Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.

Starship Titanic (Windows)

63
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2.8
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Written by  :  Davedog (89)
Written on  :  Jan 30, 2001
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  0.86 Stars0.86 Stars0.86 Stars0.86 Stars0.86 Stars

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Summary

Bad, Bad, Bad.

The Good

Douglas Adams has had more than his fair share of really great ideas. There was a throwaway line in one of the Hitchhiker's books about The Starship Titanic, and eventually the idea was resurrected (coincidental with a big project by James Cameron... hmmm...) and the hype started writing itself. Assuredly the computer game technology had come a long way since Adams helped with Infocom's Hitchhiker's text adventure - the potential for a great game was there.

The Bad

But they didn't write a great game. They wrote Starship Titanic.

The puzzles were terrible. Many of the puzzles took the form of a malfunctioning piece of machinery standing between you and some goal. Which (as other reviewers have said before me) makes sense in a ship that has all gone wrong.

What I find most offensive was the machines that were working as designed, and yet were presented as puzzles, which means that you were presented with interfaces that no intelligent being (human, alien, or robot) would ever have deliberately created except to make their users miserable. This even made exiting back to Windows 95 pleasant for once.

There is a point where you need to find two secrets from two characters who are murderously opposed to one another. Surprise - the secrets are in plain sight, and what strains credibility more than any of the other puzzles in this game is that these two people who would each go to insanely convoluted lengths to dispose of the other seemingly cooperated in placing these secrets together in one place. And somehow the obvious advantages of using these secrets never occured to either of these characters.

In addition to implausible puzzles, the overall story was unsatisfactory - I was convinced to do something catastrophic early in the game, and I now suspect that that was mandatory to continue the game past that point, but I still was left feeling that I was stupid to have done the action, thus dooming the game to a marginal ending at best.

And the technology wasn't any great shakes, either. A bunch of hot spots on the screen, with blurry movies connecting mostly still scenes. When standing in one location, I might be inclined to look to my left. Click. Wait for the movie to start. Wait. Ok, watch the world spin around my head. Ok, now I can see the view off to the left, and maybe I want to click on the lamp doodad, which I know has a hotspot. But the hotspots - for some inexplicable reason - took over a second to load after the interstitial movie finished, which led to one of the inexcusable sins in a find the pixel game - if the player clicks on a part of the screen and gets no response, there ought never to be a requirement that the player click there again without motivation.

Between fighting with the bad interfaces inside the game that were called puzzles and the bad interface that was the game, I was furious that I had purchased this game. I keep it now just to remind myself how terrible a game you can make in spite of gorgeous graphics and expensive voice talent.

The Bottom Line

Like being poked in the eye with a hot poker made of salt while simultaneously having teeth pulled without any form of pain killers unless you count the repeated kicks received in the sensitive parts of the lower body.