With a lot of gloss and little substance, Microcosm is definitely an example of the worst of arcade gaming. Once the contrived and overused idea behind the game has been digested and actual game play has erupted on the screen, you realize very quickly that you're in for a long and boring ride unless something changes quickly. Unfortunately, it doesn't and you're on the trip of a lifeline, not lifetime. The best way to get to the end of this game is to simply hit the reboot button on the computer and move on to more fertile ground.
The plot, which is obviously influenced by the venerable writer and scientist Isaac Asimov's classic science fiction tale (book and movie) of micro-miniaturization, Fantastic Voyage, is stale and the only difference is the end result if the offending microscopic invader isn't destroyed before reaching the victim's brain. In the former case, failure meant death to the patient and in this iteration, failure means a successful but farfetched mind-control scenario in which the bad guys take possession of the rival corporation's big boss's brain with the half-cooked idea they will ostensibly be able to manipulate him in puppet fashion to carry out their bidding. To be good science fiction, a story must, at the very least, have some plausibility. The game plot notwithstanding, it seems mindless to think that if the people responsible for injecting the victim with these deadly microbes could get close enough to him to effect this scheme in the first place, why didn't they just eliminate him and get rid of the problem directly? Or, on the other side of the corporate rivalry, even if the operation to save their leader fails, the plot by the other corporation has obviously been compromised and can be defeated by the simple expedient of removing the man from his position of power.
All of that might be ignored to some extent if the game possessed any substantial redeeming qualities. This is an arcade style shooter, plain and simple. Not being able to control your vehicle in an arcade sequence leaves the player precious little to do other than shoot, shoot and shoot some more. The only decision left (other than the one to turn the abysmal thing off) is when to pull the trigger and which on-screen blobs to shoot at since the "enemy" consists of detritus and living microbes found in the body's blood stream. The manual (?) doesn't even give you a clue about which ones are good or bad. The offshoot of this is simply the trial and error method with error resulting in a restart so you can shoot even more. But the biggest and most blatant usurpation of user control is the inability to control your "vehicle" -- it is completely computer controlled and obviously takes a scenic route to artificially increase game length. The interface is seamless (not much to do anyway) and the graphics, though pretty, wear thin quickly. Microcosm is a perfect example of what can go wrong in an arcade game.
Graphics: Well done but very repetitive (the bane of the arcade shooter). A reminder that beauty is, as the cliché goes, often only skindeep.
Sound: Excellent sound track by Rick Wakeman.
Enjoyment: In this case, the sum of all the good parts (good music, good graphics) can't overcome the overwhelmingly deficient bad parts (plot, game play, appeal, interest). The best aspect of the game is, without doubt, Rick Wakeman's soundtrack and the smooth on-screen action. Other than those features, Microcosm comes across as boring, repetitive and almost as mindless as the victim will be if the operation fails. Minimal control, a learning (more memory) curve based entirely on what blobs to shoot and which to leave alone, and lack of plausibility or even meaningful results all add up to an empty gaming experience.
Replay Value: Boring. Tedious. In-game repetition should give the player all the replay he could possibly desire.
In the year 2051, two mega corporations battle it out for supremacy over an overcrowded, overpolluted planet. CyberTech Industries, the dominant company on the planet, is being challenged by Axiom, who blames the former for their president's death. To gain revenge, they secretly inject CyberTech's president, Anton Korsby, with a virus that threatens to take over his body, and ultimately destroy himself and CyberTech. Your mission is to enter Korsby's body, destroy the virus, and defeat the organism that controls his brain.
Microcosm is a 3D action shooter, similar to Descent, that takes place entirely within the human body. The concept was inspired by the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage. The player pilots his way through various parts of the anatomy, blasting virii and enemy ships, while gaining power-ups and faster, stronger craft. The goal of the game is to eventually reach the brain to stop Grey M, the entity that controls Korsby's body.
Microcosm makes heavy use of full-motion video and features high-resolution fractal graphics (to simulate the walls of veins and arteries), digital music and sound effects.
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