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#87691 - 09/30/01 10:03 AM Schizm review - final version
genf Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 05/24/00
Posts: 262
Loc: Netherlands
Schizm - Review

This is my very first game review. Usually, I only play a game after I've read
many reviews and thus have a good impression of it. For Schizm, this was different. For various reasons, the game had a lot of anticipation. After it had become available in Germany, I saw some first reactions on discussion boards and decided to buy it before I had read even one review.
Now that I've finished Schizm and write this review, it has not yet been released outside Europe. Many gamers may still be in doubt whether or not to buy the game. Maybe my review can help.
Well - Schizm is an outstanding game - and I have a lot to say about it.

The game starts with a video showing two astronauts being interviewed in a television show. They tell about a space mission to the planet Argilus. Some months earlier, a scientific team has been installed on the planet while the two (Hannah and Sam) stay behind orbiting the planet. Then after some time all communication falls away and Hannah and Sam are forced to go down investigating.

This is where the actual gameplay starts. You control either Hannah or Sam, being free to switch at any time. Bringing Sam and Hannah together is your first mission. Soon you notice strange things: the planet is full of signs of an advanced and living civilization, but the people (as well as the human team) have left mysteriously. You only encounter 'ghosts', human or non-human projections telling you something. What happened and how can you ever escape?

Schizm comes in two versions: CD and DVD. Many words have been written about the differences between these. The game was originally designed for DVD, assuming that the DVD market would grow strong enough to justify this. However, when the release date came near, this turned out to be false. Too many gamers don't own a DVD drive yet and so a CD version was necessary.

Now this gave the developers a problem. The game's size had grown to over 10 GB (even too much for a DVD!) - how to possibly put this onto a reasonable number of CD's? The solution they chose was: scrap a small number of game locations and compromise the graphics quality.
I will come back to that later.

I do own a DVD drive, so I bought the DVD version. First remark: the huge storage capacity shows. The authors did every possible effort to prevent their game from being a 'slide show', and they succeeded. Each move - forward, turn, look up/down, zoom in/out - is smooth. VERY smooth. And you will experience many spectacular moves: climb and descend stairs, walk long and twisting paths, go up and down in elevators, make long rides in exotic vehicles etc.

And even when you don't move, what you see is always spectacular. Argilus' landscapes are - forgive the cliche - pure eye-candy. Immense organic ships, floating in the ocean. Industrial complexes full of machinery. Religious sites. Abandoned villages built in sheer rocks. All shown with many details. Even the sky is beautiful, whether you wander in mid-day or around sunset.
And if this were not enough, there are many animations. Waving or floating water everywhere (sea, lagoons, small waterfalls). Blowing flags. Flickering torches. Flying and swimming animals. They make the world lively and realistic. Many times I replayed some part of the game, just to re-enjoy the landscapes.

As you might expect from the setting, Argilus is a science-fiction world. The inhabitants were a high-tech people. But it also has Riven-esque elements in it: rusty levers, cracking wood, not-so-high-tech hydraulic systems. The combination of all this, plus the mysterious ghosts that you encounter gives the world a surreal look.

Unfortunately, I also have some negative remarks about the graphics.

First: the quality gets considerably worse in interior locations. In full daylight, pictures are sharp, but dark locations tend to look a lot more blocky and blurred.

Second: many of the longer first-person animations are not shown in their full length. Imagine: you make a ride from one cliff to another, but you only see the first and last third of it. The transition should take you 10 seconds, but you only see 6 seconds.
Now this would be acceptable for a third-person movie: with some clever camera switching, one would never notice the loss of 4 seconds. But in first-person no camera switching is possible, and you notice very well. It ruins your feeling of immersion a bit.

Third: there is something odd with the animations. Whenever there is any animation going on (even if it's only in a small part of your view), the whole window animates! So stones, ground, walls and all other dry materials flicker along with a small burning torch in the corner. As soon as you turn away from the torch, this effect is gone and everything looks stable, even though you're still in the same room. Apparently, the whole view has been rendered as many times as was necessary to make the torch look realistic. It's a strange and unrealistic effect. (Well... it may be better than Riven's technique which always showed 'animating' rectangles.)

