The Daedalus Encounter
|The Daedalus Encounter|
3DO cover art
Scott Ewers (live-action)
|Designer(s)||Scott Baker (main)|
|Genre(s)||Interactive movie, puzzle adventure|
The Daedalus Encounter is a 1995 interactive movie puzzle adventure game published by Virgin Interactive for the PC, Macintosh and 3DO. The premise of the game is that there are three space marines who have fought as part of an interstellar war. One of them, Casey, has been brought back to life by his partners after a space accident and he is now a brain grafted in a life-support system. In order to save themselves, the three characters and the player solve all sorts of puzzles.
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 irreparably damaged, 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 on board their ship, the Artemis, 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 the 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 mind puzzles, such as connecting colored laser-beams with mirrors, unlock a door with rotating shapes, 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. Numerous alternate scenes and clips were filmed and edited into game play. The alternate scenes appear depending on the player’s choice of game play.
During the exploration of the alien ship, Ari and Zack enter a Central Hub containing six doors in the shape of hexagons. They explore areas of the ship behind each door but do not find any navigational controls. However, Casey finds six purple orbs (one in each of the six areas behind the six doors). The orbs cause the beam of blue light and fountain of white lights in the middle of the Central Hub to fade away as a diver’s suit shaped device with a cannon on top of it appears. Ari and Zack insert the orbs into it, Casey brings part of an alien’s hand from the ship’s Sick bay (which is behind one of the Central Hub doors) and places it on the device. It activates an elevator which takes Ari, Zack and Casey up and out of the Central Hub.
The alien ship approaches the Sun and temperature inside starts to rapidly increase. Outside, the remaining Krin flee the ship, but some of them are destroyed in the heat. The elevator brings Ari, Zack and Casey into a control room where the device (which the orbs were inserted into) vanishes, revealing a fish-shaped shell. Ari and Zack notice a live alien and Casey goes over to communicate with it.
It is noteworthy that three endings were filmed:
- The alien ship reaches the Sun and the Artemis burns and explodes in the heat.
- The alien doesn't respond to Casey and Zack shoots it with his laser gun. The alien knocks Zack aside and attacks Ari. Ari kills the alien and the shell hatches into the Queen alien. Ari kills it and Casey changes the course of the ship, steering it away from the Sun. Ari assumes that Zack is dead and cries over his body, telling Casey that he was wrong about there being no such thing as a hopeless situation.
- The alien responds to Casey and as the alien ship reaches the star, a force field appears around the Artemis and protects it from the intense heat. The fish-shaped shell turns out to be an egg, which hatches into a giant red alien Queen. The live alien, Ari, Zack and Casey bow to it.
In a voice over, Ari explains that the force field created by the creatures which called themselves "Seddy" protected them and the ship from the intense heat. The Krin either fled or were destroyed and the new Queen possessed "race memory" and being able to speak and know; she helped Casey’s translation abilities, answered many of Ari’s and Zack’s questions and repaired the Artemis. Zack receives a transmission from the Daedalus, wishing them a safe voyage and may their paths cross again. Zack tells Casey that he was right about there being "no such thing as a hopeless situation" and tries to convince Ari to join him on the mattress in the station room. Ari says nothing, and Zack murmurs, "Oh never mind," as the Artemis speeds off into outer space.
Production and release
The Daedalus Encounter was published by Virgin Interactive and developed by Mechadeus. The live-action segments were taped on location on Cinerent Stage A in San Francisco. The game was released 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 the player can hit the spacebar to play the video in full-screen mode. It was a part of the multimedia package that was included with the Macintosh Performa at the time.
Scott Wolf of PC Gamer gave The Daedalus Encounter a review score of 79%, calling it "a sincere attempt to make a program that works both as an interactive movie and game." Wolf praised it for its "smooth, beautiful video; variety of gameplay; and plenty of puzzles," but criticized "excessive sit 'n watch segments, and some really dumb dialog." He opined, "Ultimately, though, The Daedalus Encounter will still prove too shallow for hardcore gamers whose natural distrust of video may never dissipate, while casual gamers may appreciate the fine cinematics but find the puzzles too frustrating. You can’t please everyone, I guess, but with The Daedalus Encounter, Mechadeus has certainly tried."
Entertainment Weekly gave the game a "B+" and stated, "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." Entertainment Weekly said the influences of the game were obvious, mentioning the Alien series, Babylon 5, and The 7th Guest, and added 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 21⁄2 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" and 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 he 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."
- "Game Credits for The Daedalus Encounter". MobyGames. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
- "PC Gamer Online". Web.archive.org. 2000-01-17. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- "CROSSED IN SPACE". Entertainment Weekly. 1995-04-21. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
- Adrian Carmody (August 1995). "The Daedalus Encounter Review by Quandary". Quandary. Retrieved 2008-02-16.[dead link]