Please, follow these instructions very carefully; the future of adventure gaming depends upon them.
First, go to your internet search engine of choice.
Second, type in the word Nibiru (pronounced, oddly enough, NI-BI-RU) and press enter to search the net.
Third, scroll through your options and read:
“End of the World”
“Lizard Men in tight spandex suits”
The list goes on. Does it have your imagination churning yet? Let me tease it a bit more by revealing that the Czech publisher Future Games that brought you The Black Mirror now plans to bring you Nibiru: The Messenger of the Gods. Yes, the secretive and occult twelfth planet hovering far beyond our reaches has inspired this Eastern European team to create a true sci-fi adventure.
In 1976, Zechariah Sitchin composed and published a book entitled The Twelfth Planet, which delved into Sumerian texts and proclaimed their writings as truth. Their records state that the inhabitants of Nibiru invaded earth, mined it for gold, devastated it and then up and left. There have been many reports of such a planet in a variety of creation myths throughout time, and this author even goes so far as to directly state that modern religious texts as well refer to this mysterious Planet X. Now to give you chills, let me tell you what NASA found three years after the publication of Zechariah Sitchin’s book: Planet X. Not quite the twelfth planet, but the tenth. So for those of you who adore adventure stories that dip into the realm of possibility and then stretch like taffy into the realm of the absurd, Future Games’ upcoming Nibiru may be a godsend.
The name may sound familiar to a few adventure game enthusiasts who were around in 1998, when the company’s Posel Bohu, or just plain The Messenger of the Gods, won Czech adventure game of the year. The core of the story is back, but with promised improvements and innovations in order to bring the Nibiru mystery to life. In Western Bohemia, construction crews stumble upon a mysterious manmade tunnel, later discovered to be a Nazi chamber hidden at the end of World War II. News of the tunnel spreads like wildfire and ignites interest in a Professor Wilde. You play Wilde’s nephew, Martin Holan, crossing the entire world in search of answers. You eventually untangle an intricately weaved tapestry of ancient civilizations and mysterious technologies. If you can stay alive, that is.
It is no surprise with the visual splendor of The Black Mirror that Nibiru also boasts sharp and detailed 2D backdrops. The rich, slightly subdued coloring has returned for the better, but scenes look much sharper due to the increased resolution. The Black Mirror runs in 800x600, while Nibiru will run in 1024x768, making the esoteric discoveries more realistic and enthralling than ever. A look at the screenshots should cause any adventure fan a great deal of excitement. No Nibiruan space ray gun could make anyone as excited about this game as its artwork. I know what you are thinking, since I was granted telepathic powers by aliens: “But what about that two dimensional Samuel Gordon, and all the other FLAT NPCs from The Black Mirror?” They’ve been blown up. Yep, you heard me correctly. B-l-o-w-n u-p. They are now all 3D. Sure, Nibiru uses the same AGDS (Advances Graphic Development System) created for The Black Mirror, but the engine has, in a sense, been turned up a notch, now enabling 3D characters, anti-aliasing, and volumetric effects. Samuel Gordon is jealous; I can see it in his drawn face.
Martin Malik of Future Games openly states that though the characters have been inflated, the duration of gameplay has not. As a matter of fact, it’s the other way around: input from reviewers and players alike have popped a hole in the story balloon. While The Black Mirror is said to have lasted players between 15 and 30 hours to complete, Nibiru will last even less, shortening character dialogue and skipping some of the more nitpicky puzzle design. I wouldn’t jump on your high horse, however, and begin condemning this choice too soon; the game should be much more focused, restricting the amount of backtracking required to complete the game. There also should be a greater quantity of interactivity, with quicker conversations and more complicated puzzle solutions. Nibiru promises to deliver story-turn after story-turn to keep everyone, including those few adventure game players with Attention Deficit Disorder, glued to the screen.
I can now say that I am excited for the end of the world. I am experiencing ecstatic joy over a possible alien invasion. I don’t know exactly when in the first quarter of 2005 I will be able to play this promising moody adventure, but I do know that Nibiru: The Messenger of the Gods has the potential to fulfill the promise brought only half-way to the adventure gaming community with The Black Mirror. Now with blown-up characters, an off-beat sci-fi story, and a rekindled desire to appeal to gamers, how could Martin Malik and Future Games go wrong? For now, Nibiru may be one of the most promising adventures of 2005--unless of course, Zechariah Sitchin was right and Planet X is headed our way yet once again. Let’s just hope it stays at bay--at least until Nibiru is released.