The first two points above give me the impression that Schizm's creators aimed just too high with their graphics standards. They tried to make the game look perfect - which is great - but then found out that it had become too large to fit even on a DVD. So they had to compromise, which (unfortunately) is visible in the final product.
Now think about the CD version... The capacity of the DVD is about 10GB. The capacity of the 5-CD version is about 3.5GB. I never saw the CD-version, but I really fear about how it looks.

Don't get me wrong... Schizm's graphics are stunning. But I want to tell you everything I noticed.

Over to the gameplay.

Schizm is highly puzzle-oriented. You walk through the environment until you've reached a place where you can do something. In most cases, finding a puzzle is no problem. (I said: in most cases. I will come back to that.)
So: in most cases, you won't wander around wondering what to do next. You won't go pixel hunting. You won't try every inventory object on every screen object. You won't even search long for clues either. In most cases, you just get them presented. "Here's the puzzle, here are the corresponding clues, go ahead and solve it."

Well, solving the puzzles... that's a different story. They are hard, very hard often. You need lots of patience and persistence. You spend many hours experimenting. You need logic, arithmetic and deduction. Often you have to gather clues like symbols, patterns, numbers or sounds, and use that in some machinery. But it's seldom as simple as you think. Most of the time you are thinking about how to use the available information in the puzzle you're working at. Many times I thought 'Aha!', convinced that I knew how to solve a puzzle - only to find out that I needed yet another piece of information. This may get frustrating from time to time.

Some puzzles can be solved by trial and error. There is one where you can guess the solution with 10% hit chance, each time you try. Yes, you get a decent clue how to solve it without guessing. But then you need some clever thinking to get to the solution. Guessing was simpler in this case.

The puzzles are nicely integrated in the environment, and they are original. You get no chess puzzles, no slider puzzles, no mazes. The existence of the puzzles in the gameworld however is not always realistic. A few puzzles involve deciphering a number system. I encountered a 12-base AND a 10-base system, with completely different symbols. That's somewhat unrealistic in my opinion.
In another occasion, you play a little game against the computer. You have to win twice to accomplish some goal. Sure: this game is fun and clever, winning is neither too hard nor too simple, but... it makes no sense at all in its context. A password, a key, a pattern... all suitable ways to protect information or locations. But a game is ridiculous. Or did you ever play a game to get access to your home or to your computer?

The game box tells that the game is non-linear. Indeed, usually you can work on more than one puzzles simultaneously. This is good, but it also leads to what I consider the main flaw of Schizm's puzzle design, and in fact the main flaw of the whole game.
Some of the puzzles can easily be overlooked. All right, you play an adventure game, so you're supposed to explore. But the problem is: you're not always hinted to what you missed, or get a clue where to go back searching.

Let me be more specific.
At some places, you have to use an object to accomplish something. If you happen to possess that object, the game lets you use it straight away. If not (because you have not yet solved some other puzzle), you get no indication at all that you need something, even when you're standing at the right spot. There is no cursor change. No locked door with a keyhole. Just a location you can't interact with. You consider it part of the environment and continue your exploration.
On other occasions, a device or machine is inactive or non-accessible UNTIL you have solved a puzzle elsewhere. So again, you think it's part of the scenery and never notice that it has been activated unless you recheck.

Am I nitpicking here?
No, this hit me severely. Somewhere during the latter parts of the game, I got terribly stuck because I had missed a puzzle at the very start of the game! The walkthrough was not very helpful until I read it from the beginning... It turned out that I had missed a few puzzles along the line, all because of one of the above-mentioned effects. Backtracking was a dreadful experience, which took me endless hours of re-exploring locations that I had already seen many times before, checking and rechecking the walkthough, etcetera.
In fact, the missed puzzle was a device which I had not overlooked at all. It had given me clues which I had used later on. I thought I was done with it and never realised that it ALSO functioned at a puzzle.
So yes, the game is non-linear. Be warned.

