Lunar Deep: The Adventure Below

 
 

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    AncientRein Gaming and R. P. Corse

Released:  May 2006

PC Requirements:   see review below

      

 

 

by gremlin

 

What is it?

Lunar Deep The Adventure Below is, letís not beat about the bush, a Myst clone. But hey! Donít knock it until you try it. And, for once, I can actually name the designer/developer of the game and be pretty certain itís all his work. Where I would describe Sid Meier as the creator of the Civilisation games, R.P. Corse is the sole creator / designer / developer / artist behind Lunar Deep. Now thatís what I call independent development. Though, to be fair, I have to mention that R.P. has used the Adventure Maker engine to write the game. But then, many people have tried that, and not produced a simple gem like Lunar Deep.

Is there a plot?

R.P. Corse cites as his inspiration Myst, of course, and the Journeyman Project. Two of the strongest, plot-led titles Iíve known. Whatís more, itís quite clear from the plot and form of Lunar Deep that the inspiration has been followed up very well. The plot is a simple one: an ancient race of Moon worshippers moved to the Moon, established a high-tech civilisation, and then put up their feet to enjoy their retirement. Now the fruits of their lack-of-labour are coming back to haunt them as the machinery that made their lifestyle possible is failing. Which is, of course, where you come in.

How do you play?

Point-n-click, baby! Point-n-click! Really, thereís not much more to say on this topic Ė this style of gameplay is tried and tested and works very well for adventure games. The game is displayed in classic slideshow form, with a variable cursor indicating the location of clickable items and directions in which you can move.

The game provides unlimited save slots, accessed through a menu at the top of the screen, via a right click of the mouse. This menu also has the Load and Exit options. There are no other options available.

Thereís a limited inventory; I counted around ten items, some of which could be combined. You start with a magnifying glass and a torch, and the inventory is opened by moving the mouse over the ever-present knapsack in the top left corner of the screen.

The puzzles arenít spectacularly innovative; some are inventory based, some are combination locks, one is a simple colour based lock.  They all hang together in the locations, and whatís more, they make sense in terms of their function in repairing the lunar machinery. There are plenty of cases of the most professional of adventure games that canít reach even this standard in puzzle design!

Notable Features

In Lunar Deep, R.P. Corse has produced quality graphics that are clear and show a good level of detail, with nice use of cloud effects too, albeit on prerendered screens rather than 3D volumetric effects.

Throughout the game, the music, voice acting and sound effects are good quality, providing colour and atmosphere.

This being a Myst clone, you canít die anywhere in the game, although I must say that the ending is a little on the macabre side. Iím not sure thatís the kind of honour Iíd be looking for were I really on the Moon!

Oddities

There really is just the one strange feature of this game. The two humans characters look like Barbieô and Action Manô dolls.  In particular, their skin tone, though that has always been a very difficult texture to reproduce, so the peculiarity is understandable.

Conclusions

Lunar Deep is an enjoyable diversion for a few hours. Thatís not bad for less than $6. The game can be downloaded (the size being a little under 60MB) or ordered on CD from the game website. This is a good, smooth production with no bugs, glitches or Ďfeatures.í It was easy to install and run, and it would be hard to imagine a computer bought in the last five years that would struggle with the technical requirements. In fact this game demonstrates that you donít necessarily need all the finest graphics hardware on the market to produce a game that balances graphic quality against technical requirements and download size.

What do you need to play it?

Recommended Requirements

  600 Mhz Pentium III or Better

  128 MB Available RAM

  60MB hard disk space

  True Color Video Card (SVGA or better)

  Windows Compatible Sound Card

  Mouse, keyboard and speakers

  Operating System: Windows 98 / Me / 2000 / XP

(I used Win XP Pro SP2, AMD Athlon 64 3500+, 512 MB RAM, and nVidia GeForce 6600GT 256MB)

06-2006

 

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