Review by MW
Just One Chick's Opinion
Sitting down, eagerly anticipating what is in store, I open the
game box with a feeling of awe. I notice some of the screenshots
on the back of the box and note that the game appears to take
place in an Arctic region. Looking outside my own window I see
falling snow gracing me with the lure of ambient playing conditions.
Those who have read my reviews of the past can surmise what is
already going through my corrupt little brain. I love ambient
conditions that match the virtual reality of my gaming.
I slide open the glass door just enough to hear the wind eerily
whistling its way through the crack while I am loading the game.
Goosebumps abound as the cold wind rushes past my bare arms, and
my warm breath begins forming wisps of vapor as the heat from
my room dissipates. I start the game; it begins with Mathew Holmes,
an Arctic explorer on a journey to investigate the disappearance
of his father 30 years earlier. Mathew somehow finds himself separated
from his crew and wanders, lost, around the frozen landscape.
Succumbing to the cold, he prepares to die in the vast wasteland
of ice, giving way to the inexorable push of unconsciousness that
is overtaking him.
With that, I decided that if I was to continue my own journey,
I would be better off without hypothermia, and without reservation
I closed the door and quickly flipped on my space heater.
In limbo, between life and death, dream and reality, Mathew finds
himself before the very ship that his father had once tried to
track down ... the Herculania. Within this veil of dreams and
hallucinations I find now that I have become the explorer. Seeing
the ship before me I know I must solve the mystery of why my father
had lost his own life in his quest to locate this ship, and I
know that by getting on the ship I ultimately could meet the same
Enveloped by the eerie mystique of the Herculania, I cannot tell
in this twisted place what is existent or what is false, but the
ghosts aboard the ship tell a story of evil, treachery, and deceit
... will I survive this voyage or will I become yet another soul
forever entrapped in its mysteries?
An engrossing storyline is what will pull you into this ghost
ship. The story starts out slowly, but, as with the game, not
everything is as it seems. As the tale unfolds, the lure and temptation
will draw you in before you'll realize what has happened.
I have come to understand that the allure of ambient playing
conditions is considerably heightened by a game that gives its
players emotional feedback. Morpheus has invoked trepidation,
curiosity, and the ever-present question, "what is going
to happen next," feeding into that need for a realistic experience
in a manner not unlike The
Blackstone Chronicles. And in other ways it also
evokes a Myst-like
Are you starting to feel that creepy sensation of someone watching
you from a dark forest? While Morpheus is not an outright
horror title, it aptly put me in a state of unease and heightened
awareness at certain points. Credit must be given to the creators
of the game for being able to pull this off with such style and
grace since it is not an easy feat either in games or in films.
The game is linear. There is no dying and no chance of using
inventory in the wrong places. Much of the directional movement
is dictated by the game, as are some of the actions. Morpheus
incorporates live-action video in many of its scenes, and this
gives you a good glimpse into past occurrences aboard the Herculania.
The graphics are a tad dated by today's standards, but nonetheless
they are still quite impressive. Movement from scene to scene
is seamless, flowing flawlessly. There is 360-degree panning at
each node, which at times turned into a spinfest of such huge
proportions that it made me feel like I was participating in NASA's
anti-gravitational training programonly to leave me splayed
out on the floor with the gut wrench. "Toto, I don't think
we're in Kansas anymore ..."
Puzzles are placed throughout the game, and clues vary from the
subtle to overt. Throughout the game, players will find that the
story never gets lost within a sea of puzzles, but quite the contrarythe
puzzles only help to piece together the bigger picture. There
is no inventory to get bogged down with, other than a few specific
items that can only be picked up one at a time and will remain
visible until used. Puzzle varieties include the standard seek-and-find,
operating mechanisms, and logical deductions.
The sound effects and musical score are of high quality and original
to the game. Most of the music is aimed at "mood setting,"
so you won't hear big-name bands or orchestras. Although there
are a lot of ambient sound effects, I would have liked a few more
added here and there, but what there are are used effectively.
There is a combination of live actors and voice acting. While
I don't have many negative things to report about the game, I
will admit that I have a mixed review of the acting abilities.
Some of the actors are very good in both their visual performances
and their voice-acting abilities, and yet others are downright
B-grade actors who look and sound as if they are reading from
a scriptincluding the protagonist of the story. I guess
you can't win them all! Fortunately, none of the acting is bad
enough to interrupt the story, and there are no awkward lips moving
This Is Your Captain Speaking ...
I found playing the game on Windows ME gave way to quite a few
technical glitches, which was frustrating. Zooming in on puzzles
would cause the screen to "green out," leaving visible
only the elements that I could click on. This would also occur
when I wanted to save a game or quit. A combination of zooming
in an out, in and out, eventually gave me a clear screen, but
this proved to be an aggravation. I have not heard of this problem
occurring on any other platform, so if you are lucky enough not
to be playing on ME, and this includes Mac players since this
is a hybrid game, you have a good chance of playing the game problem-free.
The inevitable disk swapping is a big part of this game. While
I don't mind disk swapping as much as others, I do understand
why it is a nuisance. Speaking of nuisances, one big one is the
fact that in order to load a saved game you must start with disk
1 each and every time. This gave me a major case of heat rash,
so I managed to find a way around this little problem. I located
my saved gameplayers are given multiple saves, but I recommend
using one (yep, just one)and copied the file to my desktop
and was able to start where I left off by clicking on that.
There is one known error that occurs in Belle Swan's dream sequence,
in that clicking on the drum will cause your system to crash or
will kick you out of the game faster than you can say "what
the hey?" This occurs on any platform. The bad news is that
there is no patch for this since Soap Bubble and Piranha don't
exist anymore. The good news is that it doesn't affect gameplaysimply
avoid the action that gives rise to the bug.
Other than these technical side issues, I believe a majority
of gamers will have almost 100% error-free gaming, and that in
and of itself is quite an accomplishment.
Morpheus's end came as suddenly as did Mathew's unconsciousness
and left me a bit bewildered if not a little disappointed. Others
may like the type of ending that Morpheus offers, but I
don't, either in games or in movies. But don't let this keep you
from playing the gameinevitably you will meet a host of
characters, listen to tales, and observe actions from long ago
that make up a terrific story and make for a really good game.
Had I not experienced the technical glitches, I would have given
Morpheus a Gold Star.
Developer: Soap Bubble Productions
Publisher: Piranha Interactive Publishing
Release Date: October 1998
Four Fat Chicks Links
640 x 480 Display (256 Color or Higher)
8 MB RAM
Windows compatible sound card
8 MB RAM
640 x 480 Display
(256 Color or Higher)
System 7.5 or higher
Where to Find It
Links provided for informational purposes only.
FFC makes no warranty with regard to any transaction entered into
by any party(ies).