As usual with puzzle games, the puzzles are not or loosely connected to the story. Solving one gives you either access to new game locations, an object to use elsewhere or a clue to another puzzle. You never advance the story. That's not necessarily bad, but don't expect a Longest Journey-type of game or you'll be disappointed.

Talking about story: there is not much of it. The ghosts give bits and pieces of what happened to the original inhabitants and the scientific team, but that's all. You can't say anything back. You don't make decisions as a result of what they say. (Often they give a hint, so you run to the involved puzzle and try to apply that hint.)
The end game is a disappointment. No surprising conclusion. No splashing video. You're just done, and one of the ghosts tells you that you 'passed the test' and 'saved the world', or something like that.

As I said before, you can switch between Hannah and Sam. That's a nice feature. It means you can stop working on a puzzle whenever you're stuck and switch to the other person. If you get stuck there too, you're done.
In some cases they must help each other in order to get further. One keeps a device in some state to enable the other to do some work. This gives an extra dimension to puzzle-solving, but it has not been implemented consequently. I tried the same on other locations, but never got the same effect. When you switch and come back, your protagonist has stepped back (or out) and no state has been kept. It only works when the designers wanted it to work.

The interface is as simple as can be. About 75 percent of the screen is used for the actual game view. The upper 5 percent (only shown when you move the mouse there) contains an options menu bar (Save, Load, Quit, etc.). The lower 20 percent shows the inventory and an icon to switch between the two protagonists.

Talking about inventory: you never carry more than a few items. Where to use these is always obvious. If something can be used, a special cursor indicates so, but ONLY if you possess it (see previous remarks on this). Clicking is then enough: the game will pick up the right item and use it.

You get 16 save-game slots. That's not very much, given the nature of the puzzles. You will undoubtedly want to backtrack sometimes. My advice: save often and make sure you keep some older save-games.

Installation is quick and simple. The DVD-version doesn't allow a full installation. This may seem logical since you have only one disk, but beware... you have to swap your DVD disk from time to time.
Yes, you heard that right. How come? The disk is double-sided. So, after a few hours playing the game asks you to "please switch to disk side B". Isn't that annoying?
The CD version does allow a full install.

The background music is soft, atmospheric, never intrusive. It fits in the gameworld. I encountered some hiccups, especially just before a long transition or a puzzle zoom-in. Nothing to worry about.
Many events are accompanied by appropriate sound effects. When you walk, you hear your protagonist's footsteps. They sound differently on different undergrounds. At one occasion you travel in a motorized vehicle which enters a narrow tunnel. Right when this happens, its sound changes accordingly, giving a VERY realistic effect.

Voice acting is all right. One remark though: sometimes your protagonists react on something right before it happens. "The door opens!" they yell, and half a second later the door starts to open.

You can't die in the game. Just what you'd expect from a Riven-clone.

On my computer Schizm never crashed. I've heard others with serious problems though. Refer to the various discussion boards if you encounter problems: some Windows settings seem to be essential for Schizm to run properly.
The game even allowed me to switch to the Windows desktop and back without stopping it. When you return, the game shows a gentle 'Game paused - hit any key to continue' screen. Very nice indeed.

Puzzle states are never saved. When you zoom out from a puzzle (this may very well happen by accident) you will have to start your input all over again.

Somewhere I read that Schizm was meant to be a homage to Riven, and indeed the two gameworlds resemble each other. But Schizm's puzzle-oriented nature also made me think of the older game Obsidian. Maybe I should say it's somewhere in-between.

My conclusions? Schizm is a beautiful and immersive game, but it has a few flaws. Buy it if you like a good bunch of puzzles (and can live with the flaws). Buy it if you like to be immersed in a wonderful Sci-Fi world. Make sure you have access to a walkthrough. And buy the DVD-version if you own a DVD drive.

