Cydonia: Mars - The First Manned Mission
Description official descriptions
Earth is dying, you, the player must save it by succeeding in the colonization of Mars.
This is an adventure game that looks a lot like Cryo's brand, meaning 3D pre-calculated graphisms, with smooth transition when moving from place to place, plus of course, the obligatory full-motion cut-scenes. The art is impeccably done and up to the standards of the release year (1998).
Upon arriving on Mars, however, the landing module hits an unexpected force-field and crashes, and that's where the adventure begins. The first puzzles are quite easy; they consist of saving the module and the two other humans aboard from the shipwreck and the subsequent fire, all the necessary hints being given to you by one of your shipmates. However, after that point, puzzles are way more difficult, as they consist (at first at least) of exploring remains of an alien civilization, with thought processes "alien" to human players.
Credits (Windows version)
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Average score: 65% (based on 11 ratings)
Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 9 ratings with 1 reviews)
Cydonia (or Lightbringer as it was named in some countries) starts out pretty good. Traveling to Mars, you and your crew have been sent to investigate some strange phenomena in the Cydonia quadrant. But, you have problems right away when your Lander spacecraft crash lands. Two crew members survived but are severely injured. You realize that you alone must complete the mission and find a way back home.
Besides assisting the injured crew members, your first objective is to uplink yourself to the ship's computer, assess the damage and then to fix whatever is wrong. Learning how the computer worked was not difficult and was actually quite fun. Searching your ship, you find several objects to add to your inventory that might come in handy later. Everything stabilized, you locate the onboard hovercraft, figure out how to start it and off you go.
It doesn't take long to realize that your space ship fell into a big hole. Using your hovercraft's "Jump Jets", you get out of the hole and up onto the main surface of Mars. Before you is a landscape composed of sand dunes, devoid of structures and growth. Supposedly, the developers of the game used actual NASA research to make Mars' appearance as realistic as possible. If that's true, it's not the type of place I'd want to spend much time on, that's for sure.
Although you are not given many direction choices, you can still get lost because everything looks pretty much the same. There are only three real destinations to find, and finding them is a bit difficult, at least at first.
Eventually you discover that an ancient race resided on Mars and left behind remnants of their civilization. In order to completely unearth their intentions, you must figure out the clues to cryptic puzzles, the first of which is understanding the alien language. The puzzles are fairly hard to figure out, even after analyzing the strange data left behind for you to find.
You are very alone in a barren, foreign atmosphere. Cydonia had the potential to be a very good Myst-clone. It failed miserably, mostly due to faults in the programming. It crashed not just occasionally, but constantly. And this happened at the most inopportune times (usually in the middle of a puzzle before which no save was allowed).
One irritating problem concerned the hovercraft itself. Not only was it difficult to steer, but getting in and out of it was stupidly hard. There are too few locations to explore too.
In addition, some of the puzzles were inadequately constructed. For instance, one comes to mind that involved putting specific pieces, in jig-saw fashion, onto another surface. Picking up the pieces, turning them around and placing them was unnecessarily difficult and quirky.
You have no other people to interact with. How hard would it have been to be able to return to the Lander and discuss your progress with your injured crew? Couldn't their knowledge and expertise help you solve some of the puzzles? The personality of the character you are playing stays hidden, so you have no idea what type of person he is. Therefore, you, as the player, can never really feel any type of emotion towards the character or his mission.
The Bottom Line
The whole Cydonia experience reminded me very much of parts of the Journeyman Project games, but those games were much better. I wish I could recommend this game, but I disliked it so much that I simply cannot.
Windows · by Jeanne (75973) · 2001
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Game added by pouzzler.
Game added July 19, 2001. Last modified December 23, 2023.