aka: Arthur C. Clarke & Gentry Lee Present Rama, Rendezvous im Weltraum
Moby ID: 1255
DOS Specs
Included in Special Edition

Description official descriptions

Nobody has expected it - but one day, something entered the solar system from outside. The mysterious object appeared to be a gigantic cylinder with unknown properties. The International Space Agency (ISA) sent the special Newton Team onto the object, which they dubbed "Rama". The scientists soon discovered that Rama was, in fact, a huge biomechanical collector of alien species and their cities. One of the explorers, Valeriy Borzov, dies under mysterious circumstances. Another astronaut is sent to replace him, investigate the circumstances that led to his death, and perhaps uncover the mystery of Rama.

Rama is a puzzle-solving adventure game based on Arthur C. Clarke's series of science fiction novels. Visually and gameplay-wise, it mostly follows the template of Myst, consisting of pre-rendered backgrounds and live action scenes, and focusing almost entirely on complex logic puzzles. The player character has a special device called "wristcomp", which includes communicative, automapping, and teleporting abilities. A personal android provides descriptions of objects and comments on the events of the game.

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Credits (DOS version)

120 People (112 developers, 8 thanks) · View all

Associate Designer
Design Consultants
Conceptual Art Director
3D Technical Director
Lead 3D Animator
Lead Production Assistant
Lead Programmer
Application Programmers
Cameo Coding
3D Animation
3D Modeling
[ full credits ]



Average score: 75% (based on 20 ratings)


Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 46 ratings with 3 reviews)

The ultimate logic adventure

The Good
The logic of this game is brilliant, from the puzzles themselves (some logical in the most direct manner, i.e. mathematical), to the way those puzzles relate to each other (some puzzles, for instance, are derived from reasonable assumptions about the physical forms of extraterrestrial life), to the very fact that these challenges of the mind exist (the setting, Rama, is an enormous abandoned space environment with an automated maintenance system).

For most of the puzzles, the player can expect a direct pay-off--unlocking a door, activating an ancient and mysterious machine, escaping injury or death at the hands of an automatic repair system--but the setting provides an underlying motivation to every puzzle and action the player takes: discovery.

More than any other game, of any genre, Rama manages to motivate the player, move its own modest plot and keep things interesting by simply providing a fascinating setting. In this regard, Rama's pre-rendered graphics are key. Even more than a decade after its release, Rama's graphics still live up to its concept of a vast hollowed-out cylinder containing mountains, oceans, rivers, clouds, even storms, rotating smoothly as it glides through space. The various machines, systems, robots, buildings and structures that dot the landscape look strange and enigmatic, but practical to some alien design. Aside from the fact that the horizon folds around you, the environment of Rama feels very natural, with lush, earthly greens, blues and browns.

If I seem to be dwelling on the non-game aspects of this adventure, it is because they are so striking. The gameplay involves a variety of logical puzzles, including but not limited to: math puzzles, code-breaking/translation puzzles, some (very few) timing puzzles, and a handful of item-manipulation puzzles. The interface is slim, clean and austere, but provides many useful and unobtrusive features like an automatic map, communicator, a sort of space-age Swiss Army knife and a doll-sized android that can be consulted or used in puzzles.

The Bad
Very little. The acting is cheesy, but pretty unimportant. Non-adventure gamers will find nothing to enjoy about this game and will likely not make it off the initial landing platform. Rama is very hard, often assuming the player has general skills and knowledge not covered in most high school careers. Even adventure game enthusiasts may have trouble adjusting to Rama's overall approach--that is, letting the player figure it out, instead of leading the player with clues delivered by character or plot developments. On that matter, the plot is very weak and the player is usually expected to motivate their self through the adventure. Many puzzles end up being frustrating due to their difficulty (which cannot be held against the game), but some puzzles are frustrating because their require excruciatingly close examination--many of the item based puzzles require the player to hunt through pixels to find items or the inevitable "slots" to place them.

I've had trouble running this game on post-95 Windows systems. The most-stable arrangement I've gotten to work for this game is windowed with no sound--and even that setup frequently reverts to a negative-image color-scheme. I've heard accounts of flawless operation in newer systems, so if you find this game somewhere, buy it anyway, you might not have any trouble.

The Bottom Line
Rama stands out within several categories.

