Psygnosis are not largely regarded for their efforts in the adventure game market. Aside from the excellent Hired Guns (DMA Design) and the rather linear Innocent Until Caught, they've produced little of interest for lovers of this genre. Now, with the help of Morbid Visions, Psygnosis are re-entering the RPG market with the highly stylised Perihelion.
As the name suggests, Perihelion is a solar-
The principle relic, as a reminder of that era, is a ruined metropolis named MidLight. Our tale begins on this strange futuristic world of Perihelion, where the society is constructed of mutants and surgical and genetically enhanced groups of humanoids.
One such character is Finian, a Bionocron, and student of psionics. It's during his pilgrimage to the Psionic Training Institute that the plot unfolds.
As part of his mention separation of mind and body, he must approach the school through the desert. After a hazardous passage, Finian finds himself in his simple room enduring a preparatory state of meditation before he faces the time of the Mannis.
As he meditates deeper, putting aside the physical pain he has faced through the desert, Finian has a vision. He is out in the desert again, only this time he's not alone.
Finian feels a force, an entity so powerful it totally engulfs his soul. He can only gaze in horror as this great evil moves about him, eventually yanking him high into the air.
Suddenly, the entity relinquishes its grip on and he spirals towards the yellow sand below him. As the dusty void immerses him, he hears a voice, a foreboding, malevolent boom that tells him that the time has come.
The story is relayed back to the head of the institute, who having called a meeting of the Council, informs them that he senses danger, and that their leader Rex Helion must know of these events.
As a response to Finian's prophecy, Rex Helion orders that Project Awakening must be initiated, the premise of which is to safeguard against this unborn evil, thus ensuring the future of Perihelion.
So, there they stood. Six unborn souls ready to do battle with a malignant force that has itself yet to be born. To Rex Helion, Emperor of Perihelion it sounded pure folly, but how many times have the psionics been right before?
Many of the characters in the game have undergone cybernetic surgery. The term cybernetic is derived from the Greek kubernan, "to steer". It's the science concerned with how systems organise, regulate, and reproduce themselves, and also how they evolve and learn.
In the laboratory, inanimate objects are created that behave like living systems. Applications range from the creation of electronic artificial limbs to the running of a fully automated factory where decision-
Cybernetics was founded and named in 1947 by US mathematician Norbert Wiener, originally the study of control systems using feedback to produce automatic processes. The idea of cybernetics became that popular that TV series were spawned, the most popular being that irrepressible man in the red tracksuit Steve Austin, none other than the Six Million Dollar Man.
Through the eighties ideas were expanded, and with special effects technology vastly improved, films like James Cameron's Terminator were born.
Both the introduction and in-game music have obviously been given some thought. How many times in the software world has a game had a graphical style that didn't quite match the feel of the music? Countless.
But, not so in Perihelion. The curious graphical images complement perfectly the whistle of wind rushing through a building and the deep nasal reverb of the synthesizer.70%
The style of Perihelion lends itself to a very traditional sci-fi feel. Many of the themes of cyberpunk societies with neural networking and genetically manufactured humanoids are central to the core of the title. These images have been very well implemented, especially the head-shots of the six genetic warriors you control during play.
The intro sequence too has been well handled. It blends moody futuristic city landscapes with some excellent snippets of animation, and works to great effect. Though play is a montage of styles, it's comprised mainly of 3D first person perspective. This again, is highly stylised, and reminded me f a downtown Mega City 1 from Judge Dredd.
It's only let down is the repetition of locations. As you wander around the deserted ruins of cities, turning one corner or looking at a building entrance soon leaves you feeling as though you've inherited some of the aforementioned psionic powers of precognition.
Still, on the whole Perihelion looks the part. One can tell that some trouble has gone into the design, arting and feel of every screen that the user interacts with.
To the designers credit, much of the effort and polish that have gone into this aspect rubs off on the user's enthusiasm and make it just a touch more pleasant to use.68%
Perihelion is an extremely interesting departure from the normal RPG style Dungeons & Dragons title. While it's still largely a first-
For instance, many titles of this genre have a very similar style for representing spells and spell
In Perihelion the designers have opted for a similar technique as Dungeon Master, with the acolyte in question having to construct the spell from runic symbols. The computer network that your mutated characters can log on to and access, is also a nice extension of concurrent themes.
Not only does it feel right that your characters should have the technological insight to be able to perform such a task, but it's also relevant to the completion of the story.
The only aspect of Perihelion that let it down slightly was the combat. It's a completely understandable notion to take the user to a separate screen to commence battle; it grants the opportunity to make tactical decisions, aim and effect repairs. But it's where, if a computer game can ever manage it, the fantasy of being real is lost.
However, while it's a little samey in places, Perihelion is a very competent adventure, and I look forward to the next offering from this development team.