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Obsidian

Obsidian
4.5
Platforms: PC, Mac
Publisher: SegaSoft, Inc.
Developer: Rocket Science Games
Genres: Adventure / Point and Click
Release Date: December, 1996
Game Modes: Singleplayer

An obscure yet finely crafted adventure game down the Myst bloodline.

obs2

In Obsidian, nothing is quite what it seems. The game’s designers went for a dreamy feel.

The Myst-inspired adventure genre had its ups and downs, but few games had that creative edge or technical prowess to really make them stand out in the limelight. Fortunately for us adventure gaming freaks, Obsidian is just such a game. You play as Lilah, a young nanotechnologist enjoying a camping vacation in a remote forest after having recently completed the development of a meteorological satellite with your partner Max. Through exposition provided by documents and film clips located in Lilah’s PDA, it seems that you have discovered an immense black monolith in the mountains, which you have monikered ‘Obsidian’.

No sooner do you start the game that you find Max is missing, and examining the imposing structure leads you to suspect that he might be trapped inside Obsidian itself. Fortunately you find a passage leading inside, and that’s when things really get weird.

Things Get Really Weird

obs5In contrast to the lonely, desolate Myst world, where the surrounding plot was ever so remote, the Obsidian environment continually anchors you to the game’s story. Information about the evolution of this world is present at every turn, and a growing urgency – visions of Max and a sense that you are very close to the ultimate discovery – continues to provide the impetus to continue. The game spans five CDs and takes you through four dream realms, immersing you in a turbulent exploration of a universe that is disorienting and bewildering.

The initial moments of exploration within Obsidian, the surreal nature of it all and the strange logic of the world in which you operate in definitely elevates the game above the ‘mere’ Myst-clone status. For one thing the world isn’t as barren as it is in Myst, or at least not always. Mechanized creatures and voices surround you regularly, continuing to “ground” you in what might otherwise be a very lonely experience.

Two Million Dollars Later

In contrast to the first ten or so minutes of the game, most of Obsidian is computer-rendered and not live-action, which might help explain the incredible 2 million dollar price tag that came with it. You could almost swear it was all worth it, as you get the most gorgeous CGI developed in any ’96 game by far. Enhanced by 32-bit QuickTime technology, the game looks silky smooth and is animated gracefully at its 640×480 pixels. Although some of the later parts aren’t as impressive as the first act, overall the graphical excellence is nothing short of praiseworthy.

But Obsidian also works well as a game too, offering some very difficult but altogether fairly well integrated puzzles. The good news is that inventory-based quests are a non-issue here, as most of what you have to figure out is limited to on-site manipulation of various gizmos. This sounds familiar, but it can actually be very clever. For example in one of the early stages of the game you’re thrown into a bureaucratic nightmare that seems scooped straight out of Satan’s corporate headquarters – you must browse through legions of file cabinets to find a Standard Damages form so the bots can repair a malfunctioned bridge (according to standard operational procedures, of course), but everything seems disjointed and nonsensically arranged. A nearby terminal, instead of helping you out, wants to play a series of word games, but which you can actually use to discover the correct category under which said document is stored.

pda

Too bad Lilah never kept her ‘futuristic’ PDA. It could have been a great quest-keeping log.

A few of the puzzles, however, are tedious nonsequiturs. Most notably there’s one involving the fixing of a broken clock that gives horrendously jagged feedback animations (making it very hard to figure out which section needs fine-tuning), and there’s also a horrid eye-hand coordination puzzle just halfway in, requiring the player to sequence a lightning bolt strike to a moving-multi-faceted path. Otherwise you’ll see a nice variety of wordplay, logic, spatial relationship, sliding tile puzzles (of course!), all providing enough challenge to keep it interesting.

Anyone who appreciates this particular corner of the genre, Myst fanatics especially, will find here a perilous and sometimes humorous journey through an awe-inspiring, breathtaking environment. Even with its limited exploration possibilities and a “puzzle lock” here and there, it’s a trip you’ll want to take. The game’s offbeat take on the world of physics may leave you blithely disoriented for quite a while.


System Requirements: Pentium 90 Mhz CPU, 16 MB RAM, SVGA, Windows 95

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Tags: Obsidian Free Download Full PC Game Review 1996

12 Comments

  1. zared says:

    I have the cd of obsidian but I can install it because my pc is 64 and window 10
    please help me to install it

  2. 1. Use a virtual PC https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=3702

    install Windows 98 (you need an original Win98 CD). Use an old version of Daemon Tools to install Obsidian. http://www.oldapps.com/daemon_tools.php?system=Windows_98

    or…

    2. buy an old Pentium 4, install Windows XP. It works on XP 100%

  3. Thom says:

    Very sad, that this is NOT the Original Version – several puzzles are left out completely (Library) because they could not be tranlated.

  4. Mike says:

    Obsidian on Xp does not run for me. I’ve tweaked it until the cows come home, but am constantly told that QuickTime is not installed. I’ve downloaded version 2.1 but will not install. Might be conflicting with other versions that I’ve tried to uninstall, without success. Frustrating to the point of madness

  5. w says:

    You understand that the links you gave us here are entirely in the German language; is there anyone willing to upload a link to a no cd crack?

  6. Nah, I didn’t, but I’m willing to change the links to the english version. I’ll upload my own CDs, which don’t need a crack.

  7. w says:

    Thanks; I have the full game (version 1.0), but it keeps asking for the CD before I can start, and for some reason it won’t/can’t see the ISO (I’m using Windows 95B on DOSBox DAUM with Virtual Clone Drive to mount the ISO).

  8. Links changed.

    For you “W”, I believe your problem is that the game needs the letter D as your optical drive to detect the CD.

    Or maybe the game looks for the CD under the first drive letter under your hard drive partition.

  9. W says:

    I don’t know; but Clone Drive automatically designates the CD Drive as the “D” drive. Also: you can’t link to archive.org any more?

  10. W says:

    I should mention: the reason for the need to use a Virtual Machine as opposed to a desktop stems from QuickTime which requires one to completely uninstall formerly installed versions, even if they are from a later date, before the game can play. As this will also include any associated files being either deleted or in many cases rendered unstable, I have been since that time been unwilling to remove any already updated versions of QuickTime. I suspect others have had the same problem, and that is the reason for our request for a No CD Crack.

  11. No crack that I know of. I didn’t have older QuickTime versions installed on my pc, so that’s probably why I got lucky running the game.

  12. w says:

    Well, this is the case even with the newer version that I have: it tells you it can’t run the game without QuickTime (even though you know it’s there); and when you attempt to install and use the version that comes with the game, it doesn’t work.

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