Game Review - by StormDaemon
Since the rise of the First Person Shooter, role-playing games seem to have taken a back seat to all the heated action in games like Quake and Quake 2. RPG's using live action videos looked like they were thrown into the trunk, however, Dark Side Of The Moon does a great job of using live action videos to immerse a player into the story and provide for an interesting experience. This game allows the player to rotate 360 degrees and choose their path as well as whatever they say from a good list of available options. Though picking a path or word may seem limiting, it still allows a number of avenues to take while playing and thinking.
In the story, you portray Jake Wright, a man who's uncle died mysteriously on a moon called Luna Crysta. The uncle has left you a claim on the moon and you journey to Luna Crysta to stake that claim and discover the truth behind all of the mystery. The story begins with you on the shuttle to the moon and continues on to reveal several plots and mysteries behind every turn. The storyline was well written and acts just like a big mystery while providing a lot of suspense and action.
Dark Side Of The Moon offers several gameplay features while having almost no menu options other than save and load. The game uses a live action video game system called Video Reality which allows the player to rotate their view 360 degrees, which is a nice step up for filmed games. Although you can't manipulate everything you see, the cursor will change to show what can be done and what can't. Included in the interactive story is the ability to choose a phrase to say to a person when in conversation. Even though this may seem limiting, it ultimately is not, because in every conversation there are at least 2 paths to take and things said at different times can affect the outcome.
The gameplay, as said before, is slightly limiting but in the end it's just right for the game because it helps to focus the player on the story. Of course there are little things you can do that do not necessarily affect anything, but there are not enough to truly make for a distraction. The ability to rotate the view really helps immerse you in the game and give you a belief that you are stuck right in the middle of everything. Another good point of the game is the VDA, which is a little hand held computer that holds maps, emails, video messages, clips, and more. The VDA supports the interactive view and allows for more belief in the story presented.
The use of actually filmed footage in a game is usually limited to introductions and intervals, but when it is used as an environment for playing the game, it is something to be noticed. The entire footage looks futuristic and had to have been computer generated, with actors using bluescreens. Usually that method does not look good, but this time whoever did it, did a really good job. Unless you really look, you'd believe that the people were actually there and interacting with the environment, which is very applaudable. The bad side to the footage is that it is a little blurry at times, but it is not bad enough to really detract from the whole of the game.
All of the other graphics, such as the screen around the view and usuable items were very well designed with a futuristic theme. The movies that were not part of the game interaction looked just like what the player was going through and both were usually inter-connected. Everything was believable even though you could tell that it was a mix of computer generated graphics and live actors.
The sound effects were about as good as one could expect from filmed footage which a few effects here and there when there was not sound coming from the film. Nothing was really bad, but nothing really stood out either.
This an above average game with its Video Reality system and interactive storyline. The ability to go through the story and decide which path to take really made the game fun and interesting, while the film quality brought out the desire to go further into the story to find out what happens in the end. The story was well-developed with its twists and turns and enough suspense and action to keep a person interested for a good while.