This review originally appeared on Reviewcenter.com in 1999.
Your uncle has apparently committed suicide, leaving you a mine on Luna Crysta, which is “booming” like a California town in the late 1800s. You travel to Luna Crysta to do something with your new mine. After you start meeting people, from the suspicious manner in which everyone acts, you start wondering about Uncle Jake’s “suicide.”
You meet a beautiful woman, (wow, that’s a plot twist we didn’t suspect, did we?) a sinister man, an oily official, a belligerent cop and an oh-so-accommodating bartenter. Your girlfriend whines on the phone, and your sister talks like she wants you dead. And that’s all in the first couple of hours! You do manage to meet two friendly faces, an older female miner, and a young Cephid child, both of who have heard all about you from your uncle, and seem willing to help you.
You have very little money to start, and you might be thinking of selling out. A trip to the casino shows you that beautiful woman is a blackjack dealer, who is welling to cheat for you, (at least until her boss shows up). This gives you a little money to start building up a “kit.”
All the while, people are out to get you. The oily official says he’s sorry out one side of his face, and suggests you pay for the damage uncle Jake’s death caused. The belligerent cop can’t wait for you to misstep, so he can “get” you. The sinister man reveals your darling sister hired him to get your claim — and the words “one way or another” run through your mind while he’s talking. The oh-so-accommodating bartender offers you a price that you “just can’t refuse” on any ore or crystals you find. And the beautiful woman? She’s been hired by the boss to get close to you and watch you.
Boy, do you ever need a friend, huh? Do you feel like you’re in the middle of an afternoon soap? Well, just wait until the game really gets started.
Dark Side of the Moon is mostly a puzzle solver, although there is plenty of opportunity to get killed along the way, so trust me kiddies, save, and save often! This is not a game you want to space out and forget, even if you think you’re safe because no monsters have pounced on you yet.
There are several mysteries to solve, (like starting with what REALLY happened to your uncle,) and various puzzles to solve. Very early on, the sinister man gets blown away, and of course, they think that you did it, so you become a fugitive, which makes for many opportunities for you to get blown to smithereens. That is cool too, if you get killed, you see your atoms floating in the cosmos, you state that while you are dead, you can’t stay that way, you have places to go, and people to see; and the big programmer in the sky-gives you another chance! How many games ya played that returns you close to where you were zapped-and doesn’t even penalize you?
Now for the bad points. There are 6 CD’s and you will spend a LOT of time swapping them. I would have liked it if they could have grouped some stuff you had to do more on the same CD. When you are talking to someone, as good as the graphics are, the action gets somewhat jerky, and I think the jerkiness shows up even more because the graphics are so good. If you don’t like “tongue-in-cheek” acting, you might be tempted to say that the acting is poor. I prefer, the sinister man is very sinister, the oily official ‘drips’, etc.
The movement and conversation are somewhat controlled. About half of the conversation on your side goes down without your control, when you are offered a choice of comments to make, I noticed that it didn’t seem to matter what you asked first, you will have to check every comment to exit this screen. As far as the movement, when you click the mouse to move, and you stop; look around, cause you only stop when there is an intersection, or when there is something next to you to look at. The reason I mentioned this as a bad point-this opinion will vary from player to player. Some people won’t care, some people that are used to having more free rein in the games they have played might feel this is confining.
The big bad point however — the game tends to lock up. When I first started to play, I got stuck in the same spot a half a dozen times; and I mean locks-up-need-to-hard-boot-your-computer lock-up. I finally had to uninstall, re-install, and start over so I could get past that one screen. I did some research on the web, looking to see if there might be a patch, and I did find out that it wasn’t my system. Enough other people mentioned it that it has to be a universal problem. I also noticed that I couldn’t play for too long, maybe a half an hour to 45 minutes at a time, and then Norton started to interrupt with messages saying that my memory load or CPU load was too high. I had to quit the game. My CPU usage was 97 percent and my memory load was 95 percent. I might mention at this point that I have an 8 MB video card, and a 450 P2 with 128 MB of RAM.
OK, so now you’re going to ask why bother since there were so many bad points, and I’m going to tell you why. Some of the bad points won’t be considered bad by everyone. As far as the lock-up glitches, I’m hopeful that SouthPeak, after working on the game for 2 years, will have a fix for these bugs soon. You don’t put as much work into a project as was obviously put into this one, without being willing to clean up those stupid bugs that crop up after production, though some beta testing might have helped.
I just would not let a few lock-ups keep me from getting this game.
The graphics are gorgeous, the sound is great and the story is quite good. If you like RPGs, or science fiction, or you just want to check out something different, give this game a try. I think you’ll be very pleased.
User friendly: [rating:5/5]
Ratings were determined in 1999
Ye Olde System Requirements
- Pentium 166 MHz
- 32 MB RAM
- 8x or faster CD-ROM
- 60MB hard drive space
- 2MB SVGA graphics for 640×480 resolution
- PCI or AGP video card with 2MB RAM strongly recommended