Iji

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Iji
Iji Logo.png
Iji logo.
Designer(s) Daniel Remar
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release September 1, 2008 (2008-09-01)
Genre(s) Platform, shooter, Metroidvania[1]
Mode(s) Single-player

Iji is a freeware 2008 video game featuring platform and shooting elements, developed by Daniel Remar using Game Maker (version 5.3a) over a period of four years. In the game, the player controls Iji Kataiser, a young woman enhanced with nanotechnology, as she navigates a research facility on modern day Earth in the wake of an invasion by the Tasen, an alien species. Awakening after an aerial bombardment, Iji finds herself enhanced with nanotechnology and, learning of the Tasen and their invasion, resolves to convince the aliens' leader to retreat from the planet, guided by her brother Dan via the complex's loudspeaker system. Iji was generally well received. Reviews praised the replay value, the player's ability to guide Iji on different moral paths, and that it was created by a single developer.

Iji was first released on September 1, 2008 (2008-09-01). A major update, version 1.7, was released in 2017 that used the Game Maker 7.0 framework for better compatibility with recent OSes (e.g. Windows 10, macOs); it also added a sizable amount of new features, including new endings, more plot, a revamped upgrade interface, a new nonlethal skill tree, overhauled graphics, faster walkspeed, changes to the hacking minigame, and more interaction tracking for Iji's actions over the course of the game.

Gameplay[edit]

Iji (centre) crouches above a Komato Annihilator and a Tasen Elite (bottom left)

Iji is described by Remar as System Shock 2 in 2D.[2] Players control the titular character, Iji, a human woman who has been enhanced with nanotechnology following the invasion of Earth by an alien species known as the Tasen.[3] Iji must navigate a research station while being guided by her brother Dan, who communicates via the station's loudspeaker system, in order to convince the aliens' leader to retreat from the planet.[4] Though the game's plot is linear, interactions with non-player characters (NPCs) change according to the player's actions, leading to one of multiple endings. The player's primary choice is between pursuing Iji's goal either as a pacifist, or by engaging in violence against the alien threat.[2]

Iji's nanotech energy field functions as a shield, and players begin the game armed with a shotgun. Seven further weapons can be collected throughout the game; including a machine gun, rocket launcher and alien technology like the Shocksplinter weapon. Eight additional weapons can be unlocked by combining the standard firearms using a combining station, depending on her Crack ability. Blue nanofields that function as experience can be collected during play, when enough are collected Iji gains a level. Each level she gains allows the player to use an upgrade station to increase one of Iji's seven skills by one level. These skills include physical traits such as strength and health, as well as abilities such as close-quarters combat and computer cracking.[5] Iji's jumping ability and armor can both be improved twice each during play if players can find their power-ups.[6]

Plot[edit]

The player controls Iji, who in opening cutscenes accompanies her little sister Mia as they are shown around a science facility by her father.[7] She notices activity in the clouds, and suddenly the sky is lit by beams of light. When the game resumes, months later,[8] Iji awakens to find that she has been modified by a team of researchers using alien nanotechnology, making her a cyborg soldier. Via a loudspeaker, her brother Dan explains that the area was struck by a space-to-ground weapon called an "Alpha Strike" wielded by aliens called "Tasen". This, and an ensuing ground invasion, killed nearly every human in the facility, including their father and sister.[9] Dan advises Iji to try to convince the Tasen "Elite" leader, known as Krotera, to leave.

On her way to him, Iji questions why the rest of the world has not responded to the attack, but Dan refuses to answer her. Later, she glimpses the outside world, and realizes the invasion is worldwide, which Dan confirms.[10] Further on, she discovers a scout team of a different alien species, the "Komato",[11] who Dan explains is an "interplanetary peacekeeping force".[12] Iji encounters Krotera, but she is forced to kill him after failing to persuade him to leave (but certain circumstances can lead to somebody else killing him instead).[13] He tells her that this was the last Tasen colony, and that they had come to Earth to escape the Komato. Dan advises Iji to continue on to a Tasen communication area nearby, in order to send a distress call to the Komato.

