-Originally designed for Windows 95
-Released in 1996
-Game play is similar to that found in MYST and RivenWorkstation and Platform
The machine I used for this game was an XP system with a Pentium 4 2.6 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM and a Radeon 9200 Pro video card. Color quality was set at Medium (16 bit), Compatibility Mode was set at Windows 95, 640 x 480 screen resolution and advanced text services were disabled. Many people have been able to run the game successfully on XP by only checking the Run in 256 colors box, but I could not. You may also want to delete any other versions of QuickTime that are on your system as Morpheus requires QuickTime 3 and is very picky about it.Issues
There were three independent issues I ran across that although annoying, can be tolerated. The first may be due to the interface designed for older, less powerful machines. Navigation was difficult, cursor movement was much too fast and there were many times during the game that I would end up somewhere I did not intend. It took some time, but I slowly became adjusted to the mouse action. The second issue I came across was in one of the dream sequences. I believe it is a QuickTime error that caused the game to crash losing anything that had not been previously saved. So, here are two tips; save games often and don’t click the instruments in the bazaar tent in Belle Swan’s dream sequence!
Allegedly there is a patch for this, but I have yet to be able to find it. The third and final issue was static in some of the music and dialog. As mentioned in the beginning of this review not everyone comes across these issues when run on an XP machine. Don’t let these scare you away from trying to play this game; it is definitely worthwhile in my humble opinion.Review
If it is an immersive, atmospheric game playing experience you are looking for then Morpheus may be your game. The slide show style with extended views and a fair number of “live-action” cut scenes gives it a feel like many of the older classic adventure games. The game begins by watching a recorded message of an artic explorer searching for his missing father. Get used to him because that is the alter ego you will take on during the game, I hope you like the cold. You eventually come across the large yacht Herculania stuck in the ice. As it turns out that is exactly what you needed to find. Your first task is finding a way to get into the yacht in order to stay alive in the harsh climate and investigate its (the ship) mystery.
Once inside you find yourself amid a place of Art-Deco luxury; lots of dark wood, gold and intricate tile and carpeting. Many of the rooms in the ship are artfully done showing exuberance for the bold styles of the 1920’s. A nice place for a vacation if it were anywhere else except stuck in the ice of the Artic (unless you like that kind of thing). Also there is a creepiness to the sounds in the ship. Are they (the sounds) from machinery, the Artic ice expanding and contracting against the sides of the yacht, ghosts or maybe the soul of the ship itself? The accompanying music is of the type that tends to make the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It does change with the location, but for the most part there is almost always a feeling of being watched or ghostly happenings, which are eventually confirmed.
The characters in the game are encountered through ghostly flashbacks that are triggered by touching certain objects or entering certain scenes. They are an interesting group of people ranging in occupations from Actress/Dancer to Boxer and even a Doctor/Scientist who practices a very unique form of alternative medicine. One of the pivotal and most interesting characters is Jan (pronounced Yon); the adopted son of a shipping magnet (also on board) who had the Heculania built. Jan is a brilliant, although slightly disturbed individual born with a facial deformity that causes him to wear a mask reminiscent of the Phantom of the Opera. All of the “guests” aboard the ship are connected in some manner to Jan and eventually that connection becomes, shall we say, even more pronounced. You will see the manner of this once you encounter…The Neurographicon (cue dramatic music).
I thought that for an adventure game the cut-scene acting was very good. They have a fairly good number of characters and I imagine it was not the easiest at that time to get people to take themselves seriously acting for…well a game. The writing was quite good and the overall story line very original with subtle touches of Cinderella and Phantom of the Opera. The game reminds me in a way of some of the early classic science fiction movies that I watched as a kid, the good ones, not the cheap B-flicks.
The puzzles for the most part are very well done and logical. Later in the game are a couple, which almost seem too simplistic as though quickly put together so that the appropriate number of puzzles are available for each sequence. Still and again, not something that should detract a gamer from playing this game. There are several very complex puzzles that should challenge most gamers and one that might even send you looking for a walkthrough. Be prepared to take a good amount of notes and make some drawings, a pad of grid paper comes in handy for the latter. Record as much of the pertinent information around you as you can; numbers, words, objects or scenes that seem to be pertinent and you will make it through just fine.
Overall I definitely give the game a thumbs-up
and recommend it to those who, like me were captured into the adventure gaming world by MYST. It will definitely give hours of great game play and a nice little twist.