Obsidian Review

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Fairygdmther
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Obsidian Review

Postby Fairygdmther » Thu Jan 15, 2004 2:34 pm

OBSIDIAN REVIEW
By Fairygdmther


There are few adventure games that are truly incomparable. Obsidian is just such a game. This game cannot have been marketed effectively, since it lost money for Rocket Science Games, and the company went out of business afterwards. It is a shame that such a phenomenal game wasn’t a best-seller. Word of mouth has kept this game in the must-have list of every serious adventure gamer, though it is very hard to come by at a reasonable price. It is considered to be a “puzzle game” as a sub-genre of the adventure type, because the story line is minimal. While I generally prefer a game with a good story, this game doesn’t need it, the format is so striking and encompassing, I was captured by the unique premise, and held in its thrall until I’d accomplished all its goals.

In Obsidian you take on the role of Lilah Kerlin. Together with her husband, Max, Lilah heads the Ceres Project, a huge orbital satellite that combines advanced AI (Artificial Intelligence) with nanotechnology to clean up the Earth’s pollution and manage the healing of the environment. (Interestingly, Lilah and Max may be adventure gaming’s first interracial couple. In a bit of progressive thinking, this fact is presented early in the game but never once commented upon.) In a mild twist on a classic science fiction theme, Ceres gains self-awareness and begins to wonder about some very basic questions concerning the nature and purpose of its existence, and whether or not Humanity might be Earth’s “ultimate pollutant.” In an effort to come to grips with its burgeoning awareness, Ceres abducts one of its Creators (Max) to instruct it on the natures of existence, art, life, beauty, the human race and morality. Lilah runs off to rescue her husband and is likewise drawn down the rabbit hole into the Wonderland that was created by the computer brain of this enfant terrible.

Imagine, if you can, a world shaped like a cube, but you are inside of it, not on the surface. Gravity doesn’t rule here as you must traverse all six inner sides of this strange domain. You must battle bureaucratic red tape and an office maze, decode odd filing systems and rearrange teetering rocks, stem the tides and search for oil, capture lightning and tame the whirlwind, program a computer chip and connect the stars in the sky. Imaginative puzzles are the norm, creative design at its ultimate. I won’t describe the puzzles any further here, other than to say that they are very difficult and fun, because they are best left to be personally experienced. And here and there you’ll find a bit of quirky humor thrown in for added enjoyment.

As Myst is a classic, Obsidian, too, is a classic in its own right, and must be experienced to understand what it means to be an adventure gamer. Obsidian’s eclectic environment is one you’ll never forget, and you are almost certain to savor the time spent devouring this treat. For all its creativity, it is a short game, but well worth the effort to complete.

Score – 9.9/10 – as close to perfection as you’re likely to see.

Released in 1996, Obsidian was designed to be played on Win95. It can be played on WinXP with some tweaking of your system. See WinXP Helps for how to accomplish this.


Thanks go to Bacardi Jim and Mystic Rainbow for expert guidance and editorial skills.
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Tanuvein
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Postby Tanuvein » Thu Jan 15, 2004 2:42 pm

Kinda short for a review, I normally prefer more elaboration and detail (that's not meant to be offensive). However, I need to check out that WinXP help thing. Mine doesn't read Quicktime. I've been too busy playing Geneforge (a garage game RPG that is hideously fun) to care.
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Fairygdmther
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Postby Fairygdmther » Thu Jan 15, 2004 3:40 pm

It was a short review! I did that because 1, it is an old game, and 2, I was afraid if I got into what it was all about, I would wind up telling the whole thing and spoiling it. It is too good a game to spoil the pleasure that one will find in this unique game. I loved it, one of my top 3, and I'm sure it will always be there. I want to go back and replay it, but not just yet. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Postby Ghostlady » Thu Jan 15, 2004 9:59 pm

After that review, I really want to play Obsidian. Sure wish I could find one under $30.

BTW, Put your review up in the Conservatory Fairygdmther. :cheers:
Fairygdmther
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Postby Fairygdmther » Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:36 pm

I got mine for $30 from someone trading it off. eBay ranges from $50-80, but I wouldn't pay that much for it used. Whoever still has rights for this game should rerelease it. They would make big bucks on it even if they sold it for $10-15. I know I'll never let my copy go, because it is one I'll definitely replay.

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Bacardi Jim
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Postby Bacardi Jim » Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:42 pm

I got lucky and paid $18 for it in an auction that ended in the middle of the night. Resold it for $45. :mrgreen:
Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior... if human beings don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.
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Postby Fairygdmther » Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:44 am

Remind me never to buy from you on eBay! Caveat Emptor!

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Bacardi Jim
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Postby Bacardi Jim » Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:53 am

We make about $150 a year profit on our eBay sales/purchases. That pretty much pays for the games we buy at Wal-Mart or EB. It's essentially a self-supporting habit. It just so happens that I am one shrewd son-of-a-gun eBay bidder and I write such wonderful listings when we resell games that we always end up getting more than we paid for them. :vampire:
Last edited by Bacardi Jim on Fri Jan 16, 2004 8:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior... if human beings don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.
Fairygdmther
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Postby Fairygdmther » Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:56 am

Bacardi Jim wrote:It just so happens that I am one shrewd son-of-a-gun eBay bidder and I write such wonderful listings when we resell games that we always end up getting more than we paid for them. :vampire:


Somehow, I have no trouble believing that. :mrgreen:

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