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#87692 - 09/30/01 12:38 PM Re: Schizm review - final version
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10312
Genf,

Thanks for this very detailed review. I appreciate your comments about the interface, plot, graphics and all.

The more I hear about Schism - the more it sounds like a longer, much better graphics sequal to Reah. Which to me is great. I suppose if folks didn't like Reah - they probably would not like Schism. Although - I am not trying to get Schism at any cost and have decided to wait for it's NA release - to save a few dollars - I am still excited about this game and look forward to it's release.

Still - It is perfect to have a review that is honest and hits all of the aspects of a game (both positive and negative)

Thanks

Laura
_________________________




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#87693 - 10/01/01 01:51 AM Re: Schizm review - final version
emma Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 04/17/00
Posts: 696
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
I agree with everything in your very well written review! Although the game had flaws, I enjoyed it a lot, and I think it's important that if you know appr. what to expect you might give this game a fair chance!
_________________________
My movies.

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#87694 - 10/02/01 09:01 AM Re: Schizm review - final version
Maciek Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 07/14/01
Posts: 115
Loc: Rzeszow, Poland
First of all, I find this review very objective and very well balanced. If more reviewers did such a good job, we would have less controversy between the gamers.

I would like to comment some sort of technical issues.

“First: the quality gets considerably worse in interior locations. In full daylight, pictures are sharp, but dark locations tend to look a lot more blocky and blurred.”

Yes, this is the effect we noticed as well. Unfortunately, this was caused by the MJPEG compression which tends to uniform large areas of similar color, reducing details and making everything blurrier. Nothing could be done to prevent this except in reducing the compression ratio which unfortunately wasn’t the available option.

“Second: many of the longer first-person animations are not shown in their full length. Imagine: you make a ride from one cliff to another, but you only see the first and last third of it. The transition should take you 10 seconds, but you only see 6 seconds.“

This is the result of the fact, that none of the game’s locations have been rendered in one piece. Most of them have to be divided into several parts, with other stuff removed in order to get it rendered. Those transition you mention are the points where the animations from one part are connected to the animation with other part. Our goal was to develop the game as smooth as possible (in contrary to other slideshow-like games), but it was not always possible.

”Third: there is something odd with the animations. Whenever there is any animation going on (even if it's only in a small part of your view), the whole window animates! So stones, ground, walls and all other dry materials flicker along with a small burning torch in the corner.”

You are right, we could limit the area where the animation is displayed, but due to the nature of the interactive AVI movie SCHIZM actually is, we would be limited to one rectangular area on the screen. What if animation doesn’t fit in such well designed area? What if there are several animated objects on the screen? We decided to animate the whole screen because it was easier for to prepare and manage the data this way, and I believe for most of us, such flickering rectangle on the static screen would be even more recognizable, thus ruining the experience even more. Your own words even prove this: “(Well... it may be better than Riven's technique which always showed 'animating' rectangles.)”

“The first two points above give me the impression that Schizm's creators aimed just too high with their graphics standards. They tried to make the game look perfect - which is great - but then found out that it had become too large to fit even on a DVD. So they had to compromise, which (unfortunately) is visible in the final product.”

Exactly. But we see such effects in most creative works (games, movies, even music). Or we compromise, or the game never hit the shelves. BTW, does anyone remember Project 2 (then) claims that SCHIZM is going to be the biggest game ever? (20 GB on 2 DVD discs). It would be far easier for us to have those 20GB at our disposal.

“The game box tells that the game is non-linear. Indeed, usually you can work on more than one puzzles simultaneously. This is good, but it also leads to what I consider the main flaw of Schizm's puzzle design, and in fact the main flaw of the whole game.”

Hmm, this whole “non-linear” vs. “linear” debate will never come to final conclusion. It is impossible to create the game which combines “linearity” which is essential to tell the story, with “non-linearity” which makes the game more interesting, less predictable, but more difficult for some (chance of overlooking puzzles and necessity of backtracking), or less for the others (no being stuck in the particular point. Our previous games were bashed for “linearity”, this one seems to be too “non-linear”. Actually we had to limit the non-linearity in several places in order to advance the story – the game is not so non-linear it theoretically could be.

