Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39505)
Written on  :  Mar 03, 2005
Platform  :  DOS
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Space never looked so good

The Good

Universe is Core Design's second adventure game after Curse of Enchantia. In the game, a young boy, Boris Verne, is asked by his Mom to deliver some mail to his Uncle George. While he is giving the mail to him, he notices some flashing lights behind a door at the end of the hallway, and being curious, he decides to investigate, only to find that it is a machine known as the Virtual Dimension Inducer. Boris uses the Inducer and accidentally transports himself on top of a planetoid somewhere in another universe. He eventually realizes that he can't find a way home until he settles a dispute between the Mekalien and the Virgan Empires.

The game have some good graphics in it. You see, while you are playing the game, you will notice that each scene is a work of art. When you explore your surroundings right at the beginning of the game, you will see how much detail really went into creating the space atmosphere, as well as the stars, asteroids, planetoids, and clusters that are within that atmosphere. Later in the game, you manage to steal a PTV (Personal Transport Vehicle) which you use to navigate between planets, and the interior of the PTV is well drawn, and look like one that is used in many sci-fi movies. The map in which you select a planet to navigate is grid-referenced, and looks similar to the one in street directories, despite the black background that it uses.

And you cannot travel to each planet on the map. The ones you can travel to, however, have an atmosphere and landscape that determine the severity of that planet. Two planets called Coros and the Wheelworld have atmospheres that look futuristic enough, particularly Coros, where the atmosphere has a pinkish-red feel to it. Some structures in the game look very good. There is a crawler on Ankarlon 5 that is worth looking at, and looks like it is in 3D. Speaking of 3D, the game features a lot of rotoscoping, but apart from the crawler, I was too busy with the game to notice the feature.

Unlike COE, there is some arcade sequences, similar to the ones in those games from Dynamix, that you have to play in order to complete the game. Some of these sequences are easy, while some are hard. The object of these sequences is to move your PTV to a particular spot, or use it to fire at intruders. On one of the planets, you get to play a good game called Invaders, which features the same plot as the original, but features stupid-looking characters.

The music is played through the Sound Blaster, and the music that plays in certain scene sounds excellent. When you are in a situation where someone is chasing you, some fast music is heard. During the arcade sequences, as well as the finale, high-impact music is heard.

The Bad

Unfortunately, Universe doesn't have any sound effects, so I had to imagine what the effects would sound like. I don't know if there are sound effects in the Amiga version.

The game uses too much text, which I found hard to follow sometimes. I can think of a number of scenes that could have been cut-scenes and do away with the text. The introduction is an example.

The same problem with COE is found in Universe. You perform actions by clicking far too many icons, even though the icons themselves have some text that tells you what function that they have.

The Bottom Line

Universe is a great game, with superb music and graphics. If you like games with a space-theme, then I would suggest giving the game a try. I do not know if Universe was also released on CD-ROM with full speech, but if it has, then I missed out on it.

Rating: ****½