|Title: Space Wrecked: 14 Billion Light Years From Earth
Rom Player: PC
Synopsis: Back in 1991, I did something I had never done before and have never done since: I paid more than $60 for a computer game. The title in question was Spacewrecked: 14 Billion Light Years From Earth. Unfortunately, Spacewrecked also has the distinction of being one of the worst games I have ever played.
The game revolves around the story of a pilot who’s in deep space, out of fuel, and out of luck. Adrift in space, he can do nothing but place himself in cryogenic stasis and hope someone comes across his worthless spacecraft. After what we can only presume are years of floating through space, our hero’s ship comes in close proximity to a fleet of human starships. Unfortunately, none of them work, and you will have to repair all of them to full operational status in order to get home. Why can’t you just repair one, you ask? These are “special” ships designed by “special” people, and will not function unless all other ships in the fleet work as well. To make matters worse, these ships just got back from some kind of zoological mission, and the special containment bays meant to hold the beasts they gathered have malfunctioned. This means the vessels you must repair are full of monsters who want to kill you. Oh, and, lest I forget, the crew of each ship is insane for some reason, so they are hostile as well.
Sounds like more fun than a barrel of monkeys, doesn’t it? After all, 14 billion light-years is an awful lot of light-years. Unfortunately for you, the game is as far from fun as it can possibly get. There are over a dozen ships to repair, but you will be extremely lucky to make it past the first one without cheating. This is because you must go around and repair a dozen different systems at a dozen different places in a huge ship where everything looks the same. At the start of a level, you have no map, making navigation extremely difficult. The game designers must have had a sense of humor, because if you actually manage to find the things you are supposed to fix and are able to fix them, they will gradually become broken once more. This means you will have to repair certain systems over and over again.
This would be endurable if you could move about the ship freely, but unfortunately you cannot. At least half of the doors in the game are locked, and can only be opened by using a keycard of an appropriate security clearance. As you use security cards, they downgrade in security clearance, until they are completely worthless. Luckily for you, the cards can be recharged at an onboard power station until they have the top security rating again. Forgive my ignorance, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having security keycards and locked doors? Couldn’t the janitor, with the most limited security clearance on the ship, take a keycard to the power station, charge it, and thus gain access to every restricted area onboard? Isn’t that stupid?
Even without the hundreds of locked doors on each vessel, the monsters walking the hallways would still make your job difficult. Combat with these creatures is carried out by moving a crosshair, which shakes wildly to simulate your character's fear, over an enemy and clicking like a madman. As you pick up bigger and better weapons, the crosshair will grow larger and will shake less, allowing you to kill your foe with relative ease. In the beginning though, life is tough, and it easy to get killed by even small monsters. Combat does, however, feature the only redeeming thing about the game: as your character takes damage, his or her face will melt off. It just looks so god-damned cool.
Even if you live to get the bigger weapons, don’t plan on living for much longer. If you take more than a couple of hours to complete your tasks on any one ship, life support will fail and you will die. This is really frustrating, because there is nothing you can do to prevent it, and any progress you made will be lost. If life support goes, your only option is to restart the game. Because of this, the game is nearly impossible to beat.
Graphically, the game is horrible. I know we’re talking about a game that’s over ten years old, but games with far better graphics and sound were released in the years before Spacewrecked. King’s Quest V, for example, was released in 1990, but had graphics that were light years ahead of this game. Nearly everything in the game is a shade of grey, the corridors, the ships, and the main character. Konami probably didn’t make this game on a large budget, but they could have probably tried harder.
Spacewrecked has all the elements of a crappy game: a nonsensical plot, game play that is impossibly hard, and graphics that were primitive even by the standards of 1991. I can find almost nothing good about this game. Consolation can be taken in the fact that, besides myself and three other people, no one has ever played it.
I give it one out of five stars.
Game Play: 1
Overall Rating: 1
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