Planet Alcatraz

aka: Dungeon Cleaners, Planet Alcatraz, Sanitary Podzemeliy
Moby ID: 31985

Description

Planet Alcatraz is a real-time post-apocalyptic RPG. It has been described by the developers as a mixture between Neverwinter Nights and Fallout, on a smaller scale. The game features a non-linear plot, extensive dialogues, a character development system similar to Fallout, with Traits, Skills and Perks, as well as a real time with pause combat system. It uses the same graphical engine as the hack'n'slash game Dawn of Magic.

The protagonist is Boar, one of the four imperial troopers cadets who are disguised as convicts and sent to the eponymous prison planet to investigate the intel of of a spaceship being constructed by the prisoners. After the landing pod containing the convicts crashes, the four were scattered all over the planet. The primary objective of the game is to find the remaining three cadets, who join the group as playable characters, find and destroy the shuttle, then leave the planet.

The politically incorrect setting of the game, as well as its black humour, are characteristic of Dmitry Puchkov, a Russian celebrity famous for his translation theories, whose only book serves as the basis for the game. Racial segregation, misogyny, homophobia, debauchery, slavery, and cannibalism run rampant on the planet.

Spellings

  • Санитары Подземелий - Russian spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Windows version)

101 People (78 developers, 23 thanks) · View all

Game Core, Animation System
Interface, 3D FX
Map Editor
3D Modelling
2D Graphics
Location Sketches
Graphics Quality Control
Cover and Poster
Animation
Video
  • TriDigital Studio
Mission Design
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 72% (based on 4 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 10 ratings with 1 reviews)

Great idea, passable execution, slightly hampered by translation.

The Good
A bunch of space-trooper cadets dropped on a planet inhabited by criminals to complete what amounts to a "final exam" before graduation? Say what you want about the execution, but the idea IS unique.

There are a lot to say about the game's settings. Every location in the game has its own history (they are basically scaled up version of prison gangs) and reason for being the way they are. However, the translation, on the way to remove the "politically incorrect" parts, did its best to scrub out any references to the black criminals, yellow criminals, white criminals and Aryan criminals (these are actual political prisoners, members of the Fourth Reich, who's at war with the Russian Empire in this alternate universe). The English manual, likewise, omits most of the background story, only leave in the bare-boned game control sections. If you take your time to read the conversation, it's quite interesting and adds a lot to the experience, making you care a little bit more about what you're doing. I've translated most of the backstory in the manual, which can be viewed here: http://youareplayingwhatnow.blogspot.com/2014/08/planet-alcatraz-backstory.html

The game's atmosphere is suitably dark, filled with weird characters and off-beat humor. Slavery, cannibalism, prostitution are prominently featured (though the last two are censored out in the English version). Characters back-stab each other all the time, and some will try to swindle you out of your reward or even kill you after you've done what they want (although it gets rather ridiculous when a guy with a lead knuckle tries to intimidate four dudes armed with machine guns and metal armor). Also, all of the inhabitants are criminals convicted to life sentences, so technically you don't have to feel too bad about what you do to them.

The combat is serviceable, if a little repetitive. Occasionally you'll want to spice things up by head-shooting enemies with sniper rifles, or blowing them up with grenades and rockets. Most of the non-combat skills, with the exception of First Aid (increases amount of healing done) are actually useful, and you'll benefit from specializing a teammate in each of them.

The game is also quite forgiving and generous when it comes to finishing quests. When you open the maps, characters or places related to quests are highlighted and described, so the answers when you get stuck is usually along the line of "Open you map, hover your mouse over each area, until you see something related to your quest". Important (story-related) quest items cannot be dropped or sold, or even put inside containers (though it might becomes a nuisance when you kill and accidentally loot it again from your quest-giver).

The Bad
The biggest flaw of the game, without a doubt, is the dialogue translation. The texts look like they've been run through Google Translate (and I highly suspect it was, since I'm trying to re-translate the Russian version myself using the same method, and some of the Google - translated texts are exactly the same as seen in the game) and then proof-read by someone who probably speaks Russian fluently but only has an average understanding of the English language. The text for the most part are understandable, but always sounds extremely unnatural, and occasionally sounds like a mentally-challenged man speaking. Character names are translated literally (you have names like Agronomist, Urologist, etc), and sometimes inconsistently (For example, your second team mate is named Sullen, but in some places he is called Gloomy). Those are just the examples I can remember from the top of my head. The mistakes won't make the game unplayable, but will make you cringe. A lot.

The second problem, accompanying the first, is the voice acting. It almost sound like one or two people did all the voices. It sounds very comical and you can't take anything seriously. And it seems the voice actor are given a slightly different script, as the spoken lines usually don't exactly match the subtitles. If you have a thing for campy, too-bad-it's-good translation, then you'll probably get a kick out of it (like I did). Otherwise you'll want to skip the cutscenes. There's no such option for the occasional combat taunts and chatters though.

The gameplay isn't too challenging. In fact, once you've got the hang of it, each battle will play out almost exactly the same. You kite a few enemies at a time, dodge their grenades if need be, then close in and kill them. The AI is extremely simple, they simply charge at you, no flanking, no camping or healing, ever. You can pause the game and heal (yes, you can heal in pause mode) if necessary. Rinse and repeat. There is no option to take cover, and the only thing resembling strategy is to position the team near choke points (like doorways) and kill the enemies one by one.

The combat skills are very unbalanced. For example, Melee weapons are rather useful at the beginning. However, as the game goes on, since the hit chance for melee is based on both the attacker and the target's melee skill, you'll miss very often even at high skill level. Firearms have higher damage rating, can dish out shots faster, and the hit chance depends entirely on your skill and not your enemies'. In short, you'll be ditching your knives by the time you get your hands on your first sawed-off shotgun (which is a few hours after game start, if you know what you're doing). Among the firearm skills, Pistols & Shotguns is also a poor choice, compared to Heavy Weapons (which consist of all the "good stuff", from assault rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers and rocket launchers). If you forgo the role-playing and follow the "best damage output" path, your team members are likely to look and play exactly the same.

As for perks, you have access to 39 perks, about 5 of which actually have any significant impact on gameplay. The rest of them mostly consists of "Increase 10 weapon skill when you use this oddly specific type of weapon". In other words, those perks don't do anything that 10 more skill points can't do better. Fallout's perk system, though not without its share of problems, is still vastly superior and offers a lot of customization. For some reason, this game, which came out nearly a decade after and borrowed a lot from Fallout, is a lot less imaginative.

There is also an obvious lack of choices and consequences. While the game features a few branching points, it simply boils down to opening new areas and new sets of quests. There is usually no option to resolve the quests peacefully, you're better off just killing everything that moves and call it a day. By the time you're done with the main quest, your team will most likely have killed several hundred people (to put things in perspective, the planet has about 10,000 - 20,000 inhabitants), including several important leaders; however, there seems to be no impact on the planet's fate, or the game just doesn't show you. Just a few pictures and a few lines of text would have been nice, but nope, there's none.

The Bottom Line
The game is probably comparable to The Fall: Last Days of Gaia, another obscure role playing/strategy game that also uses real time with pause. If you can look past the wonky translation, and take your time to understand the game mechanics (read: the skill/perk system) before diving in, you'll probably have fun with the weird humor and bizzarre characters (if those are your thing, of course).

Windows · by Anh Ngo Hai (2210) · 2014

Discussion

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Game title GTramp (81965) Aug 31, 2011

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Humanophage.

Additional contributors: xroox, Sciere, Yearman, GTramp.

Game added January 5, 2008. Last modified January 25, 2024.