Orion Conspiracy, The Download (1995 Adventure Game)

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The Orion Conspiracy is a futuristic adventure game set in the year 2160, when space travel is a common thing. The player controls the Irish man Devlin McCormack as he arrives at the deep space station Cerberus following the death of his son Danny. Initially he only intends to stay for a short time, but when it is discovered he was murdered, he decides to stay and investigate the circumstances of the death. The game starts immediately after McCormack's arrival on the ship and the funeral. As the story progresses he has deal with his son's homosexuality, but there is also another major plotline that involves the Kobayashi Corporation, a secret research project, a black hole, an aliens that are trained to be slaves, which leads to an invasion. He also has his own skeletons however, shell-shocked from a war and accused of having driven his wife to suicide.

Gameplay is typical for graphical adventures of that time, with a third-person view and a point-and-click interface. When browsing an environment the cursor can be moved over objects. Objects that can be used are highlighted. After clicking them, a number of actions becomes available through icons at the bottom of the screen, such as examining them, or picking them up. There are conversation trees when talking to other characters and both subtitles and voiced speech are supported. The game contains a large amount of profanity, with words that are generally censored or avoided in other games.

Divide by Zero's third adventure release is an uneven space opera that has interesting puzzles and plot-- marred by a huge amount of gratuitous violence and prafanity that may turn many players off.

Played in the third person through an extremely linear path, Orion's plot revolves around your character's investigation of the death of his son at a research station in deep space. Other, more farfetched (or derivative) plot elements come into play later in the game. Much of the backstory is provided in a nifty little graphic novel packaged with the game, entitled "Devlin's Story". Other information, as well as comprehensive installation notes, are included in a well-presented game manual. Even with these aids, however, it was difficult to free up enough low DOS memory to run the game with sound card support. Orion does not identify how much free memory it requires, so there may be some trial and error in fine-tuning the game for best operation. To allow the game to run in less conventional memory, several command-line switches are suggested, which apparently display the screens at a slightly-lower resolution and offer automatic (but slow) scrolling at the screen edges.

The point-and-click user interface performs satisfactorily, with hotspots identified on the screen and possible object interactions displayed with the right mouse button. This "giveaway" of information on how you can act upon objects may make the game puzzles rather predictable and easy. On the other hand, you may find yourself spending the majority of gameplay merely moving your character from one station destination to another - often a very time-consuming process since no "zip" mode or shortcuts have been provided and access points seem arbitrarily restricted from each other. We'll suspend our disbelief about the amount of gravity on a 10-acre asteroid.

Despite some good puzzles, the game is chock-full of completely-gratuitous profanity. If you're offended by that or simply don't see it as adding anything to the atmosphere of an adventure game, then you might want to avoid The Orion Conspiracy altogether. There are also a few mildly-graphic scenes of animated violence, which, together with the language, seriously hampers what enjoyment you can get out of it. Beware!

How to run this game on modern Windows PC?

This game has been set up to work on modern Windows (10/8/7/Vista/XP 64/32-bit) computers without problems. Please choose Download - Easy Setup (139 MB).


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