Developer:   Dreamforge Entertainment

Publisher:   Capstone

Released:   1995

PC Requirements:   DOS 5.0, 80486/33 MHz, 8 MB memory, 2X CD-ROM drive, VGA 512k VESA, SoundBlaster compatible.




by Rick36


General Features of the Game.
Though now somewhat dated the graphics and graphical quality of the game still hold up well and in no way lessen the enjoyment, even for fans more used to Riven quality graphics. In actual fact in many locations I found the graphics quite enchanting, always interesting and extremely well drawn. The scenes are pseudo 3D rendered (I say this because the quality is not as good as present day games, but for it's time it was a damn good attempt) and the characters move against this background (getting smaller as they move into the distance and larger as they move out of the screen).

The storyline line is perhaps one of the games strengths. Any aficionado of science fiction will be familiar with the name Roger Zelazny who is the writer of the story. It is a powerful, well-rounded and logical storyline and provides an interesting, original and immersive foundation for the adventure game itself. There is also far more detail to the story than is necessary to finish the game, but Zelazny creates a universe and history, which adds to the realism and experience. The main character has a large encyclopedia of information, which is accessible when he is in his ship and this contains facts and histories for all manner of features of his Universe. You will also need and use this database to play the game and much of the information is essential to progress. The joy of this is that the information you need is not just given to you, you have to go and find it and then interpret it for you to be able to move on. A lot of information and history is also developed as you progress through the game, which again adds to the strength of the story and the overall enjoyment of the game.

There are also several original and interesting facets to the game which increase the overall experience and add a few new twists to be able to solve puzzles. For instance the main character possesses a 'Universal Tool', which can change into a range of different functional tools. The kind and variety of tools available depends on which planet you are currently investigating. And in many instances you will need this tool to solve a puzzle. Although it is not quite that simple, you are always required to think about what application can be used, where and how, if at all. Again though, one of the beauties of this game is that it has been made to be as intuitive and intelligent as possible and there are several ways to solve many of the puzzles in the game. For instance, you may find that using the Universal tool will get you through a door, but another alternate way is usually provided as well. As a for instance, when I needed to check a walkthrough I would read a paragraph on a puzzle that I had already solved, but for which the WT gave a completely different method, and I was left thinking "so that was what that was for…duh'.

Another strength the game has is the range, quality and quantity of puzzles to solve. You are never left without there being something to do, solve, complete, overcome etc. and the puzzles range from the simple 'pick up key and use on door' to all manner of brain twisters and in some instances some real lateral brain-strainers that require a good (or twisted ?) imagination. Unlike many games you do not spend endless time moving through lots of scenes with one rather lame puzzle to solve or sometimes with nothing to do at all.

Brief Storyline.
The time is the future. You play Alex Korda, a creator of Pocket Universes, perhaps the best the universe has ever seen. Though in retirement, you are tempted back into working for the universal federation because someone is closing down Pocket Universes and putting them in Stasis.

Your mission: to find out who, why, to stop them and regenerate the universes they have shut down. This all might seem very simple and linear, but Zelazny weaves his story so well and all the puzzles are so well integrated into the story that the game is a sheer joy to play. As with any good story you also find a number of disparate elements and themes coming together as you progress, and again in the setting of an adventure game this feature enhances the gameplay and enjoyment considerably.

In the course of your mission you travel to a variety of very different worlds and universes all of which have been created along various themes (a dry, arid, dessert world of sultans and Arabic lore and legend, a bizarre carnival world of topsy-turvy, psychotic mazes and fairground locations, a world dedicated to gambling and hedonism and so the list continues). Each world and universe is fascinatingly described and depicted, and the theme of the universe very much dictates the puzzles for that section of the game.

The game is full of innovative ideas and themes. One being that because the world is in stasis you cannot function within them without using bottled time (a scarce and valuable resource). Bottled time serves to bring back to life the world within Korda's immediate vicinity, while the rest of the world remains frozen in time. This feature has an impact on some of the puzzles and the way you play the game.

I shall say no more about the storyline as much of the joy of the game is piecing it all together yourself and I would certainly not want to spoil anyone's enjoyment of this wonderful game.

In Conclusion
From my above remarks, you might all have gathered by now that I thoroughly enjoyed this game. For it's story-line, it's originality, it's addictive game-play and multitude of intuitive and intelligent puzzles and …..and so on, I think you get the idea.

Quite simply, my advice is to get this game, load-up and look forward to a good few days (and long nights) of puzzling and adventure in a fascinating and richly described Universe.

copyright © 2003 GameBoomers

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