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
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.
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