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Oct 11, 2009 - 09:49 PM
Sentient Or I Don't Know What the Fuck I'm Doing In This Game
Over the past few years I've been curious about older Playstation games and other video games in general, that I have missed out on. Either because I wasn't aware of them or just simply didn't have the funds when it was first released. One of those games was called Sentient.

Developed by Psygnosis in 1997, Sentient is a first person science fiction adventure game where you are to investigate a radiation sickness outbreak on the Icarus space station. To compound the problems the space station, which is orbiting the sun, is on a collision course to wackiness or destruction which is probably more appropriate. And like the late night informercials, there is always more; the captain is dead and power struggle has ensued. I found the premise to be interesting and the gameplay, which is done through mostly dialog tree choices was something that appealed to me. How the NPCs viewed you and how you treated them determined the nine different endings.

I picked up the game probably a year ago at a local used game store and only the other night did I decide to pop it in to give it a shot. The first thing I notice are the visuals. I completely understand that this is the Playstation and it has not dated well as far as graphics are concerned. However there is no way that this game could be excused for having such horrid looking characters with rigor mortise movement. Alright so this game was released at the tail end of 97, but there have been games that came out before then that had better character models and even animation. Final Fantasy VII and Goldeneye 007 are the two games that I can think of that look leagues better.

The characters, in the CG cinematics, are basically constructed of several perfectly cylindrical pieces of shit. The lips are mouths constantly flap. No, not flap. That would mean there was some emotion, some skill involved in the animation. Opening and closing like a nutcracker's jaw is more adequate. And the mouths remain opening and closing long after the character has finished speaking. The lip syncing was better in the animated sequences of Xenogears.

Alright so now you know what the CG cinematics look like. You'll have to watch them for at least fifteen minutes in order to get the exposition out of the way. What I gathered from it is that something bad is that I am on a ship that headed to the Icarus space station, however I don't respond to the station's request to give identification or clearance to board the station. And because I'm such a rude guest or just an outright asshole, I just crash land into the docking bay. This incites the senator on board who is berating the head of security. Apparently there is an assassin trying to assassinate the senator, and the craft I rode in upon was suspicious.

After that epic cinematic I'm thrust straight into gameplay. I guess I've been playing way too many Xbox 360 games so I've hoping for some sort of explanation of controls. Pressing Start just paused the game with a blueish tint and the words 'Game Paused' in the middle of the screen. I probably could've checked the instruction manual since I bought the game complete, but it was late and didn't feel like getting out of bed. Thankfully the controls weren't too hard to figure out and I just had to wander around until I found some guy on the ground.

I investigated him asking if he had the codes to unlock the door since it was locked thanks to my crash landing. He was pissed at that and then I finally gave him some first aid help. With that he gave me the key and I couldn't get the first aid kit off of the screen! It blocked my entire view yet I was able to continue to move around in the game.

The game faded to black and I was in a garden maze with archway doorways and some orange pillars. I wandered aimlessly and confused for several minutes until the game again faded and I was in a type of holding cell. This time I was accused of killing someone and that since I couldn't prove otherwise I'd be used as a test subject to be injected with a ton of radiation.

When that process was done I was taken to a Tron-esque maze that handled like a poorly done Descent. I had no idea what I was supposed to do or where to go. After a few moments of that nonsense I was brought back but belittled because I apparently wasn't smart enough to figure out what to do. I was taken back to the maze and this time I was able to find a pretty disturbing blue tinted head that did nothing but stare into the void. And back to the holding cell for more belittlement and then back to the maze to look at the head again.

After that final time the whole screen was upside down, apparently I'm hanging that way in order to be vaporized as my execution for the assassination of some guy. Once that happened the credits started to roll and I was given a score of 19.

So I just finished the most confusing and bizarre game I have in my game collection. I might go back to it to see if I can figure it out some more.

Currently Playing: Porcupine Tree - Dark Matter

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