Title Interphase (Second Review) Game Type 3D Combat Sim Players 1 Compatibility All Amigas (With WHDLoad Patch) Company Imageworks/Mirrorsoft HD Installable Yes (With Patch) Submission Seppo Typpö (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review Imagine a world without movies, theatre or music - a world where you don't need games to entertain you. Still, in this world you experience the wildest adventure -it is a world where all your dreams come true. Well, not actually yours but a bunch of special people called the Dreamers, who can project their wildest dreams to your mind and allow you to experience all the fantasies they can imagine (and they can imagine a lot). This is the world of Interphase, a curious mix of William Gibson novel and virtual flight sim from Imageworks. In the game the player takes the role of Chad, one of the most promising dreamers who stumbles into a horrible discovery - the dreams contain dangerous subliminal messages capable of destroying the mind of the receiver. Those messages were planted by the evil Dreamtrack Corporation, and it is up to Chad and his girlfriend to destroy their plan. "Girlfriend?" you ask. Yup, the player is assisted by a computer controlled character called Kaf-E, who is the one actually infiltrating the Dreamtrack building. The player's job is to enter the building's security system through a virtual connection - eliminating the hazards and other problems before Kaf-E can proceed. This is easier said than done since the virtual world has its own security systems to defend against hostile intruders, so the player has to fight against these and in the meantime provide support for his physical companion. The mission on each level is straightforward - Kaf-E needs to reach the lift which takes her to the next level and closer to the heart of Dreamtrack headquarters. From the player's point of view, the level consists of the virtual world (represented in 3D) and the map (where all the planning and navigation is done and where the player can access the system information database). Mouse controls on both sections are very easy to learn, the keyboard is needed only when typing the savegame name or when using the keyboard shortcuts to control various systems in the virtual world. The games graphics and sound are more than adequate - the 3D engine (which was no doubt state-of-the-art stuff back in the 1990s) now looks a bit simple and the soundtrack is better described as functional. Still the game world manages to captivate - some of the objects are nicely animated and deliberately odd (like the unicycling frogs) and the illusion of being there is accomplished by the speed things move - there's hardly any slowdown and the player is able to zip around the world and dogfight with ease. So is it just about flying around and shooting things? In the 3D virtual world very much so - it plays like a simplified flight simulator. The movement is limited so things like loops are out of the question, but it does not prevent enjoyable dogfights. The arsenal in the player's possession consists of cannons and missiles - both come in unlimited supplies. There is also a tractor device (helpful to transfer cargo) and a docking device (some of the objects in the virtual world need to be entered and influenced from within). The player is also able to receive messages from Kaf-E, and these messages sometimes contain useful information. There are also factories which allow the player to produce objects which he needs to complete the level (and maybe has accidentally destroyed during dogfights). As mentioned earlier in this review, while the player has to deactivate various hazards in virtual world, he (or she) also has to guide Kaf-E around more ordinary defence systems in the real world, like security droids and electrified floors. Careful planning how to tackle these is important - sometimes the player can even use them to clear the route for Kaf-E. The best approach is to use the map screen and carefully plan your moves - and then execute them with extreme prejudice. Flying around with your guns blazing is not exactly useful - not only will you risk destroying something that you might need later but you also lose the tactical edge you'll have over the Dreamtrack Corp's security system if you shoot before you think. There are several ways to end the game. The worst ones are being killed in the virtual world or failing to protect Kaf-E and allowing her to be killed. There are 12 floors in the Dreamtrack building which have to be completed twice - the player has to guide Kaf-E out from the building too. Fortunately there is a handy save game option which allows players to progress level by level. The trick is that it is only possible to save the game between levels, not in the middle, which does make things a bit more challenging - if you mess things up and have to restart from a saved game you have to play the whole level again. So how does it all work? Very well actually - there is a training level which allows the player to get accustomed to the controls and gameplay, and the helpful manual offers valuable information as well as hard data which helps the player to locate the critical components in the virtual world. The levels are generally well designed and offer a long-lasting challenge even to experienced players. This game is definitely recommmended to all but pure action addicts - the puzzles the game offers require quite a lot of lateral thinking which might bore those looking for instant fun. With its unique mix of 3D action, puzzlesolving and intriguing plot, Interphase creates an experience which would probably make a wonderful Science Fiction novel or movie - which is quite refreshing since it is usually the other way around.