Legend is one of those companies that you can trust. Almost every one of their text/graphic adventure games is guaranteed to give you your money's worth. They're known for producing some of the funniest games ever made like Eric the Unready and adapting fantasy novels, such as Death Gate, into their formula and adventure sensibility. And Mission Critical is no different (except for the fact that it's a very serious game). And truth be told, it's just about the best game this company has ever created.
Spanning over 3 CDs, Mission Critical is filled with all kinds of good things. For one, the sci-fi storyline is great. It keeps you glued to your seat for the entire duration of the game. And the story is told through the well-acted FMV sequences and gorgeous visuals. The pre-rendered backdrops you interact with are amazingly detailed and are all in high resolution SVGA. In fact, they're so detailed that it allows you to immerse yourself quite easily into your surroundings. Sometimes you actually feel like you're walking down the Lexington's hallways and corridors. Of course, this is also because of the great animation. When you click to walk forward, most of the time the screen will actually scroll forward as if you were really there. I've never seen anything like this in a Legend game before. Most of the time you just clicked the screen for whichever direction you wanted to go and another screen would pop up. Mission Critical uses actual walking animation and it just adds to the sheer beauty of the game.
Just like every game Legend produces, the interface is very attentive and efficient. You basically point to an item you wish to interact with and it pops up various options pertaining to what you can do with that object. Locating things you can interact with is pretty easy because of the "hot-spot" interface. This is a good thing because some of the backgrounds are extremely detailed and you'd have to have the eyes of a hawk to find everything you need. Interacting with your inventory items is also a breeze thanks to the item inventory list at the bottom of the screen. You just click and drag items you wish to combine and voila!
There's no real problems holding Mission Critical back from being the wonderful game it is. The challenge is very balanced, the story and visuals are superb and the interface is fantastic. Anyone even remotely interested in science fiction or just a great graphic adventure game would be missing out if they didn't give this game a try.
Graphics: Fantastic is the only way to describe the graphics. You can actually immerse yourself with the game because the graphics are so detailed and good-looking. The FMV is equally impressive.
Sound: The atmospheric sounds and music really fit the mood.
Enjoyment: This is just a great game and it's tons of fun to go through. The story is superb, the graphics are beautiful and the puzzles are well balanced.
Replay Value: Once you make your way through Mission Critical, there's not much reason to go back into the Lexington.
First-person graphic adventure. It is 2134, and the human race has been at war for 50 years since the Alliance declared independence from the stifling rule of the UN and its anti-technology policies. The Alliance is losing the war to the UN's greater numbers, but recently, Alliance scientists discovered an alien artifact on the planet Persephone.
You are onboard the USS Lexington on its top-secret mission to investigate the artifact, and hopefully change the course of the war to the Alliance's favor. But the UN's spies are everywhere, and before the introductory movie is over, the Lexington has been ambushed and Captain Dayna has been forced to sacrifice almost the entire crew of the Lexington to destroy the attacking cruiser Dharma, leaving only you behind, unconscious.
When you awaken, you discover yourself alone on a damaged ship. You'll have to patch the holes, prevent reactor overload, and bring the ship's computer back on-line before you can attempt to successfully complete the Lexington's original mission.
Until the Lexington's condition is stabilized, there's a real-time clock ticking away (you get several hours). There are lots of inventory-based puzzles to be solved. You'll also have to defend the Lexington from UN attacks in a simple 3D real-time strategy game (which has an adjustable difficulty level if you have trouble).
Eventually, you'll be able to land on Persephone, investigate the artifact, and use its power to save mankind.
Mission Critical is an engrossing game that may be the best original hard sci-fi game ever created. As lone survivor of the ship's crew sent to find alien technology to avert the course of war, you must survive the ship's malfunctions and complete the mission. Puzzles are easier than normal, perhaps due to vastly simplified interface, but the excellent and complex plot more than makes up for it. There is also a surprisingly well-designed strategy game-within-a-game and great performance by Michael Dorn (Worf in Star Trek: TNG).
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