Okay, maybe there’s a golden middle we still have to pursue.

“You get 16 save-game slots. That's not very much, given the nature of the puzzles. You will undoubtedly want to backtrack sometimes. My advice: save often and make sure you keep some older save-games.”

Older save games can help you backtrack your journey, to check if it’s something there you could miss, but you still have to use the latest save game and actually backtrack to the place you missed something. But should we be blamed that you missed something?

“Puzzle states are never saved. When you zoom out from a puzzle (this may very well happen by accident) you will have to start your input all over again.”

This was done intentionally. Saving states of puzzles quickly becomes the tool to passing the puzzles by trial and error, which isn’t the purpose of puzzles in such adventure. We want the players to solve the puzzles, not crack them.

Thank you for your excellent review.

Maciek
_________________________
Maciej Miasik
www.detalion.com

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#87695 - 10/03/01 06:07 AM Re: Schizm review - final version
genf Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 05/24/00
Posts: 262
Loc: Netherlands
Hello Maciek,
Thanks a lot for your reaction. It's VERY rewarding to see that one of Schizm's developers actually read my review and reacted to it (and even seemed to praise it!).

I just want to say something about the aspects of linearity. I'm not sure if we understand each other well.

My review says something like "The game is non-linear... be warned". That may have been a misleading phrase. I never wanted to argue that Schizm should me more (or less) linear.
In my opinion, a game is not necessarily better when it is less (or more) linear. Riven is very non-linear and is a great game. The Longest Journey is very linear and is a great game too.

As you say, there is often some conflict between non-linearity and strong story-development. For puzzle games, it is good to have some degree of non-linearity because it enables a gamer to work on more than one puzzle at a time. I think Schizm succeeds here. You can always switch between Sam and Hannah. And even when you don't, you usually have more than one puzzle to work on.

My point is: in more than one occasion I got stuck without even having the slightest idea what I was missing. (I will not get into more details because I may spoil other people's fun.) Well, sometimes I did know what I needed but then I had no idea where to get it. It made me wandering around without any direction, which is always a frustrating experience. Even in hindsight - after I had consulted the walkthrough - it remained unclear how I could have known what to do or where to go.

Maybe I am stressing too much on one weak point. Let me state this: most puzzles are well-designed and extremely rewarding. You have created a terrific product, especially considering the small team and relatively low budget you had to work with.
I really hope that enough people can be made enthousiastic for Schizm so that you will get enough credit to create another adventure game.

Gerald.

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#87696 - 10/03/01 01:15 PM Re: Schizm review - final version
Maciek Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 07/14/01
Posts: 115
Loc: Rzeszow, Poland
Gerald,

“Thanks a lot for your reaction. It's VERY rewarding to see that one of Schizm's developers actually read my review and reacted to it (and even seemed to praise it!).”

Yes, you are correct, I consider your review to be very well written and very balanced.

“My review says something like "The game is non-linear... be warned". That may have been a misleading phrase. I never wanted to argue that Schizm should me more (or less) linear. “

You were right in this. Some people could find the game’s non-linearity confusing and maybe even boring.

”In my opinion, a game is not necessarily better when it is less (or more) linear. Riven is very non-linear and is a great game. The Longest Journey is very linear and is a great game too.”

Okay, maybe I overreacted here, but linearity (or not) was one of the most widely criticized “faults” in reviews of our previous works. And we were attacked for being too linear or too non-linear at the same time! I personally like the games to be non-linear, because they are more life-like then, but linearity helps tremendously in telling the story (whatever genre the game is, adventure or FPS).

