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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: October 1, 2002
For the last four television seasons, “Farscape” has been one of the most popular programs on the SCI FI channel. Filmed in Australia and airing on Friday nights, the series has built a loyal fan following; on September 6, however, SCI FI announced it would not pick up the show’s fifth season option. Nonetheless, Jim Henson Interactive and Red Lemon have licensed and developed for Simon & Schuster Interactive a game based on the “Farscape” TV program. This title offers third-person, team-based action mixing character interaction, squad management, trading and combat.
The story, set in the television series’ first season, revolves around American astronaut John Crichton being lost in space. He’s fallen in with a ragged bunch of escaped alien prisoners on a living ship called Moya, stranded in orbit around a small planet in a far corner of the galaxy. Suddenly, when a group of despicable and aggressive Peacekeepers attack Moya, Crichton and his cronies find themselves embroiled in war. Crichton and the alien Chiana manage to escape, even though the rest of the crew remains trapped aboard the vessel. Soon afterwards, they’re shot down and crash-land on a desolate planet. The goal of these two intrepid adventurers is to find a way back to Moya and help those stranded there. In the process, you’ll encounter all sorts of intertribal turmoil and instability.
You may control any one of up to three characters in your party; since you cannot direct more than one squad member at a time, you have to choose wisely the moment for switching from one to another. You never stay with one character for very long, and the make-up of the squad varies throughout the campaign as new companions become available. Each character displays a distinctive personality and a far more independent spirit than trained soldiers would normally have. As team leader, you’re responsible for meshing their talents and personalities in the best way. You need to be careful, because if any teammate dies, the game ends. The restriction of control to one character at a time seems awkward at first, but eventually promotes careful strategic thinking.
The six main characters are presented in considerable detail. These are the American astronaut John Crichton; the alluring and seductive member of the Nebari race, Chiana; the former top Peacekeeper soldier, Aeryn Sun; the diminutive and wily Dominar Rygel XVI; the huge and powerful Luxan warrior, Ka D’Argo; and the passionate Delvian priestess, Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan. Complementary skills possessed by these people include Crichton’s ability to open security doors, Chiana’s craft at stealth, Sun’s combat readiness, Rygel’s ability to negotiate, D’Argo’s deftness with his whip tongue and Qualta Blade, and Zhaan’s healing touch. These abilities give you broad choices for how to approach each challenge. Sometimes, the different characters don’t get along and can get in each other’s way. For example, Rygel’s perplexing inability to use weapons can ruffle more than a few feathers.
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