Mebdel needs your help as he struggles to survive mind-blowing puzzles, elaborate mazes , and deadly guardian robots found within 5 stunning, real-time 3D texture mapped cyberworlds. By discovering the secrets of Mendel's environment, you can help him through the dangerous obstacles that threaten his survival and prevent his escape. Get ready for the obsessively addictive gameplay that comes with the only game character with a mind and will of his own.
- Mendel - the first game character with a mind of its own.
- Advanced adaptive controller technology (NERMtm)
- Genre busting, addictive gameplay.
- Real-time 3D textured, continuous motion graphics.
- Exciting, hostile worlds with mind blowing puzzles.
- Active Panning 3D Stereo sound.
- Hardware Acceleration for all fully Direct 3D compatible video cards.
~from the back of the box
I have never been more entertained while pulling my hair out than when playing Galapagos: Mendel's Escape. Released in 1997 and developed by Anark - a company with a long history of 3D art design programmes and CAD-based tools - Galapagos was to be their only interactive entertainment title. Considering their technological background, there couldn't be a more fitting game than a graphically-impressive puzzle game centred on artificial intelligence.
Mendel is an intelligence robotic spider, trapped in the futuristic dystopian factory that built him. You have to manipulate his surroundings to clear a safe path outta there. You do this by clicking on buttons, levers and other objects within the fully realised environments, but this is easier said than done. Mendel moves on his own accord in this 3D world, learning different pathfinding skills through trial and error that may not go over so well in different situations. Every time he dies and re-spawns, he supposedly learns from that, and whether that is helpful or not is another matter.
It's a hard concept to explain, but here's what I noticed when playing. My initial test run through the first level had Mendel more-or-less walk in a straight line. He was predictable and it was fairly easy to get him from one location to the next. When I played it again to capture footage, a couple of accidental deaths on a deadly turntable gave him the incentive to begin walking in circles. This made that turntable section an absolute pain as for at five minutes he wandered around the thing multiple times only to leave at the entrance again. At this point, it would probably have been better to begin the whole thing again, but I persevered for half an hour according to the timestamp. This is not a game for speed runners.
Some may see this as an inconsistency, but the seemingly random way Mendel learns is actually a feature. An occasionally welcome one that makes no two playthroughs the same. The more you play, the more he seems to develop a personality, screeching like a scared Artoo unit when danger is near, yet perfectly fine to ignore the safest passage forward. It's a deliberate design choice referred to as NERM (Non-stationary Entropic Reduction Mapping) and you can save and import these brain states at any time. I just wish I'd known this on my test run.
The NERM save is separate to the game save. NERM can be exported at any time, while the game can only be saved when Mendel steps upon a floor space resembling a swirling galaxy. This is the first of the design choices that really up the frustrating factor. There are many points in the game where Mendel will die multiple times of his own accord, and not necessarily by your mistake. You will then have to go through several minutes of game to get where you were and only NERM knows how the insect will be reacting this time. Couple this with a dynamic camera that often switches angles at the most inopportune of moments and you'll surely be bald by the time you reach the game's end.
These are design decisions I could surely like should a remake or spiritual successor exist, but it doesn't. Galapagos: Mendel's Escape remains wholly unique. The closest game I can think of is Lemmings 3D, but there is no intelligence let alone of the artificial kind in those suicidal rodents.
There is nothing quite like Galapagos: Mendel's Escape. It will at once draw you in with its unique design and gameplay while simultaneously frustrate you to no end. And you know what? Both me and my hair implant specialist really appreciate that.
File Size: 163 Mb. Install Size: 201 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Galapagos: Mendel's Escape is © Disney Interactive
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me