The point-and-click 3D adventure genre--like most any prototypical genre--suffered from extreme over-saturation following the break-out hit status of Myst. If Rama is any indication, "over-saturation" doesn't necessarily mean the market was glutted with bad games. With its logical, detailed and finely crafted puzzles, Rama's puzzles challenge the mind in ways that make sense, if they don't always summon the most sensational and action-packed gameplay or plot developments. Rama is a true game of exploration--the triumphs of the player come from discovery, not conquest or drama.

Rama is also an adaptation of a novel--Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke, who appears in the game periodically as a sort of tour-guide/low-grade thought-provoker. As an adaptation, Rama captures the spirit of the novel (especially visually, with grand cylindrical vistas and the awe-inspiring "sunrise"), but changes many vital elements, resulting in a less-than-accurate adaptation, but a better game. Thankfully, any elements from the rest of the series of novels are omitted, leaving Rama's plot and setting clean and universal.

Rama is a mixed pre-rendered/FMV game and fares well in comparison to many contemporaries. The acting, while hammy (especially Puck, your micro-android assistant), serves its function well enough. In a more character- and plot-oriented game, I'd be more inclined to criticize the acting, but in Rama the setting itself is the only character that matters. And that character is rendered perfectly.

Windows · by Greg Wells (4) · 2008

Well written adventure.

The Good
Although the first person point and click structure of RAMA screams Myst-clone, RAMA has a sense of wonder and detailed story that separates it from the pack. You play a gender neutral Astronaut who is part of a team that is exploring an alien ship that entered our solar system. While video units relay information from other team members, your most valuble asset is a minature robot who has a Shakespearan persona. He will analyze inventory and offer suggestions.

Also, should you have the misfortune of dying, Grandmaster Clarke will appear and suggest another path.

The Bad
It is logical that aliens would seek to communicate via mathematics. However that doesn't make for fun gameplay. I recommend using a math book (or faq) to get past some of the higher level puzzles.

A timed sequence near the end is quite difficult.

As I recall, an interesting bug makes checking your inventory from time to time vital.

The Bottom Line
This is truly a science fiction experience. Strange new worlds and races await! Go further too, read the books on which this was based.

Windows · by Terrence Bosky (5397) · 2001

Space Myst-clone

The Good
Sierra tried to make use of the Myst success and make a Myst clone. However they also tried to take Myst a step further: we have a complex interface, a richer character interaction, and a more definite and consistent background. It's a shame it never stood next to Myst. If it was not 'yet another Myst clone', I think it could have been more famous.

Something that always impresses me whenever I play the game, is the characters: The actors are wonderful and act consistently to the character's position and mood. Nicole is always friendly, others, like the security officers are always grim etc.

Next to the actors I would add the quality of the videos. I don't know how they did it, but although we speak about VGA graphics, you won't believe that the actors are filmed in 256 only colours. The video quality is just very good!!!

The interface is original and complex which hypes it beyond Myst. A wrist computer with maps, navigation, compass and video messages which keeps you up to date concerning what happens elsewhere in Rama.

I would like to add the atmospheric and spacey music which hypes the game's mysterious atmosphere.

Generally I think the game was very well done. The scenery and RAMA in general are self-consistent, so much that comprehending what Rama is, will help your orientation. Same applies to the characters and their interrelations. All in all, it is of the games which the more you play the game, the more you will understand and find out things you missed at first. This for me is a sign for a Good Game.

The Bad
The main reason I was turned away many times was its initial and clueless open-ness with your only order being 'explore'. Some players I know stopped playing soon after starting the game.

I didn't resign that easily, however the large number of places you must visit, including the fact that plot advances only after you solve a puzzle or enter a room, will force you examining places again and again, and re-visiting them to see if this time will appear a thing or person that wasn't there last time you were.

The music was nice, however it was comprised of short pieces that are repeated, like a playlist. I would prefer some more typical adventure music as a 'carpet'.

Also, something more general. I don't know what's missing, but Rama is not Myst. The designers tried using the well-used recipe, and even went beyond Myst, however you will see that 'something' is missing, and yet you don't know what. Not actually something I don't like, but thought mentioning it here.

The Bottom Line
I think that Rama is a must-see game, which deserved to be more well known.

Windows · by Boston Low (85) · 2010


The game follows quite closely the plot of the book "Rama II" by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee (a copy is included with the game).

There were two sequels planned (the book is the first part of a trilogy) but they were never made.


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Andrew Jenner.

PlayStation added by Terok Nor. Macintosh added by Jewelcase.

Additional contributors: Alexander Schaefer, Jeanne, Shoddyan.

Game added April 1, 2000. Last modified January 23, 2024.