Remember Asteroids? If you’re old enough, you probably spent more than a few quarters dodging rocks and discovering the joys of velocity vectors with this classic arcade game. Remember shooting at those irritating little UFOs that would occasionally appear? Well, now Virgin gives you the chance to zoom about in space once more, shooting not at rocks and flying saucers but at spaceships just like yours, flown by other humans. Welcome to SubSpace, Virgin’s Internet game that takes the Asteroids idea and whomps it with a dose of steroids.
A simple game with a simple price ($29.95 retail), SubSpace manages to deliver more than expected. There is a jewel-box manual, and a full-size strategy guide as well. Internet play is free (though Virgin does provide numerous disclaimers disavowing any obligation to keep SubSpace servers up and running). There’s an offline practice mode, but the only real gaming is online. The graphics are simple yet colorful, with funky smoke trails from rocket engines and nifty explosions as well as nicely designed space ships. Designed for keyboard play, controls are simple and effective. And it will run on just any Pentium (though a 90MHz Pentium is recommended).
The strengths of SubSpace, though, are also its weaknesses. On the upside, it’s a great Asteroids clone. On the downside, it’s still just an Asteroids clone, albeit with lots of people and friendlier rocks. What’s great about this game, though, is its ability to combine simple mechanics with fairly complex strategies and tactics. While it won’t give chess a run for its money, SubSpace can be much more than a mere twitch game. With six different ships, the ability to attach oneself onto other ships as a turret, and numerous game styles (capture the flag, deathmatch, teams), there is a surprising amount of depth to the game.
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As the title said, how the game unfolds depends on your decisions. You will be faced with many instances where Cinders morals are tested. It will also affect how the characters grow, act, and react towards Cinders and situations that happen to them, so in a way, it’s not all about Cinders.
The game does have numerous outcomes so replaying the game again and again would probably show you different things if you choose another path for Cinders on your next playthrough. I mean just look at these numbers! so much possibilities how the story would go! (I got this from their official website)
- Cinders script is 436 pages long
- contains 155k words
- separated into 135 scenes
- holding 829 scenarios
- featuring 120 player choices
- with around 300 options to pick
- altering 50 profile variables
- which fork the story in 254 places
Is that a lot? Yes, yes, it is. I’m actually really impressed. This game has more branches/forks than the other visual games I’ve ever played, hands down.
Cinders in the middle and her two stepsisters (Sophia on the left, Gloria on the right). I can’t stop looking at Gloria’s umm bountiful future. Admit it, you probably stared too!
Well Developed Characters and Character Progressions
I must say, I love the characters progressions in the game. Depending on the choices you’ve made, you get to really understand why each character ended up the way they did. Heck you may even feel sympathetic towards the characters you probably wanted to pimp slap in the beginning. Again though, whether or not the story will show you certain scenarios/sides of the characters will depend on what decisions you choose. I find this enjoyable because when I played the game again, I didn’t know what new things I would see and learn.
Another interesting character. You can pretty much tell you don’t want to mess with her. Is she Good? is she Evil? Maybe you should try to find out *shameless hinting*
Yes yes, after playing for so long how could I not know, but that’s because after playing the game for quite a while, I never noticed the eyes move before so I was really sure that the only animation the characters had were facial expression and moving mouth. The movement of the eyes were too subtle for me to notice. Let this poor embarrassed girl make excuses to make herself feel better since I did foolishly scared myself. Plus It reminded me of those creepy old pictures where the eyes move as you walked past them (like in horror movies or one of those attractions in theme parks). Of course that’s just me, others find the moving eyeballs cool (shiver).
Carmosa the step mother! dun dun dun!!! She was staring at me as her eyebrow does a Dwayne The Rock Johnsons infamous eyebrow raise combined with a facial expression of having doo doo under her nose.
Music and Detail to Sound
Oh man, the game really has great music that indeed suits the different scenarios of the game. It enhances the emotional impact on some of the scenarios. I also noticed the detail in background noise. For example When I visited the bar, I was greeted with the sound of moving objects, murmuring conversations, and clattering plates. At night time, I was surrounded by the mating melodies of crickets trying to get lucky, and while on a morning stroll, I was accompanied by the chirping of birds by the lake. Honestly, I know I keep repeating myself but this really is the most detailed visual novel I’ve ever played. Although this one lacks voice overs that many visual novels have, Cinders makes it up by detail in sound. Some may think it’s not a big deal, but little details like this create a strong foundation for games in this genre. Having said that, for me, their attention to detail sets them up a level from most visual novels if I compare Cinders as a whole package with others from the same genre, so I really gotta give kudos to the devs.
First Impressions and Gameplay
I’ll try to keep it from having any spoilers, I’m actually on my second gameplay and the story branched much differently from my first gameplay
Note: I purposely tried to not read too much info about the game. I avoided comments/reviews that mentioned anything that may reveal how this version of Cinderella differs from the Disney version (or any other versions that I’m aware of) because I wanted to see how well the story was written for myself. I mean yeah its pretty and all, but if the story can’t live up to its part in the game, then I would personally feel the game is hollow and a waste of money. Plus, being the bookworm that I am, I’m also picky and I ain’t afraid to admit that.
Graphics Art Style: Eeepit..it moved!
Usually, in visual novel games, the art they have there doesn’t really move so they’re usually still-pictures. Cinders, however, uses motion graphics with their gorgeous painting-like art styles, which I loved because it actually made me feel like I have a story book in front of me that’s alive if that makes sense. If you look at it closely, the devs really put a lot of detail into them. From the dancing flames, to the moving rays of light, I found myself trying to absorb everything. I saw the characters background basically come to life so to speak, and even the characters themselves have some motion graphics going on like when their mouths moved and when their facial expression changed as they spoke.
I wish I can show how gorgeous this scene was because it was brought to life with motion graphics in the game. It was magical to my inner child.
While we’re on the subject of characters animated by motion graphics, there was an incident that scared me a little, though some might find it as a nice touch. I know some may find this silly but while I was deciding on what choices to make, I at first thought that I was hallucinating from lack of sleep (I ended up playing until 5 am) because the evil step mothers glaring eyes were definitely aimed at Cinders, however, when I looked back up at her face, she was dead on staring daggers at me! So I stared at her longer, and I saw that her eyes indeed move side to side, which for me was a little unsettling.