Darkstar: The Interactive Movie

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Darkstar: The Interactive Movie
Darkstar promo flyer.jpg
A promotional flyer for the game.
Developer(s) Parallax Studio
Writer(s) J. Allen Williams
Composer(s) J. Allen Williams, Jimmy Pitts, Bill Bruce
Platform(s) Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows
Release Mac OS X
  • NA: November 5, 2010
Microsoft Windows
  • NA: November 8, 2010
  • EU: December 16, 2011
Genre(s) Interactive movie
Mode(s) Single-player video game

Darkstar: The Interactive Movie is an interactive movie video game written, produced, edited, animated, and directed by J. Allen Williams, owner of the American animation studio Parallax Studio. It starred the actor Clive Robertson[1] and the original cast of the comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, and J. Elvis Weinstein).[2] The game also featured animations by the comic book artist Richard Corben[3] and was the final work of actor Peter Graves, who narrated the game. Darkstar was released online on November 5, 2010 through the company website and as a downloadable through Strategy First. It was re-released in stores December 9, 2011 in the United Kingdom and Ireland through Lace Mamba Global.[4]

Interactive movie[edit]

Darkstar differs from the standard game format in that it contains over thirteen hours of live action cinema–far more than any previous full motion video game. Creator and Parallax Studio CEO J. Allen Williams gave a brief description of the project to the website Slightly Deranged saying:

Plot[edit]

The player is Captain John O'Neil of the Westwick. You awaken from a cryogenic sleep that has spanned a period of over 300 years. As a result of the abnormally long hibernation, you have no memory as to who you are, where you are, or why you are there. Beside you are three other sleep chambers. One is empty, the other is occupied by a beautiful woman, and in the final chamber lies the body of a man–300 years dead and missing his left hand.

Your ship is damaged and helplessly adrift in the orbit of the ominous Theta Alpha III. An unknown crew member has deleted any data that provides an explanation as to why this is.

You know, despite the emptiness and desolation, that someone is in the cold silence waiting for you.

And, as if the day isn't bad enough, the Earth has been destroyed for three centuries.[6]

Cast[edit]

Darkstar has roughly thirteen hours of live-action cinema including a cast of all real actors. It stars Clive Robertson as Westwick Captain John O'Neil.[7] It also features the entire original cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000 including its creator Joel Hodgson as Scythe Commander Kane Cooper, Trace Beaulieu as Westwick First Officer Ross Perryman, Frank Conniff as both Westwick Navigator Alan Burk and the voice of the quirky robot SIMON (Semi Intelligent Motorized Observation Network), Mary Jo Pehl as both Bridgebuilder Captain Beth Ingram and the voice of the computer Westwick Main, and J. Elvis Weinstein as Galactic Discovery II Captain Cedrick Stone. Also from MST3K is Beth "Beez" McKeever as the Westwick Pilot Paige Palmer who stars across from Clive Robertson. Darkstar was also the final work of the actor Peter Graves.[8]

In addition to Clive Robertson and the Mystery Science Theater 3000 players, the production has a cast of nearly fifty actors, almost all of whom are local to Springfield, Missouri and the surrounding area.[9]

Production[edit]

Darkstar was written, produced, animated, edited, and directed by J. Allen Williams over the course of nearly a decade. Though most of the credit goes to Williams alone, a number of others contributed to the enormous production. Additional animations for Darkstar were done by the prolific American illustrator and comic book artist Richard Corben who is best known for his "Den" character featured in the 1981 film Heavy Metal and for his comics featured in the magazine of the same name. Other noteworthy crew members include cinematographer Roger Jared, co-producer Mark L. Walters, electronic media producer Dahlia Clark, and composers Jimmy Pitts, Bill Bruce, and J. Allen Williams.[10]

Soundtrack[edit]

Darkstar: Musical Score from the Interactive Movie
Darkstar soundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack album by Jimmy Pitts, Bill Bruce, and J. Allen Williams
Released November 5, 2010
Genre Soundtrack
Length 145 minutes

The soundtrack to Darkstar was composed and performed by Jimmy Pitts (keyboards and pianos), Bill Bruce (guitars and percussion), and J. Allen Williams (bass guitar) under the moniker "Progressive Sound And MetalWorx". Two other performers include Brent Frazier (guitars) and James Lee Dillard (percussion).[11] Additional music for was composed by Ruell Chappell, an original member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Though the soundtrack was originally intended to feature over an hour of music by the rock band Rush, negotiations with Universal Music eventually dissolved and Williams was forced to replace much of the footage with an entirely original score.[12]

The soundtrack was released in tandem with the game and features 38 tracks of music on a 2-disk set.[13]

Reception for the soundtrack has been positive. In a review of Darkstar at diehardgamefan.com, Alex Lucard rated the soundtrack as "Unparalleled" and wrote, "This is without a doubt one of the the [sic] best scores I have heard all year."[14]

Reception[edit]

Darkstar: The Interactive Movie received a negative response from game critics. On the review aggregator Metacritic, the game has a weighted average of 36% indicating "generally unfavorable reviews.".[15] Reviewers criticised the acting, story, appearance and technology.

Games TM gave the game 1/10, saying simply "It's not a game."[16] PC PowerPlay also reviewed it negatively, with their 2/10 review calling Darkstar "A crime. Send this one to the colonies."[16] XGN gave it 1/10, saying "Whatever you do, don't go out and buy Darkstar: The Interactive Movie. It's one of the worst games we ever played.".[17]

Conversely, Drummond Doroski of Adventure Gamers gave it 3 out of 5 stars, writing, "It's not a game for everyone, as some are sure to be turned off by the rarity and simplicity of its puzzles, while others may not relish a return to the infamous days of live actors as their game characters, particularly when some of the acting reminds us why this isn't always a good idea." [18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "CliveRobertson.110.com". Cliverobertson.110mb.com. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ "MST3Kinfo.com". MST3Kinfo.com. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ "CorbenStudios.com". CorbenStudios.com. May 21, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  4. ^ Lace Mamba will release Dark Star in December 2011 in UK. GameBoomers. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  5. ^ "Darkstar Interview www.Slightly-Deranged.com". Slightly-deranged.com. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Summary - Darkstar Prospectus" (PDF). Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Clive Robertson Bio". cliverobertson.110.mb.com. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Peter Grave on". Themoneytimes.com. March 15, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Darkstar KY3 Interview on YouTube". Youtube.com. April 1, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Official Darkstar". Darkstar.gs. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Darkstar Soundtrack Sample". Youtube.com. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Darkstar is Finally Here!". 2112.net. November 22, 2010. Retrieved December 10, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Soundtrack details at". Darkstarstore.com. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  14. ^ Lucard, Alex (November 18, 2010). "Review: Darkstar – The Interactive Movie: Captain's Box (PC)". Die Hard Game Fan. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Darkstar: The Interactive Movie". Metacritic. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b "Review summary at Metacritic". metacritic.com. January 29, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Review summary at Metacritic". metacritic.com. February 12, 2012. Retrieved December 4, 2016. 
  18. ^ Doroski, Drummond (January 21, 2011). "DARKSTAR: The Interactive Movie REVIEW". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 

External links[edit]