The Colony

Moby ID: 3489
Macintosh Specs
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Description

You are a Space Marshall, investigating a distress call from the colony Delta 5-5.

As you approach the planet, your ship comes in contact with a gravity well, and crash-lands. The landing drained your ship of all but minimal power, stranding you.

After putting on your Power Armor, navigating the planet's surface and stepping into the Colony itself, you must uncover what has happened to the colonists, restore power to your ship, and, optionally, rescue the colonist's children.

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 76% (based on 6 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 10 ratings with 1 reviews)

A classic - highly immersive and innovative.

The Good
This was the first game I played with a 1st person perspective. The graphics were simple transparent wireframes (or, if you were blessed with a 286 or higher, filled polygons). The colony was immense, spanning over 5 levels, and contained within two floppy disks.

While the graphics were simple, they worked - some of the clipping bugs were even explained as a plot device ("the aliens have the ability to move through walls, but only partially").

The plot itself was fairly detailed. You uncover the history of events on the Colony by reading books, journals, notes, and computer screens. Every colonist had their own apartment, their own job, their own life - you could not only follow the main plot of the game, but you also got a glimpse into the daily life of every colonist.

You had one mission that you really needed to accomplish (restore power to your ship), but there were a number of optional sub-missions within the game, that you could ignore entirely if you so desired. There was no "score" system, so they only served to give you something else to do, and more puzzles to solve.

Most of the puzzles in the game consisted of moving objects throughout the world - transporter pods, boxes, cryogenic tubes, and so on. Surprisingly, these could get extremely complex, without being annoying.

The Bad
The only drawback I've found was that due to the nature of the space-warping experiment that had taken place, there were some maze-like areas of the colony that, once entered, could not be escaped from. Unless you happened to be in the forklift at the time, lugging around a transporter pod, you would have to reload a game.

The Bottom Line
Truely innovative - possibly the first 1st-person shooter. This interface combined with an excellent plot made it an extremely fascinating game, for its time.

DOS · by Dave Schenet (134) · 2001

Trivia

Christmas

Setting your computer's date to December 25th causes all of the potted plants in the game to turn into Christmas trees.

Graphics

The Colony was programmed with a common graphics library of the time that was meant for business graphics -- it supported practically every single extended CGA, EGA, and early VGA boards for high-resolution and/or color support for the game. Well over 20 "SuperCGA" and "SuperEGA" video modes were supported. I personally played The Colony on an AT&T PC 6300, an Olivetti clone that had a CGA card capable of a 640x400x2 mode (it had 32K of display memory instead of the usual 16K). Such support was normally unheard of in 1988.

Influences

Plot elements in The Colony were most noteably influenced by the movie Aliens, and some areas and items in the game are based on the movies 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Fly, and Battlezone.

Legacy

The Colony could be considered the first 3D first-person shooter. The mouse controls were a precursor to what has become standard control for 3D games. The technology in The Colony later was extended into Virtus Walkthrough, a variation of which was used to plot shots for the movie The Abyss.

Information also contributed by Scott Berfield and Trixter

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  • MobyGames ID: 3489
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Dave Schenet.

Amiga added by Martin Smith. Macintosh added by Eli Tomlinson.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Patrick Bregger, Stormkeeper.

Game added March 27, 2001. Last modified January 3, 2024.