Universe (1994 video game)
- For the 1983 game, see Universe (1983 video game)
Universe is a graphic adventure game released and published in 1994 by Core Design as their second (after Curse of Enchantia) and last effort in the genre. The game is a space opera that tells the story of Boris, a young man who has been summoned from modern Earth to another universe, where he is destined to become its long forecast savior from evil.
The player takes role of a 16-year-old Boris Verne, who is taken to a parallel universe from the present time, when playing around with his eccentric uncle George's newest invention, which he called the Virtual Dimension Inducer. Boris finds himself in an alternate dimension called Pararela, being at the centre of a prophecy that says that he is the Saviour that will end the reign of the mad tyrant King Emperor Neiamises of the Mekelien Empire, who possesses god-like powers and is bent on conquest of the whole galaxy. Throughout the game Boris encounters allies and enemies on a variety of worlds, installations and starships on his quest to bring peace to the universe.
Universe began as a direct sequel for Core Design's successful 1992 comic fantasy adventure game Curse of Enchantia, which would continue the adventures of the young teenager Brad after his victory over the evil queen of Enchantia and his return home, introducing a new witch to overcome. This game was planned but never released, in part because of Robert Toone's departure from the company.
The new game "has grown up so much during the development that it has simply became a follow up," incorporating elements of a film script written by Rolf Mohr several years earlier while he was working with the games Workshop. This spiritual successor game ultimately became known as simply Universe (its working title has been Curse of Enchantia II), using a completely rewritten game engine and a similar user interface, but with inclusion of in-game text and dialogue. Universe premise is also similar to that of Curse of Enchantia, featuring a young man (the protagonist's name was changed and he became somewhat older, but like Brad, Boris also has a sister named Jenny) who is transported to another world and has to rid it of an evil overlord, but the game is more serious in its tone.
Responding to some of the criticism directed at Curse of Enchantia, Core Design described Universe as being "a lot" more logical and less linear than their first adventure game. They also described the text-based system as an improvement over the use of only icons, the benefits being that it allows conversations between characters and simply "it works". They also acknowledged that Curse of Enchantia had "suffered considerably" due to inclusion of action sequences, something that "adventure gamers don't want in their games," so the ones in Universe were made "short and simple" enough. Furthermore, an improved engine allowed the game to load faster and fit on fewer floppy disks.
The game was notable for its then-unique ability to display 256 colors at once on a standard Amiga 500, instead of just 32, due to its innovative system SPAC (Super Pre-Adjusted Colour). Another feature never seen before on the Amiga was its dynamic music system similar to LucasArts' iMUSE. The game was at first supposed to feature a supporting character, following Boris through the game, but this had to be abandoned because the Amiga lacked enough memory to handle two scaled sprites of the characters at the same time. The animations of the sprite of Boris was rotoscoped; the character is actually a digitized version of Rolf Mohr.
Universe was the second and last point-and-click adventure developed by Core Design, who then instead concentrated on 3D games for the PC and fifth-generation consoles, including what would become Tomb Raider.
- Pcmanía 8, page 48. (Spanish)
- "First impressions", CU Amiga (January 1994), pages 70-71.
- Cam Winstanley, "The shape of the things to come: Universe", Amiga Power 34 (February 1994), pages 16-17.
- Amiga CD32 Gamer (September 1994), page 11.
- Joystick 39 (June 1993), page 96. (French)
- Dave Cusick, "Universe". Amiga Computing 78, October 1994
- "Across the Universe", Amiga Format 55 (January 1994).
- Amiga Computing 74 (August 1994), pages 142-143.
- The One 64 (January 1994), page 37.