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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (40066)
Written on  :  Nov 29, 2014
Rating  :  3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars

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Summary

Excellent text adventure with a sci-fi feel to it

The Good

A year after Beyond the Titanic was released by Apogee, a text adventure where you have to escape the legendary ship and make your way to America, the company decided to create a second text adventure called Supernova, a science-fiction game set in outer space, and in my opinion, it looks amazing. The game was released before the company developed “The Apogee Model”, prominent in games such as Duke Nukem, Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3-D

The game shares the same game mechanics as Titanic. You have text descriptions of each room, the number of moves, the location of the room, and the score. Also added to the mix is a line of asterisks that represent the player’s condition. During the game, these ranges from “Healthy” to “Sick”, and from time to time, you need to eat, drink, and sleep to keep your energy levels up. All these elements really stand out if you did have a graphics card back in the day.

When it comes to locations, there are some interesting places that you visit. At the start of the game, you are in the local tavern where you have to eavesdrop on some aliens. From there, you commandeer an abandoned spaceship, navigate a jungle planet, get through a pyramid, and finally assist a scientist in order to prevent a catastrophe. As with any text adventure, I can imagine what each scene would look like, and some of them looked quite spectacular.

There was a demo released for the game, which showcases its use of ASCII graphics, especially in the early parts of the game. In the tavern, for example, you can look at the menu to see what drinks are on offer, but instead of the game giving you a text description of what drinks are available, the game will display an ASCII representation of the menu, and the menu is laid out nicely. This technique is repeated in the Kroz series.

I found out that the demo is basically the computer completing the game, as quickly as it can. It claims at the end that most of the puzzles are skipped, yet one of the puzzle it shows you is a maze inside the pyramid. Basically, the rooms change configurations every move you make, and you have to figure out the two layouts in order to leave. The demo also allows you to pause after the computer has finished entering commands, allowing you to read each description.

I like a couple of features in the game, and these are not found in other text adventure. One feature allows you to press the arrow keys to travel in the appropriate direction. This saves you from typing out the directions, or even their abbreviation. Another one allows you to chain commands together instead of entering them individually. This proves useful when you are in a situation like near the end of the game, where you have this droid shooting at you in the security tunnels.

As with Titanic, there are actually some sound effects in the game. The most memorable sounds are the humming of the ship’s engine when you are traveling to the alien colony, and the nice little ditties that plays both when you die and when you win. The sound when the droid is shooting at you is also well done.

The Bad

As long as you are on board the abandoned spaceship, the name of the directions change. So instead of “N”, “S”, “E”, and “W”, it is “Fore”, “Rear”, “Starboard”, and “Aft”. As a spelling and grammar expert, the descriptions make no sense.

The Bottom Line

As a gamer in the Nineties, you probably think that Apogee was all about action games, but a little bit of research should tell you that they have released some minor games, including Supernova. The game features a sci-fi setting, along with some strategic elements, in the way that you eventually get hungry and thirsty, and you must know when to start heading back to get food and water. In addition, there are some neat features such as color, sound, and simple ASCII graphics. Shame that there wasn't a sequel.