Loosely based on the same Greek myth that inspired the 1963 movie Jason and the Argonauts, Rise of the Argonauts is an action-oriented role-playing game in which you assume the role of King Jason of Iolcus and go in search of the legendary Golden Fleece. All manner of monsters stand between you and your prize, and doing battle with them is a lot of fun. The same can’t be said for all of the time you have to spend wandering around and talking to other characters, unfortunately, and the wildly inconsistent frame rate makes even the stop-motion special effects in the aforementioned movie look silky smooth by comparison.
Rise of the Argonauts gets off to a shaky start. The assassination of Jason’s bride on their wedding day in the intro sequence ensure that the story is instantly compelling, but poor voice acting, awkward camera angles, questionable animation (Jason negotiating stairs is a must-see for all the wrong reasons), and numerous visual quirks waste no time in conspiring against it. Furthermore, there’s not much combat early on, so much of your time is spent trying to navigate Jason’s labyrinthine palace and conversing with guards who, save for their different-colored uniforms, all look identical. Iolcus, like the handful of other locations you’ll visit after acquiring the Argo, affords very few opportunities for exploration, but it still manages to be confusing enough in its design that you need to refer to the crudely drawn map to locate mission objectives in a timely fashion.