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#88022 - 04/05/02 03:16 AM Cydonia (aka Lightbringer)
Rick36 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/22/00
Posts: 594
Loc: OXON, UK.
Cydonia (aka Lightbringer)

Released a couple of years ago, Cydonia (aka Lightbringer) is about the first manned space mission to Mars.

Unfortunately I do not have the game now and cannot quite recall the minimum system requirements, though I think they are relatively standard (166, P2-3, good video and sound cards, DirectX6 compatible etc.)

You play one of a three-person crew on the first manned mission to Mars. Unfortunately, as you are making your descent to the planet surface you pass through a previously undetected force field. This causes your ship to malfunction and crash land on the planet's surface.

The game starts with you still strapped in to your seat in the ship's cockpit. You seem to have survived the crash-landing unscathed, unfortunately the same cannot be said of your colleagues, both of whom are injured and incapacitated. You're on your own! The general objective of the game is to shut down the force field and escape to the Mother-ship in the emergency escape pod, after having first stabilised the stricken vessel.

This entails you having to go out on to the surface and explore the terrain to discover the force field's source and to shut it down. Surface exploration is achieved via the ship's hovercraft and on foot when you reach certain "hub' locations on the surface.

You soon discover evidence of an extinct ancient, but highly evolved civilisation. As you progress through the game you develop an understanding of the civilisation, the universe and humankind's place in the great scheme of things. This serves as a side plot and you then have to take this knowledge back to Earth to save humanity from destruction through global war, environmental disaster etc.

As with games of this nature your progression is determined by solving a variety of puzzles. These range from simple to difficult and are a decent mixture of inventory management, logical, spatial, mechanical and so on. Much of the puzzling is based on alien symbolism, machinery and language which is always fertile ground for good puzzles and they do not disappoint.

Maybe there could have been a few more puzzles packed in, but on the whole what was offered was sufficient to keep the interest and playability up. I did not like some of the puzzles and on occasion was presented with something with no clues nor forewarning and which was, I felt, illogical and out of place.

The graphics are excellent and there is full 360deg panning. There is also up and down movement. The transitions and cut scenes are smooth and slick and initially impressive, however, you soon tire of them as they accompany practically every move. Fortunately there is a skip feature, which is simply to press the LMB.

Perhaps the most irritating aspect of the game is the frequent disc swapping as you pass from one 'hub' location to another. This is made worse as you have to revisit "hubs' regularly. This is particularly true of the game's ending where you seem to spend more time swapping CD's than on actual gameplay.

A vital part of the game is your portable information centre which contains an information database, decryption facility, photographic imagery, mission notes and recorded dialogue etc. and these all play an invaluable role.

A word of warning here! I could not finish the game. I believe I successfully completed the final puzzle but was never able to shut down the force field so never saw the end-scene. My version of the solution differed very slightly from GB's excellent WT, however, this did not work for me either. Neither did several logical variations. Weighing up my desire to witness the end-scene versus the frequent CD swapping involved in the final puzzle I adjudged myself to have finished the game without the end scene and I laid the game to rest.

On the whole I enjoyed the game, it was a pleasant exploration and voyage of discovery through Mars (and another world – play the game to find out what this is all about!). Puzzles were generally OK, the graphics are excellent and the story kept up the interest level and playability. This is not a classic game, but certainly well worth a spin.

BE AWARE, save often, as you can snuff it!! I discovered this, much to my annoyance, after a long session without saving.

The main grumble is the frequent CD swapping and the continual “to'ing” and “fro'ing” between the "hub' locations. This is compounded by the fact that the surface of Mars is relatively featureless and you can very easily lose your bearings and end up in the wrong location on more than one occasion.

My advice is to give it a whirl, especially if you can pick it up discounted or through a trade, it will wile away a few days and I don't think you will be disappointed.

One feature to note is that there is a slight glitch in the game, but there is a patch available which can be accessed from GB's WT.

