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puzzles out

The Daedalus Encounter

The Daedalus Encounter is a computer game from 1995. It is an adventure/puzzle game from the short-lived subgenre of interactive movies. It was distributed by Virgin Interactive, and was released for the IBM PC compatible, Apple Macintosh, and 3DO.

Plot

The game follows a trio of space marines who fought in an interstellar war: Casey (the player character), Ari (Tia Carrere) and Zack (Christian Bocher). The game opens, and the story begins, just as Casey has been brought back to life by his partners. After being in a horrible space accident, Casey's body was all but destroyed, and he is now only a brain grafted in a life-support system on their spaceship. The player can interact with the world through a small remote controlled flying probe, which is launched from the ship shortly after the start of the game. In this new form, Casey possesses limited ability to interact with his environment, his only way to communicate being through a yes/no interface and by emitting light pulses. Upon awakening, Casey finds out that the war is over and that Ari and Zack have become pirates, stealing salvage from the war to survive. During a salvage mission, the trio crash into and are stranded on a derelict alien spacecraft, which is on a collision course with a star. It is up to Casey to help his partners and explore the mystery of the Daedalus spaceship.

In order to save themselves, the trio must explore the huge alien ship and solve a large number of Myst-like puzzles, such as connecting colored laser-beams with mirrors, playing an advanced form of connect-the-dots with a computer interface, and one combat sequence, battling aliens called Krin. The puzzles are mixed with acting sequences from Carrere and Bocher, whose interaction with the player creates some light-hearted comedy.

Production

The game was published by Virgin Interactive and developed by Mechadeus.

Lead Product Analysts were Mick Love and Stacey Mendoza. Chris Archer was Assistant Producer. Jim Getz was in charge of Quality Assurance. David Maxey was the Director. The screenplay was written by Mark Giambruno and Ned Miller. Deirdre O'Malley and John Evershed were the Executive Producers.

Anne Sandkuhler was Producer of game design, along with associate producers David Felton and Melissa Kangeter.

The live action Director was Scott Ewers, with Larry Lauter as Assistant Director and Anne Sandkuhler as Producer. The live action segments were taped on location on Cinerent Stage A in San Francisco.

Platforms

The game is available for the 3DO, Macintosh, and PC. In the 3DO version, the video is full-screen; in the other two versions, the video is in a window inside of an organic interface (but you can hit the spacebar to play the video in fullscreen mode in the Windows Version). The PC version has quite a few bugs that have never been worked out. While the game wasn't a huge hit on Windows, it is still fondly remembered by some Macintosh gaming fans, as it was a part of the multimedia package that was included with the Macintosh Performa at the time.

Critical reception

In 1995, Entertainment Weekly gave the game a "B+" and said "It seems that most CD-ROM producers still haven't figured out how to combine compelling interactive elements with slick movie-style visuals and storytelling.", noting a cinematic scene at the beginning of the game that must be started all over again if the player makes a slight mistake. The magazine said "the game's high-tech scenery and foreboding scenario are engrossing enough to lead you through stretches during which you have nothing to do but watch." The magazine said the influences of the game were obvious, mentioning the Alien series, Babylon 5, and The 7th Guest. The magazine said that Tia Carrere would be the game's main selling point, and said "Carrere does fine in her multimedia debut. But the role's been so underwritten, it could have been played by virtually anyone." The magazine said the game "has its share of flubbed dialogue and inane plot developments" and some shifts in point of view exaggerate "the uneasy mix of movie and game elements." Entertainment Weekly also said "This game's true attraction is its genuinely creepy sci-fi-movie sequences, displayed with astonishing sharpness.

Reviewing the Windows version of the game, Adrian Carmody of Quandary gave the game 2 1/2 stars out of 5, and called it a big improvement over Critical Path — with better acting and "more intelligent gameplay." Carmody said that logic puzzles are the "mainstay of the game." Carmody said if players enjoyed the game Entombed they would likely enjoy The Daedalus Encounter, due to the similar gameplay element where every door is locked with a puzzle that must be solved before a player can go on. Carmody wrote, "The puzzles range from the dreadfully simple to the nightmarishly difficult", but said luckily there is a hint system. Carmody described the graphics as "superb", praised the acting, and said the dialogue "is clear and neither tacky nor simplistic." One drawback Carmoedy noted is the ability to save games, which can be done only at the start of major puzzles but "The difficulty lies in identifying a major puzzle." Carmody also said the fact that a player can't save puzzles out of order was a problem, saying "Basically if you miss puzzles, restart the game from scratch as you'll never, or at least you will be unlikely to, get to a position where you can successfully save again.

References

External links

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