We had to choose which way to go. We decided to go non-linear, because we thought it would give the player less occasion to get stuck in some part of the game. For the same reason we introduced the second protagonist. We also knew about the drawbacks of this approach – the storytelling becomes very difficult, the prerendered character of the game limits the number of variations (e.g. story branching). This is one of the reasons the players considers the stories in similar games “thin”, because the story is actually created in the player’s mind from some fragments delivered in various way (characters met, journal or book read, etc.).

Also many players find the two protagonist aspect confusing as well (hell, even I’ve caught myself saving the game for each protagonist separately, forgetting that save game always saves the state of both protagonists at the same time!). They often player the one character until it’s stuck in middle of the game without even touching the other and complaining about lack of available options!

“My point is: in more than one occasion I got stuck without even having the slightest idea what I was missing. (I will not get into more details because I may spoil other people's fun.) Well, sometimes I did know what I needed but then I had no idea where to get it. It made me wandering around without any direction, which is always a frustrating experience. “

Yes, indeed, this isn’t something I like too. But I had the same experience with 100% linear titles (e.g. Longest Journey) because I couldn’t figure out what is the puzzle and how to solve it. This is not necessarily the result of non-linear gameplay, but not perfect gameplay design. We should probably give more clues.

“I really hope that enough people can be made enthusiastic for Schizm so that you will get enough credit to create another adventure game.”

We hope so. Although the game was finished several months ago (in May) it still hasn’t bee released in many territories. We are still waiting for, hopefully good reactions from the players.

Maciek
_________________________
Maciej Miasik
www.detalion.com

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#87697 - 10/03/01 02:29 PM Re: Schizm review - final version
genf Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 05/24/00
Posts: 262
Loc: Netherlands
Maciek,
I agree with all your points.
Three weeks to go for the US release (and other countries as well?) and many 'Booming' reactions will be coming in!

Cheers, Gerald.

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#87698 - 11/13/01 02:55 AM Re: Schizm review - final version
Anonymous
Unregistered


Now I also finished Schizm (the DVD version). I agree with this excellent review and I would HIGHLY recommend the game to everybody who liked Myst, Reah, Riven and the like. I didn't regret having bought and played the game at all. There are some additional flaws though that I'd like to mention. Note though that I also add these negative points because there's no point to repeat the (overwhelming) positive aspects. One of teh very nice aspects I'd like to repeat anyway: the idea of being able to control 2 characters and switch between them (like in Days of the Tentacle).

About the interface I missed the "zap" option. Schizm is a game that DOES require a lot of backtrack and this is very time consuming. And there's no way to skip over running animations. Besides the turning-DVD-problem, there's nothing else I would criticize.

About the graphics, the only problem is that I find the speed of rotation (when you turn left and right) too fast. It would be nice if it would adjust depending how far you drag the mouse. Or just an option to make it slower. Well, maybe my PC is just too fast? :-)

About the riddles I have a bit more to say. Most of them I liked quite a lot (for example the "trigonometric" one), some though I found confusing. Not because they were hard to solve (which I consider as a good thing) - but because AFTER having solved them, the "coin doesn't drop" in all cases, at least not in my head.

!!! SPOILER WARNING !!!

At one place for example you see a morse-code like sequence - it was difficult to get this information already. I don't mind the fact that you have to do something with it before being able to use it - but, after having solved it (actually you must reverse the sequence AND alternate all long/short bits, so the 1101 sequence would become 0100), I still wonder.. WHY? Reversing it, ok... inverting, ok... but both? If there would be some login behind, the way a machine works or whatever. Reversing and inverting, this you can only find out by trial and error. And even after you know the solution, you don't see a real reason for it. You could also rotate it 2 bits to the left, or whatever. Somehow it isn't very fulfilling unless you see the reason afterwards. OK, I got this solution out of a walkthru, maybe there IS a logic behind it somewhere and I just didn't get it?

