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Review by: Bob Mandel
Published: November 17, 1998
Long before his fame for creating the recent blockbuster movie Titanic, I was a fan of James Cameron for a film he had directed years earlier in 1989, The Abyss. This movie was a fantastic deep-sea tale of the crew of an oil rig attempting to rescue a sunken nuclear submarine. The underwater visuals and special effects were simply out of this world, and the musical score was absolutely enchanting. While it did not make a huge splash with the public, it showcased just as much of Cameron’s immense talent as his more celebrated film made almost a decade later.
Sound Source Interactive, a company renowned for its excellent educational games for children, is making its first thrust into the adventure game market through the release of The Abyss: Incident at Europa (not to be confused with SegaSoft’s forthcoming Fatal Abyss). The game continues the story in the movie six years later. To briefly review where things stood, back then the Deepcore undersea observation platform had made contact with Non-Terrestrial Intelligence (NTI) in the Cayman Trench. Although highly unusual (waterlike) in appearance, this species was quickly determined to be non-threatening, and so this underwater station was redesigned to facilitate the exchange of ideas between humans and the NTI beings.
In the midst of attempting to terraform one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, into a watery paradise, the NTI life form discovers a lethal viral disease left behind by an ancient alien civilization. The strange mutating disease, which turns out to be both intelligent and adaptable, strikes both the NTI in their glistening ark and the human crew in their undersea research vessel Deepcore. The disease, which progresses at an incredible rate and leaves moving rock-hard gray patches on victims’ bodies, not only makes those who contract it severely ill but also alters their personalities, making them uncontrollable. In the melodramatic words of the game manual, the disease is transforming a “tightly run sub” into “a metal box full of violence and senseless aggression.” The mutants have destroyed virtually everything, and there seems to be nowhere to hide.
Playing the role of Bud or Lindsay Brigman, you must discover how to control this deadly disease and save the galaxy. They are the husband and wife members of the Deepcore work crew who had first contacted the NTI, with Bud the “toolpusher” in charge of Deepcore six years ago and Lindsay the designer of the underwater facility. The NTI has asked specifically for help from these two, calling them the “Finders,” to solve the crisis. If you fail, the entire human race — and all other creatures — will be victimized by a predatory alien species by being turned into a stone likeness of these nasty creators.
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