After Iji finds a computer connected to the Tasen communicator,[14] the perspective shifts from Iji into space outside of Earth, where a Komato fleet is gathered. Inside the control room of a spaceship is the leader of the Komato Imperial Army, General Tor; and Iosa "The Invincible", the greatest warrior of the Komato race and Tor's long-time love. Back on Earth, Dan expresses worry that the Komato forces have not yet landed, but is cut off by an explosion. Komato troops appear and begin engaging the Tasen with genocidal intent, inflicting heavy losses. Iji navigates through the chaos to the roof of the complex and meets the Komato Assassin Asha; after she defeats him, he teleports away.

Iji meets with Dan, who reveals that the Komato are planning to destroy the planet's surface in an attempt to annihilate the remaining Tasen. Dan urges Iji to destroy the Phantom Hammer—a device that will destroy the shields currently protecting Earth—in order to secure time before the Alpha Strike. Iji boards a Komato ship, destroying the Phantom Hammer and a Komato sentry sent to stop her. However, another ship deploys its own Phantom Hammer, destroying the shields. Dan is kidnapped by Asha, who has caught on to Iji's plan to see Tor and awaits her at the end of the sector. Two options are available when Iji encounters Asha and Dan, and she is either able to rescue him, or he dies. If Dan dies, then Iji suffers a breakdown, and continues to talk to a non-existent Dan for the remainder of the game. Whatever the outcome, Iji encounters the remaining Tasen forces hiding in a fortified base. Here, depending on how the player has played Iji, one of three options can occur: (1) Iosa breaks in an annihilates all the Tasen, (2) some Tasen manage to escape before the break-in, or (3) the shelter opens and allow for Iji to pass through (and therefore intercept Iosa before she can kill the Tasen). Outside the base, Iji disputes with Iosa, and eventually defeats her after a prolonged fight.

In the last sector, Iji encounters Asha, who intends to claim the bounty that was placed on her, but kills him—either for attempting to kill Dan or to protect the imaginary Dan (but if the player somehow manages to skip Asha, a later journal will reveal he committed suicide). On the roof, Iji finds the leader of this Komato army, General Tor, and argues to spare the Earth from the Alpha Strike because Iosa has already killed the last of the Tasen (or claims so if the Tasen have survived). Tor claims he has no real power, but must appease the people, even though he himself is weary of the war. Resolved to stop one another, they fight, and Iji beats Tor, gravely injuring him. Recognizing her compassion, Tor orders the Komato fleet to cancel the Alpha Strike and evacuate Earth, telling Iji that he is giving her planet a chance to survive; afterwards he commits suicide. Iji walks outside to the side of a cliff, either by herself or she meets Dan there depending on if he is alive or not, and sees the Komato ships depart. The credit sequence shows life on Earth slowly returning, in spite of the devastation.

Development[edit]

Concept artwork for the character of Iosa, from which Remar created a 3D model

Development of Iji began in 2004, after Remar learned about and began to use Game Maker.[15] Inspired by the animations of Alien 3 and Another World, he created a 3D model of the character Iji and started to build a basic platform game around it.[15] Remar has stated that the name "Iji" has no special meaning, but that the character and name is a combination of his previous characters, and that he wanted the main characters' names to be "short and easily recognizable".[15][16]

The soundtrack for Iji is credited in the game manual to Chris Geehan and Dan Byrne McCullough, with additional music from Tom Mauritzon, Captain Goodnight, and LifeForce.

As of March 21, 2011 the alpha demo 1 for Iji is available for download as part of the 'Scrap pack 2' on Daniel Remar's site.[17]

Reception[edit]

Iji has received a mostly positive response from commentators, particularly for its replay value.[18] PopMatters' L.B. Jeffries stated that the player's choice in guiding Iji to the end of the game as either a pacifist or an aggressor, along with the outcomes of those paths, sets Iji apart from other games.[2] Greg Costikyan of website Play This Thing described it as "… a nice, nostalgia-inducing game of a type you don't often see any more …", and was impressed that the game was created by a single developer using Game Maker.[19]

Anthony Burch of gaming website Destructoid was not as positive, highlighting the game's limitations in terms of abilities. Investing points in hand-to-hand combat, for instance, does not increase damage inflicted by a successful attack but instead dictates which enemy types can be physically attacked. He stated this system "makes leveling the player's individual stats feel less like you're actually improving your character and more like you're simply collecting keys to unlock doors."[5]

  • It was voted number one in the Free Indie of the Year 2008 contest by Bytejacker.[20]

Platforms[edit]

Iji is only available for Microsoft Windows operating systems dating back to Windows 98.

