Interphase (Second Review)

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 ( Profiled Reviewer

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

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.

Category list.

Alphabetical list.