventure) was a tremendously inventive action-adventure game. Created by the man behind the original Alone in the Dark, Frederick Raynal, Twinsen's Adventure was so incredibly fun, and so visually stunning, it was easy to look past its faults - like a frustrating combat system and next-to-useless save game options. Now Twinsen is back to save his homeworld of Twinsun once again, in Adeline's Twinsen's Odyssey. The sequel is as gorgeous as its predecessor, with the same strange wit and interesting characters. But the faults are a little more apparent this time around - and the reversion from a static, isometric viewpoint to a switching camera angle seems like a step backward.
Twinsen's Adventure dealt with our hero saving his planet from the oppressive rule of Dr. Funfrock. Traveling all over his homeworld (an enormous place called, confusingly enough, Twinsun), Twinsen began as a political prisoner and ended by fulfilling a mystical prophecy and becoming a magical hero. Twinsen's Odyssey picks up pretty much where his Adventure left off. Now the wizards of Twinsun are being kidnapped by an alien race named the Esmers, and as Twinsen searches to aid them, he uncovers a plot to destroy Twinsun as a sacrifice to the Esmerian deity, the Dark Monk. With the addition of Esmer, and its satellite, the Emerald Moon, the amount of area to explore in Twinsen's Odyssey has grown to enormous proportions. Just exploring these bizarre lands and the inhabitants (including several new species of anthropomorphic animals, a group of sausage-soldiers called the Knarta, and a surprising cameo by a dead ringer for Gene Simmons), is enough to recommend the game to anyone who enjoyed the original or anyone looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
But that recommendation is made with some reservation. Simply put, the "action" portion of this action-adventure is frustrating to no end. The original game suffered from a similar problem - the combat was the worst part of the game, requiring you to hit enemies with a magic projectile, and targeting was a difficult affair. Twinsen's Odyssey compounds this problem with a new camera system - in outdoor environments, the perspective switches a la Alone in the Dark or the more recent Ecstatica II. The varying camera angles make targeting an enemy almost impossible at times. You have the ability to move the angle, but only to a position directly behind Twinsen - which is often an even more useless point of view. In the end, you must use the game's quirks to your benefit - using your enemies' less-than-genius AI to hide behind objects and snipe at them while they relentlessly attack your chosen barricade, or making Twinsen spin in circles and switching the camera angle simply to find one that works.
Luckily, the "adventure" portion more than makes up for these problems. The puzzles are varied, the world is huge, and the story and characters (despite some unfortunately amateurish voice acting) are interesting enough to buffer the faults of the combat. Perhaps more than any adventure game in recent memory, Twinsen's Odyssey successfully creates the feeling that you are taking part in a living, breathing world, and an incredibly strange one at that. The attention to detail in the hundreds of characters you'll encounter is stunning, and the fantastic settings and excellent musical score make wandering around Twinsun and Esmer a great experience. Fans of adventure games will not want to pass this one up.