"Stay alone, stay alive."
As a member of a rescue team to Mars, you have just crashed landed on the Red Planet and as you head for your assigned airlock, these last words from the previous mission ring in your head! TalonSoft’s recent release of Martian Gothic: Unification puts the gamer into a world full of horror and suspense.
Set in the year 2019, you are one of three members of a team sent to Mars to find out the fate of the previous mission that had set up Vita Base to see if life really did exist on our neighbor in space. The last transmission from Vita base was indeed confusing "…have opened Pandora’s Box…all the evils of old Mars have flown out…if you do send a manned mission, warn the crew…Stay Alone, Stay Alive!"
On your way in to the Red Planet your space ship has problems (Hehehe big surprise here huh?) and you crash land on Mars, with each of the three members of your mission assigned a different airlock to enter Vita Base. And of course the mantra "Stay Alone, Stay Alive" is playing in your subconscious mind.
Welcome to Martian Gothic: Unification. After a lively introduction (well worth the effort to view!) you find yourself in front of an airlock that leads into Vita Base. Your assignment is to stay away from the other members of the team and find out what happened to Vita base. Sounds simple huh? There are a few impediments to a smooth mission that you encounter, namely – the remains of the former Vita Base crew in a variety of undead forms but all bent on your destruction!
A third person view is used throughout the game, which gets cumbersome at times (line of sight can get messed up easily) but overall is playable. The graphics are good, the sound is terrific and the suspense is definitely there! You get to control all three members of this mission, but must adhere to the prime directive of the mission "Stay Alone, Stay Alive." The atmosphere is definitely conducive to the "horror" element of the game and I was known to physically jump from time to time as an undead baddie jumped out unexpectedly at my characters.
Mysteries abound and are all there for you to solve as you strive to find out just what happened to Vita Base and how to get yourselves back to Earth in one piece with that information. The sounds are so good that you will learn the difference between the sound of a critter that you can handle and one that you should beat feet away from as quickly as possible. Similar to other exploration and puzzle type games, you will find a variety of items along the way that will help you in your quest. The cursor is your friend here, as it will change shape to indicate things worth a closer look or something that you can pick up and use later, hopefully. Weapons and ammunition are only part of what you will find as you roam the ruins of Vita Base.
There is a base wide computer system that will become your closest friend. It contains a ton of data that will help you in your quest for information. It is also the ONLY way that you can save your game. Nope, there is NOT a function key that you can push just before entering a new area to allow you to save the game. You must seek out the next computer terminal in order to save and leave or progress, safe in knowing that if the worst happens you can restart at the save point.
The interface produced the most problems for me in this game. It was definitely designed with a good game pad type controller in mind, which I got rid of several computer upgrades ago, sadly. In fact, the keyboard controls almost had the feel of an after thought to it and NO option for mouse control, which has become the default standard for computer based games of all types. It’s very difficult to control your character with the keyboard control, especially in combat situations. But persistence pays off here and you will become more proficient at maneuvering through the corridors of Vita Base while running from the critter that, if he catches you will end your life! The game plays like it would have been better put on the Playstation or one of the cartridge systems out there, that have the game pad controllers that Martian Gothic: Unification seems to want you to use.
It is this difficult computer interface that ends up pushing the rating for this game down to 3 GiN Gems. But if you have a game pad and enjoy this type of game, then Martian Gothic: Unification could be a welcome addition to your gaming arsenal.