According to one indie game community, plans to port Iji to all known modern operating systems (which Daniel Remar himself gave permission for) have fallen through.[21]

Around 2013 the source code for the game was made available by Daniel Remar.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Miszczyk, Maciej (March 30, 2015). "Iji". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved September 13, 2016. [T]he gameplay is a blend of metroidvania and a cinematic platformer... 
  2. ^ a b c Jeffries, L.B. (October 10, 2008). "Iji". PopMatters. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ Yu, Derek (September 2, 2008). "Iji". TIGSource. Retrieved October 26, 2008. 
  4. ^ W., Tim (September 1, 2008). "Freeware Game Pick: Iji (Daniel Remar)". IndieGames. Retrieved October 26, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b Burch, Anthony (September 19, 2008). "Indie Nation #32: Iji". Destructoid. Retrieved October 26, 2008. 
  6. ^ FunnyMan (October 24, 2008). "Iji". Jay Is Games. Retrieved October 26, 2008. 
  7. ^ Iji: …Dad, Mia? Daniel Remar (June 1, 2010). Iji. PC. Daniel Remar. 
  8. ^ Doc: I don't think we've got another week… we've wasted months enough. Daniel Remar (June 1, 2010). Iji. PC. Daniel Remar. 
  9. ^ Dan: All of a sudden, an alien spaceship bombarded the area … with a space-to-ground weapon called an Alpha Strike… then they came down and killed nearly everyone… Daniel Remar (June 1, 2010). Iji. PC. Daniel Remar. 
  10. ^ Dan: The Tasen commanded an entire armada, and they Alpha Struck the whole planet. Daniel Remar (June 1, 2010). Iji. PC. Daniel Remar. 
  11. ^ Sector 3 Komato text log: Me and my men were sent as a scout team to this planet… Daniel Remar (June 1, 2010). Iji. PC. Daniel Remar. 
  12. ^ Dan: … the Komato is an interplanetary peacekeeping force who specialize in dealing with the Tasen. Daniel Remar (June 1, 2010). Iji. PC. Daniel Remar. 
  13. ^ Iji: I'm just here to tell you that you should leave this planet! / Krotera: Don't expect me to waste my time with some worthless human, when the future of the Tasen race is at stake! / Iji: This is the Earth, we live here, and you just come here and try to kill us all! …just leave! / Krotera: You know NOTHING of the Tasen, and you know NOTHING of the damned Komato. Daniel Remar (June 1, 2010). Iji. PC. Daniel Remar. 
  14. ^ Dan: Finally, there's the Tasen computer connected to the communicator. Crack it, and I'll be able to access it from here and send the distress call to the Komato. Daniel Remar (June 1, 2010). Iji. PC. Daniel Remar. 
  15. ^ a b c "Daniel Remar, developer of Castle of Elite". Planet Freeplay. 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Daniel Remar Interview - Iji". DevMag. 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  17. ^ Remar, Daniel. "Scrap pack 2". Retrieved 21 March 2011. 
  18. ^ Weir, Gregory (September 25, 2008). "'The Interactive Palette' - Three Kinds of Replay". Game Set Watch. Retrieved December 17, 2008. 
  19. ^ Costikyan, Greg (September 24, 2008). "Iji - Polished Platform Shooter". Play This Thing. Retrieved November 24, 2008. 
  20. ^ "Free Indie of the Year 2008". December 22, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Daniel Remar Grants Permission - Iji Can Be Ported to Any OS". Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  22. ^ resources on remar.se "remarsource.zip"

External links[edit]