When is a game not a game? Why, when it's a movie of course! Except it's not a movie, it's a game. That's the kind of identity crisis Quantum Gate espouses all throughout its running time. Or should I say play-time? Ugh.
Released in 1993, Quantum Gate by Hyperbole Studios fancies itself as a movie. Even the main menu says as much. You don't 'play' the game, you 'go to' the movie. Above this you can access the 'contents' which lists all of the chapters like how you'd find on a DVD. They're all open and unlocked from the beginning too, so anyone can see the end without having to go through the entire thing.
The contents menu opens the whole story up from the start (left).
What each icon does is self explanatory, but this screen is useful nonetheless (right).
I don't recommend this, though, as the main story is quite good. Cheesy, pixelated and over-the-top, but still very much worthwhile. The perfectly campy sci-fi story written by the founder of Hyperbole Greg Roach involves a dying planet, evil aliens and as is always the case, a government conspiracy. You play as a third-year medical student named Drew Griffins who has been tapped to take part on a secret mission. Of you go to an alien planet by way of the Quantum Gate. This planet is apparently flush with a unique resource named iridium oxide, a substance the UN scientists believes will reverse the catastrophic environmental decline facing the Earth. It's 2057 and there's only 5 years left before global warming has caused irreversible damage! Armageddon in 2062? Sounds optimistic to my 2020 eyes.
Even though you can interact in the world, you don't really play. You can wander around the three levels of an off-world military base during certain moments, but if you meander for too long, the game will take control and force you on to the next plot point. The only thing that even resembles a game is the first-person action sequences that plays a lot like Battlezone. Sometimes, I question whether the outcome of even these sections are pre-determined.
Almost every area has a Militerm terminal to access e-mails, read the news and listen to music (left).
Fighting an alien bug in a military battle simulation (right).
There are many entertaining tangents you will only be able to witness through multiple playthroughs. There are also many pointless ones too. This lack of player agency was perhaps the main reason many reviewers weren't kind to Quantum Gate back in 1993. Then again, considering the year, the game looks simply stunning. It's definitely aged, with a small video screen, blurry pixelated graphics and the odd VHS style tape tear that got encoded in the transfer to digital, but I can still see the technological effort that went into it.
If you are wanting a game, I couldn't and wouldn't suggest this title. If the description of an interactive movie piques your interest, this early attempt at such a thing comes highly recommended.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Manual included. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 447 Mb. Install Size: 627 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Quantum Gate is © Hyperbole Studios
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me