Review by Orb
Make It Stop Mommy, It Burns!
Why, why, why? I can't even imagine what these people were thinking.
It looks like an adventure game, it certainly has puzzles, places
to explore, a plot, prerendered graphics, etc., but something
was done with these elements here to make the completion of this
game an equitable experience to having to get multiple doses of
The thing that is so misleading about Starship Titanic is
that it actually looks as though it is going to be a fun
game. And I went into it with my nose up in the air, having heard
the stories of mind-numbingly hard puzzles but thinking smugly
to myself, "Ha! I've played so many of these, I'm sure I'll
know the lay of the land and have it figured out in no time at
all. What a bunch of babies those other players were." And
promptly came out the other side of it holding my nose, with my
Now don't get me wrong. I adore Douglas Adams. I've got all the
Hitchhiker books and even a boxed set of the filmed adaptation.
But even my admiration for this beloved writer could not ease
my temperament in dealing with this title.
The story is quite straighforward. At the center of a galaxy,
a beautiful, most elaborate starship, the Starship Titanic, has
been built. It crashes into your house (Adams lifts his own material
here), and you end up on board. During the course of gameplay,
you discover what has happened to the ship and what must be done
to repair it so you may return home.
The graphics are actually quite impressive. The design was carefully
done, overseen and orchestrated by Douglas Adams himself, and
it has the feel of a very elegant old Art Deco hotel, dipped in
some sci-fi. A perfectly acceptable mix, and very lovely. Of course,
this feature gives a glossy finish to the horrific underpinnings
of the game as the player struggles through sloggish game controls,
a highly complex inventory system, as well as an unwieldy text
parser stuck in the middle, one suspects as a poorly thoughtout
homage to Adam's earlier Hitchhiker text adventure.
One feature that I really admired, and wish there would be more
of in all games, is that the game offers the option of a full
install to the hard drive. This was just dandy and serves the
same function of getting a multiple-CD game (this is three) onto
I have to mention something about the transitional graphics.
Someone had the idea that when the game moves from location to
location, the screen and all of the graphics should turn blurry
while moving. This trick gives the player the feeling that she
is at a college frat house in the middle of a hazing ritual that
includes attempted alcohol poisoning. The first night I played,
I actually got a headache and had to leave the game alone for
several days before attempting it again.
There is a highly complex inventory system, with four different
sectionsthe player must keep chevrons that are for each
room in the game in one, another is to have conversations with
the mechanized characters met along the way throughout the story,
one shows you which room can be accessed in whichever elevator
you are in (and there are four elevators, all exactly alikehave
fun keeping that straight), and the final one is for inventory
items proper. Confused? Join the club.
The music is actually quite well done, and along with the graphics,
it tricks the player into thinking he is in for a real treat of
a good time.
The puzzles in Starship Titanic are one of the major failings
of this game. Did you ever see the movie Heaven's Gate? Do
you remember it? The four-hour debacle that virtually finished
off director Michael Cimino in Hollywood? Well, let me tell you,
brother, the puzzles in Starship Titanic are like watching
into the fourth hour of that movie. That's the best I can explain
it. And I really think the tipoff here is that someone has started
to package and sell the game with the strategy guide thrown in
for free, and I earnestly believe that we should all, adventuring
babies, take that sort of thing as a big fat clue when it comes
to game shopping. You could even think of it as a real-world shopping
puzzle. "Gee ... now what's the reason these guys are giving
me a free twenty-dollar book?" My favorite part of this is
the PC Gamer magazine blurb on the back: "Forget Riven.
This may be the game that reignites the adventure genre!"
Some public relations person earned his or her paycheck the week
that was published, that's for sure!
Unlike Mae West, when this is bad, it is not better. Is there
someone that you really want to get even with for some slight?
Give him this game. And make sure you keep the strategy guide.
That way it'll work better than a computer virus.
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Developer: The Digital Village
Release Date: 1998
Four Fat Chicks Links
120 MHz Power PC or faster
Mac OS 7.5 or later
4X CD ROM
32 MB RAM
160 MB hard drive space
Thousands of colors
100 MHz Pentium (133 recommended)
16 MB RAM
160 MB available hard drive space
16-bit (high-color) capable video card and monitor
Video and sound cards 10% compatible with DirectX 5.0
4X CD-ROM drive
Where to Find It