the writings of a mind

Title: Martian Gothic Unification
Genre: Action Adventure
Big Word: Asphyxiated
Strap: In space no one can hear you eat ice cream. Is someone elseís joke. As is this.

"Stay alive, stay alone." Or so I have been instructed repeatedly the last couple of days. Good instructions indeed, were you a tightrope-walking hermit. Or indeed, if you were a crack team of investigators visiting the derelict Vita 1 base on Mars.

"If one dies, they all die. But, in the end, only two can survive." Yes indeed. None of them can die, or the other two will as well, apart from if one of them dies, and then the other two will survive. It is with this wad of logic that you begin playing Martian Gothic: Unification, and not really a lot else. Sketchy details about a disaster on the Mars base, and the obscure warning above, are all you know as you begin playing Creative Realityís 3D adventure. Only through investigation can you discover the true extent of the disaster. Or so it says here.

Martian G:U would be unique if it werenít for the fact that itís like so many other things. Everything clearly borrows heavily from Resident Evilís style, using fixed camera points for cinematic effect, and music to create a horror-movie environment. But where the twist would lie, if it werenít for the fact that it was someone elseís twist, is in that you control three separate characters throughout the game. It is they who must never meet, or face the ambiguously certain doom. But for a title that seems to rely so heavily on its innovative approach, it becomes quite embarrassing for anyone who remembers Day Of The Tentacle. Or The Dig. The fun of passing objects between three characters, adding a third dimension to puzzle solving, has already been done the best itís ever going to be, thankyouverymuch. And sadly, MG:U doesnít really come close.

The idea of an unravelling storyline is an exciting one, but in order for it to work, the player must want to stay on to find out what happens next. And even more importantly, be able to stay on. Creative Reality have opted for "in-game" saving, so, much like Resident Evil, you must find a place where you can save. But these are so few and far between, and so heavily booby-trapped, that actually getting a save made is pot-luck. And when you die (or more often, when one of the frequent crashes occur) just before you manage, an hourís play can disappear into the ether. The patience required to go back and do it again wears thin very quickly. This coupled with insanely random announcements that everyone is going to die in 5 minutes, and no clues as to what to do about it, make having any fun an very trying test.

There is an extremely good game in here. Thatís what makes this so knuckle-chewingly, wall-punchingly aggravating. You can see the blank video you so desperately need, but youíre buggered if you can get the cellophane off in time.

Margin Note:

The music is such a vital element to creating a strong horror-game. But when in the (admittedly fantastic) open titles, you see the score credited to "Fir Q", two thoughts go through the mind. 1) Oh dear. We all know whoís joke that is, so leave it alone. And 2) Weíre stuffed then arenít we. Atmosphere does not abound. It kind of lollops.


 Another Playstation title masquerading as a PC adventure game. Darn it.


Tech Specs:

Publisher: Take2
Developer: Creative Reality
Price: £35
Minimum System: PII 266, 32 Mb RAM, 3D card, 450 Mb HD
Recommended: 500MHz, 64 Mb RAM, 16Mb 3D card, 700Mb HD, gamepad.
Multi-player: No
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