Mars Saga

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Mars Saga
The C64/128 Mars Saga box art. It depicts a space-suited man wielding a weapon with the planet Mars as backdrop.

Developer(s) Westwood Associates
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Platform(s) C64/C128, Apple II, DOS
Release date(s) 1988
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution 1 5¼-inch floppy disk

Mars Saga is a role-playing video game developed by Westwood Associates and published by Electronic Arts. It was released in 1988 for the Commodore 64/Commodore 128, Apple II and DOS.

Plot[edit]

The player takes the role of Tom Jetland, a down-on-his-luck space traveller trapped on Mars after crashing his ship. While searching for jobs to make enough money to get back off the planet, he discovers a conspiracy hiding contact with what seems to be alien life.

The player visits the four Martian cities of Primus, Progeny, Parallax, and Proscenium, as well as traversing the Martian surface and visiting abandoned mines.

The combat system features a bird's eye view of the battlefield. The player queues instructions for the characters of his or her party to perform in real time.

Design flaws[edit]

At the time of the game's design, programmers were rushed to meet an 1988 completion date.[citation needed] As a function of that, there are several items in the game that are illogical. Six different skills that a character can train in - mechanics, electronics, language, mining, strategy, and tactics - are useless. The designers had initial plans to use those skills to aid the player in solving puzzles and advancing plot items in the game, but in the end the game was sent to print too early and the skills ended up being included but useless.

Reception[edit]

Computer Gaming World described the game as accessible to newcomers to the genre, including features like auto-mapping, allowing the player to save without switching disks, and allowing the computer to control the player's characters during combat.[1]

Mines of Titan[edit]

In 1989, the game was completely fleshed out, retitled Mines of Titan, and released on PC platforms. The setting of the game was moved from Mars to Titan, a moon of Saturn.

The previously useless mining skill was fixed, and in Mines of Titan it is used to avoid cave-ins while adventuring in mineshafts. The other 5 skills were deleted.

The differences between Mars Saga and its sister game are mostly plot related. There are more side quests to complete in Mines of Titan as well as more things that must be completed to forward the main plot. City layouts are the same and so are the enemies that are encountered, although there are more enemies in Mines of Titan.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sherfy, Joe (February 1989), "Tales of a Martian Manhunter", Computer Gaming World: 50 

External links[edit]