Starship Titanic


Developer:  Douglas Adams, Digital Village

Publisher:   Simon & Schuster

Released:   1998

PC Requirements:   P100, 16 M RAM, 160 M hard drive space, 4x CD-ROM.




by Rick36

Released in 1998, Starship Titanic (ST) is the creation of British author Douglas Adams who was also the creator of the cult book and TV series, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Before continuing we'll get the technical stuff out of the way first :-

Minimum and recommended system requirements:-

1) Windows 95 (higher is fine).
2) 100 MHz Pentium processor (133 or higher recommended).
3) 16 Mb RAM (higher recommended)
4) 160 Mb disk space.
5) 16 bit (high colour) capable video card and monitor.
6) Video and sound cards 100% DirectX 5.0 compatible.
7) 4x speed CD ROM or faster.

ST is a humorous, slightly tongue-in-cheek, sci-fi, point and click, puzzle-solving adventure. Douglas Adam's' slightly nonsensical and quirky humor is complimented by the voice acting of the Monty Python team.

Having said this, don't let it put you off if you take your Sc-fi a little more seriously, as the story and features are original, innovative and interesting.

The ST is a large, luxury passenger spaceship created by an alien civilization and on it's maiden voyage. Unfortunately things go awry and it crashes into your living room. You, by the way, are a mere earthling enjoying a quiet evening in front of the TV before your house is completely destroyed and, to all intents and purposes, you are seconded to fix things.

The ship is bereft of any intelligent life forms and is run and maintained by a variety of robots ('bots') with whom you can communicate to try and find out what is going on. Your mission brief is to try and determine what has happened, what precisely has gone wrong and then to fix it. If this all sounds a bit simple and unoriginal, fear not, I am restricted in what I can write as I do not want to give away too much of the plot, as discovering this forms the basis for the adventure.

The game has you wandering about the ship collecting items, solving problems/puzzles and putting various wrongs to right.

To begin with you are placed in the lowest class of billet, which seems a little ungenerous seeing as you are trying to help out and repair the problems. However, you do receive upgrades as you solve puzzles and this gives you more access to the various parts of the ship. This is all I will say about the general plot.

The graphics are excellent and the interior of the ship is quite beautiful and impressive. There is no panning and movement is from one scene to the next, however, movement is slick and the transition is quick and smooth and you never lose your bearings. Sound is also excellent and enhances the gameplay.

The game environment is relatively small compared to some games and you spend your time searching through the ship, in some instances visiting locations frequently in order to solve puzzles and progress.

There are a variety of puzzles ranging in difficulty from easy to downright difficult and seemingly illogical. This game is a real brain-strainer and you will certainly need to have your lateral thinking hat on. In solving the puzzles (and the general theme of the game) I was very much reminded of 'Zork: The Grand Inquisitor'.

One interesting feature of the game is that conversation with the bots is not through a predetermined list of options/narrative, you have to actually type in your questions and responses. The AI is reasonable, though the bots respond to keywords and it can be a bit frustrating trying to find the right way to put things and precisely what to say/ask, though this is one of the puzzle elements of the game.

I have a few suggestions which I feel would enhance the enjoyment of the game without mentioning any spoilers :-

1) Apply bags of lateral thinking.
2) This is the ideal game for collaboration between two or more gamers who can bounce around ideas and suggestions.
3) Take meticulous notes and be very observant!!! There are plenty of clues around (both verbal and visual) but they can be very well camouflaged. When you get stuck (and you most certainly will!) referring to your notes is essential to see if there is anything that you could not do at the time but could revisit with new knowledge, information and/or inventory items. Or maybe a previously recorded fact or detail might offer a clue to a current puzzle.
4) Make use of the bots, they have a lot of info and provide a lot of clues.
5) Get very familiar with your PET (Personal Electronic Thing) which has a variety of modes and functions you need (inventory, communications, room ID etc.). It also displays vital info throughout the game.
6) Have a good look around everywhere you can and get familiar with your surroundings before starting the game in earnest. This also applies to when you are upgraded and gain more access to the ship's rooms.

In conclusion I would highly recommend this game, it is fun, interesting and gives the old grey matter plenty of exercise. Basically this is a must for any point and click adventure gaming purist.

copyright 2003 GameBoomers

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