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#88023 - 04/05/02 07:50 AM Re: Cydonia (aka Lightbringer)
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10308
Rick,

I think (once again smile ) that your review was right on the mark. I have to admit the games over moments do take you a bit by surprise at first. Then again I think this is a great effort at realism. I too enjoyed the game adn also got a tad grumpy at times at disc swapping - but then again I never enjoy the sudden "insert CD whatever" when I am in the middle of a game. laugh

I recently replayed Cydonia/Lightbringer (Don't you hate all the name variations laugh ) I snagged the DVD version which of course eliminated my only complaint about the game up til now - the CD swaps.

I can say it installed easily on W98 - but doesn't rewuire state of the art bells and whistles. smile

I enjoyed both my original and 2nd visit to the world of Mars and the secrets of Cydonia. Although I love character laden games - I also like the variety of playing as the lone explorer - delving into ancient mysteries. In fact most sci fi games are aolo missions. I have to call this game as one of the if not the best sci-fi game that has been developed. Definitely worth grabbing up whether you play the CD or DVD version. smile

Laura
_________________________




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#88024 - 04/05/02 08:01 AM Re: Cydonia (aka Lightbringer)
syd Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/12/99
Posts: 12306
Loc: Body in California/Heart in Ha...
Hi Rick

Long time no see laugh Another excellent review. I enjoyed Cydonia but yes the disk swapping was a royal pain. I too now have the DVD version and plan on replaying it just to see how the game will flow without "insert disk #, hit ok to continue" will be. I loved flying the hover craft over the mars landscape and yes I got turned around more times than I could count - especially finding that darn manhole thing (or whatever that location was called).

I really enjoyed the puzzles - they were just different enough to be interesting.

Very enjoyable game.
_________________________
Dark Side : Risen
Light Side:

I can only please one person a day. Today isn't your day. Tomorrow's not looking good either.

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#88025 - 04/05/02 08:18 PM Re: Cydonia (aka Lightbringer)
Scout Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 11/17/01
Posts: 1118
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Rick,

Great review. You described exactly was it was like to play this game. I liked Lightbringer a lot and have always thought it was underrated. It was the first game I ever played on DVD and it flowed quite nicely except for the bug you mentioned. I've never seen the CD-ROM version but on DVD the colors were really vivid. The only other game I seen with such a gorgeous palette was the jungle world in Beyond Atlantis. Plus you get to prowl around in a very flattering space suit. I would definitly get the DVD version though.

Mike

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#88026 - 04/05/02 08:50 PM Re: Cydonia (aka Lightbringer)
Mad Offline
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 23311
Loc: United Kingdom
Hi.

Another smashing review !! Thanks smile

Played this game some time ago and like (seemingly) everyone else got fed up with the CD swapping frown

Still enjoyed it though laugh
Cheers.

Mad wave
_________________________
Time : The Most Precious Commodity

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#88027 - 04/05/02 11:06 PM Re: Cydonia (aka Lightbringer)
Namma Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 11/09/00
Posts: 1793
Loc: The Middle of the Sonoran Dese...
smile Excellent review Rick. smile

I played the cd version a couple of years ago and really loved it. I did have to use the patch, but really did not mind the disc swapping too much.

Just a couple of months ago I played the dvd version and it ran perfectly. No need for a patch at all.

Definitely an underrated game!

Hugs, Cheryl
_________________________
Life is not measured by the breaths you take,
it is measured by the moments that take your
breath away.

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#88028 - 06/12/02 07:05 AM Re: Cydonia (aka Lightbringer)
tigger Offline
Graduate Boomer

Registered: 04/02/01
Posts: 15679
Loc: England
Hi All,

Just finished this wonderful game...

DON'T be put off by the disc swaping, yes its a right royal pain, but the game makes up for it!! You have to use a certain disc for getting between locations, then plonk in the one for the place you are at. The puzzles were logical, just a couple needed Serious thought.

I was totally captured by the game, the idea of working out things using a translator was really fun!!

There were only 2 places where I found that you could be 'killed', one right at the beginning (nearly put me off) the second near the end on Saturn. The planets puzzle was a sit down with pen and paper work it out then go back to game one.. but well worth it!!

My only beef is that right before the end you get NO big indication that you have done the colours right.... a comment from the Big alien who talks to you would be nice!!

Hugs

Tig wave
_________________________
A bounce a day keeps the doctor away!!
Playing Sims2, Sherlock, Phantom of Venice
Reading Storm Breaking

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