Speeding through the forest on a hover-bike... dodging laser fire and
avoiding those pesky tree trunks. A scene out of Star Wars? Nope... this is
by Argonaut Software. This combination action, flight
sim, and Full Motion Video (FMV) game is an excellent way to experience many
game genres all on one CD.
You play as Psaph Abal, a member
of a future race, whose craft is stranded upon a distant planet while seeking
new realms and knowledge. As you emerge from your wrecked space pod you encounter
a strange alien being chased by some evil-looking robots. You can sense that the
alien is being victimized and you quickly hop on a speed bike that has lost its
pilot and chase after the alien, blasting the robots with your laser pistol.
This bike chase through the forest is the first, and in my opinion, best,
part of the game. Though there is not much variety in the simulation at
this point (you simply aim the crosshairs and shoot the baddies), the
great graphics and incredible FMV sequences that intersperse the action
more than make it a great time. The path you take is never the same and
there are countless FMV's to discover.
Once you have evaded the nasty robots,
you are treated to a long cinematic sequence in which you learn about Psaph's
origin and the groundwork for the plot is laid down. The alien race (of which
your new friend Gaan is a member) is constantly attacked and harassed by the Dak
robots (whom you have just been battling). In exchange for helping you rebuild
your craft and return home, the alien leader enlists you in a mission to destroy
the Dak and end the aliens' suffering forever.
You and Gaan infiltrate a Dak base that night and this plot point heralds
the beginning of the "3-D" section of the game. Once inside the base, the
game shifts into a engine similar to the Sierra Online games of the early
1990's. You control your character from a third person point of view and
must wander through various tunnels and walkways, picking up items and
solving puzzles. The only difference is that Alien Odyssey
rendered in 3-D, so your character can pivot in one place, as well as duck
and jump. Argonaut also added real-time fighting so that you must shoot at
wandering guard bots while you attempt to make your way to the lower
levels. The only complaints I have about this section of the game are that
sometimes it is tough to position your character exactly in the place he
needs to be and often it is difficult to make out what exactly is on the
screen (i.e. seeing that something must be ducked under). This can get a
bit frustrating, but the more you play, the more you become attuned to the
interface and control of the game.
Eventually you arrive at the mine shaft, which you must navigate in a small craft
in order to reach the Armory. This section of the game reminds me of Descent
, though it lacks the full 360 aspect (you are going in one direction only). As
your ship barrels down the tunnel you must fire at enemies and bank to avoid obstacles.
Once you arrive at the armory.... well I don't want to spoil it. Alien Odyssey
is a game I would definitely recommend, especially for those who enjoy lots of
FMV. Not a big fan of games that rely on too heavily on cinema, I still enjoyed
this game for its incredible variety and all around fun. The only drawback is
that this game is rather easy and its replayability is almost null. Though not
a major title, this game surely packs more punch than many of the "big-name" games
that are coming out now.