Hundreds of years into the future, the people of
Earth have conquered space by slowly puddle-hopping from one star
system to the next. A galaxy-wide civil war breaks out. Robots,
terminators and weapons are mercilessly transported to vulnerable
planets, where they destroy all life forms. By war’s end, there are
only a few islands of humanity left, spread across vast reaches of
In Final Destination: The Secret of Larson’s Folly,
you are a survivor of this war. You hail from a planet whose
scientists have at last learned how to move manned spaceships faster
than the speed of light. There is only one source of energy that
can fuel such a spacecraft -- zero-point energy, created before the
war on a planet called Larson’s Folly. You use the last remnants of
zero-point energy to travel to this distant planet. You hope to
acquire additional energy for use in a fleet of new starships,
allowing your people to search the galaxy for survivors.
But when you reach Larson’s Folly, you find only an asteroid
field. Something has destroyed the planet entirely. On a large
asteroid, you find the remnants of a research station, and the
beginning of hope.
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Final Destination is a game whose goal is to make you think. Not
just to think about how to make your way through the various
obstacles at the Larson’s Folly research station, but also to think
about life’s purpose and about facing death, the “ultimate test of
character.” It’s a story about discord and division -- the
background conflict of the civil war, plus the conflicts that
surfaced among the inhabitants of Larson’s Folly when they
discovered that their planet was doomed.
Final Destination tells a gripping, complex story. As you
explore the abandoned research station, make your way through locked
and hidden doors, and read technical and personal logs, you build up
images of the characters in your mind. Gradually you discover more
and more about the scientists who lived and worked and schemed at
the station before disaster struck. You find that religious strife
rippled through the station, interwoven with a feud about the
efforts made to escape the deadly peril.
Well, At Least the Interface is Easy…
Final Destination is a first person, science fiction,
point-and-click Myst-style game. Hotspots – and these consist
almost entirely of wallmounted data devices and computer matrix
interface panels – are easy to find. The cursor changes into a
magnifying glass whenever you pass it over an item with which you
The puzzles in Final Destination are logical but very, very
difficult. All of them involve manipulating the panels that control
the computer matrix and/or system devices. Information about the
panels is available in technical entries found in the wallmounted
data devices. These can be frustrating to read, as only two
paragraphs are visible at a time and random symbols from corrupted
data are sometimes intermixed with the text. The gamer really
must understand every word in these technical entries --
and not just understand the entries, but comprehend and anticipate
their implications in order to get the control panels to work.
The game has three difficulty levels. “Hard” difficulty gives
you the minimum of clues from the data devices. I solved only one
puzzle in the game on the toughest difficulty level. “Medium”
difficulty adds one, or possibly two more hints for each puzzle, and
these are the type of hints that give a glimmer of direction, while
still requiring you to think deeply. I found medium difficulty not
much different than hard difficulty.
The “Easy” difficulty level gives you many more clues to solve
puzzles. Sometimes at this level, the game comes close to giving
you outright solutions; other times it merely makes the puzzle logic
more explicit. Again, the difference in the difficulty levels was
the added information that became available in the data devices.
Unfortunately, you can’t switch from one difficulty level to
another during the game – you have to choose one at the beginning.
At times I went back and forth between different games at each
difficulty level so I that could compare them, starting with the
hardest difficulty game and working my way down. I found that some
of the clues provided at the easy level early in the game not only
gave hints for the puzzle I was trying to solve, but also clues for
later puzzles. Oops.
Thus, if you play on easy level at any point in the game, you
effectively spoil the hardest difficulty setting -- so be warned.
(The game menu does mention this, but I confess I didn’t quite
believe it. Don’t repeat my mistake!) If you want to play the game
on the hard level of difficulty with only occasional help, you will
actually avoid spoilers more readily by consulting the in-game
walkthrough when necessary, rather than attempting to run a parallel
game at the easy level.
I ended up solving many of the puzzles using knowledge I had
gained at the easy level, a level which the game menu describes as:
“for people who either have a lot of difficulty solving puzzles or
who don’t care for puzzles and just want to stroll through the
game.” I found the easy level to be more of a vigorous hike than a
mere “stroll”. (My puzzle solving abilities have clearly been
The puzzles in Final Destination fit its science fiction story
nicely; a scientific/technical mindset aids in their solution. If
you are an engineer or a systems analyst, you may find that the
game’s logic is second nature to you. Mr. Spock would breeze
through the game. On the other hand, if you tend to think
intuitively rather than technically – well, there’s still plenty of
fun to be had on the so-called “Easy” level.
March 28, 2815 -- A Good Day to Die
If you are living your last days (or if you are an unexpected
visitor) in a research station, the one on Larson’s Folly is a
beautiful place to be. The environments are colorful and full of
polished, reflective, sometimes iridescent surfaces. The machinery
in the station features classic, geometrical forms, with an art
deco-like aesthetic. I wish there had been more rooms to explore,
because the environments are tasty. Cut scenes are grainy, but they
are also fun to watch and are useful additions to the look and pace
of the game.
The music suits the environments well – it’s eerie, echoing and
contemplative. Sound effects are minimalist. There is no voice
acting in the game.
The writing in Final Destination, on the whole, is good. I was
instantly drawn to the story and the plight of the various
characters. Although the plot focuses on the intense drama going on
at the Larson Folly Research Station as disaster approached, there
are no flashbacks or images of the inhabitants. The entire plot is
contained in the data devices, so the game requires the gamer to
draw heavily on his/her imagination in envisioning the story as it
The only instances in which the writing seems clumsy are the
personal log entries that dwell on the pros and cons of Christian
belief. These entries were made by individuals (one a believer, the
other an atheist) who embraced a black and white world view. If
they had both expressed normal uncertainty and wrestled with some of
the ambiguities in their beliefs, I feel that as characters they
would have been more engaging. Still, these logs do reveal much
about the mindsets of the game’s two most controversial
antagonists. You understand why factions formed around the
antagonists, and you see how the ugliness escalated as the planet’s
destruction drew near.
The game was very stable. It installed easily and, after
installation, it ran fully from the hard drive – no need to ever put
the CD in the drive again. The only glitch I encountered involved
the Artilect Research Center data device, which from a distance
transmogrified itself into the Zero-Point Energy Plant data device.
Once I figured this out, I made sure that I was standing directly in
front of the Artilect data device before attempting to access it.
There’s also an inaccurate date in the opening sequence, though that
doesn’t merit full “glitch” status. I understand that a patch is
being created to fix these problems.
Quick List for Final Destination: The Secret of Larson’s Folly
Elegant, pristine environments. A thought-provoking story with
religious themes. Three difficulty levels – hardest difficulty
involves patience, making connections, and thinking with technical
precision. No sound puzzles, no sliders, no mazes – one easy timed
puzzle. For those who have difficulty distinguishing colors, it is
possible, though more difficult, to solve all the puzzles without
correctly identifying colors. Lots of reading required. First
person point-and-click interface. Unlimited save slots. Surprising
in a game about facing death -- you cannot die. The game was
Aimed at gamers who enjoy Myst-style exploration with a science
fiction story and mind-bending puzzles.
Final Destination: The Secret of Larson’s Folly is an Independent
publication of Cyragon LLC. The game can be purchased through the
Final Destination website.
Final Grade: B-
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