Also, immediately before this, you must put lenses into a telescope. The method to find out what lenses to use (which I finally found in a walkthru as well) still isn't plausible to me. What do the up- and down arrows physically mean? Is it physically plausible that the down arrow means you got the correct lense and the up arrow means you have to take it out again? From a retrospective aspect, I still can't find a good reason for this. Also, when I first clicked onto a lens, I wondered why it didn't show up in my inventory - it took me a long time until I realised that this actin actually inserted the lens into the telescope. A short voice message the first time you did this would have been helpful.

I also found an inconsistency at the start of the game, where you must build a solid "path" over 14 or so sticks that must be pulled out of a rock (the location where you put a pot onto the clock and must activate certain binary-toggle-sequences), just before you reach the ship. I found that the image you see from the pot is not consistent to the image you see right next to the sticks - actually one of the 2 views onto the sticks is static (as far as I remember), or doesn't show the same number of sticks. Anyway, even when you get the right idea, this is a confusing aspect. Besides, I liked this puzzle specially because it fits my mathematical mind. I also liked the calculation engine... too bad that finding out its mechanism (how it rotates and sums up binary sequences, what the calculus buttons actually do - not 100% consistently, but interesting to explore) is of no real use for a puzzle. Or maybe it's of use for an easter egg I don't know? :-)

Last but not least I also had to cheat to solve the temple puzzle... the voice of the priest is just not clear enough. Actually I prefer logical puzzles (like the mathematical ones); puzzles where you must understand and repeat unusual voices are not my favourite ones. But I admit, this is a question of taste.

Another inconsistency I found at the water wheel on Matjas Island (bottommost wheel). When you turn it, the water sound disappears (which is ok) - but if you change between your characters, the sound change is not consitent. This is a bit confusing. It also seems you MUST turn the water off WHILE the other character is in the cave... turning it off before and going into the cave with the other character doesn't work. OK, I admit, just a bug - but quite annoying if you're trying to find teh solution :-)

One last question I'm just wondering: On Matjas Island, second floor (from bottom), there's a door that seems to be active in some way, but never really opens. Does anybody know what's behind it? An easter egg? :-)

!!! END OF SPOILER WARNING !!!

OK, that's it... I'd like to repeat though: I liked the game a lot, I just tried to mention the points not yet mentioned. And all the good things were already said. Yes, I WOULD recommend the game - On JA, I'd give it an A

Andy

EDIT: I got a small addendum to Schizm - maybe it's interesting for walkthru authors. Remember the 2 games you must win against the computer (the annoying ones)? First, it is interesting that this game is actually called "Bridg-It" (which links it to the task of the quest - namely building the bridge into the heart of the island :-). This game is derived from a generic game called "Shannons Switching Game". Bridg-It actually has a simple winning strategy for the first player. It works by making a first move in a corner, then (in mind) splitting all other possible own draws into pairs following a certain pattern, and subsequently counter any computer move that "destroys" one of your moves with its pair-partner. It can be shown that any winning computer path has to destroy both partners of at least one of your pairs - which your strategy successfully avoids. This pair-strategy is described on http://www.flash.net/~markthom/html/bridg-it.html; you'll also find the pair-building pattern there.

This also implies that the computer could always win against you in the second game-seuqence (remember, he's making the first move there). So, the computer strategy is "friendly" in this respect :-) Maybe above pair strategy helps you there as well, I didn't actually try it out.

Happy Bridge-ing! Or is it spelled Bridg-ing...?

Andy

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#87699 - 11/13/01 03:17 PM Re: Schizm review - final version
genf Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 05/24/00
Posts: 262
Loc: Netherlands
Hi siddhe,
Thanks for your remarks - I agree with most of them. In my opinion a good review should never contain spoilers, so that's why I was much more vague in my puzzle descriptions. Yes, as I noted, some puzzles require trial and error, and for some the logic is far-fetched.

I liked the telescope puzzle. I remember getting excited when the view got from 'blurred' to 'almost sharp', showing me that I was close to the solution (now there's a spoiler!). I can't remember an exact reasoning why my solution was the correct one though.

Yes, I will remember Schizm as an outstanding game. But I can very well imagine gamers being disappointed by the hard puzzles.

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