It is the year 2083. Ten months ago, the first humans landed on Argilus. They found cities, towns, industrial installations - all deserted. Doors unlocked. Meals unfinished. Amazing machinery still working. But no people.
It was like finding the Mary Celeste on a planetary scale.
Science teams were brought in, research bases set up. Four months later, your supply ship has been sent to check on these bases. But when you hail them from orbit, there's no answer. The science teams, too, seem to have vanished.
Now your systems are failing and you and your crewmate have no choice but to abandon ship. But where can you go? Where else? Now it's your task to unlock the secrets of this planet. Will you be able to set free all missing scientist and all the native people???
Schizm: Mysterious Journey is graphical, first person perspective, 3D pre-rendered adventure game with a compelling nonviolent SF story combined with highly non-linear game play, where the player chooses the order in which most of the puzzles are solved.
Schizm offers a mix of puzzles of varied type, including mechanical, logical, sound and inventory based, seamlessly integrated with the fascinating story created in collaboration with the well known award-winning Australian science fiction writer Terry Dowling, appealing to everyone from newcomers to the field to die-hard adventure gamers. The story itself unfolds as an intriguing puzzle waiting to be solved.
The player simultaneously controls two protagonists who can explore the game independently, further expanding the game's non-linearity and freeing the player from the annoying situation of being stuck at a particular puzzle. Both protagonists can solve puzzles independently, but their cooperation is required at certain points in the game. The story involves interaction with several live characters and information interchange between the protagonists. The player won't feel left alone on a deserted planet.
This is what the developer of the game L.K. Avalon is telling about Schizm. Now the question of course is: Is Schizm really as great as the developer says?
Well to be brief about this question: Yes it certainly is! Schizm is a Must Have for every gamer. Especially for every adventure gamer. What makes Schizm so special from other games is the way to control the two persons in the game, Sam and Hannah, simultaneously. From time to time you actually have to switch over between these two to help the other person in solving puzzles. So you'll never have the feeling that you're just wandering all alone in the game. And there's not only your mate, but you'll also have lots of close encounters with several other persons, such as the missing scientists and inhabitants of the deserted places giving you valuable clues and even items you need for solving puzzles. And from time to time you'll find Mission Logs of the missing scientists giving very helpful clues.
And now we are talking about puzzles, I'm sure you'd like to know more about them. Well, they vary from easy to extremely difficult. I'm sure that even some die-hard adventure gamers will need the walkthrough to help them out in one or two (or even more?) of the toughest puzzles. Just remember my words when you're trying to figure out The Morse Code puzzle all by yourself, or the puzzles of the heights of the five poles and last but not least the puzzle of calculating new coordinates. Just try them without the walkthrough and I want to bet, it will keep you off the streets for many days (as it did to me :-)). But hey, that's what adventures are for, right? But one thing is for sure, none of the puzzles is illogical, boring or impossible to solve.
This really is one of those few games you keep on thinking of, even when you're not playing the game. Maybe you know that strange but very nice kind of feeling, doing groceries and meanwhile thinking about one of those puzzles that kept you busy for hours or days already... And after a while you think you might have seen the light and hurry home to give it another try! Or sneaking out of your bed in the middle of the night to give it another try again... Believe me this kind of things is going to happen to you too!
How about the story? In one word: great! But what can you expect? The story is written in collaboration with no one else but Terry Dowling. Terry Who?... you might ask. Well that's an award-winning Australian science fiction writer. And with Schizm, he did an outstanding job once again. While playing Schizm the story of the game is thrilling from the very beginning until the very end. Schizm is also one of those games where you hate to have finished the game. Believe me, you'll never get enough of this one.
The graphics are very detailed. But I must say that the graphics of the dvd version are much better then the graphics of the cd-rom version. The dvd version also has a few more puzzles. So if you have a dvd player, buy the dvd version in stead of the cd-rom version!
The sounds and the music are as they should be in a great story like Schizm. They are superb and contribute to the thrilling atmosphere of Schizm. As soon as you start the game and you're making your first steps as Hannah across the path over the water, you'll know this game has this special combination of atmosphere, sounds and music. And that's only the beginning! The same goes for the several actors in Schizm. They are very well chosen for the job. To get an idea about Schizm, just take a look at my walkthrough. I'll bet that you want to have the game after having seen the walkthrough and the screenshots I've made.
Aren't there any points of criticism about Schizm? Well, to be honest with you, there are a few minor things of which I think they could have been better. My first point of criticism is that you can save your game only 16 times. In an extended game like Schizm that's just to few. And for a walkthrough writer it's a disaster! My second and last point of criticism is that the end could have been a little bit more spectacular. Near the end of the game a female priest is telling you that you have to choose between The Wanderer and the Good Servant. A little further in the game this same priest is telling you that you've made a decision. I spend days in trying to figure out another way to end the game. But I couldn't find it. So in my opinion there just isn't anything to decide at the end. These are my only points of "criticism". But to be honest again, I think the word "criticism" doesn't fit for an outstanding game as Schizm. So lets just call it some minor remarks... Great job Avalon! Thanks a lot for the many hours of thrilling game play.
My final advice: hurry down to the store and get your own Schizm A.S.A.P.!!! But, if possible, do get the dvd-version! I hope you'll enjoy Schizm as much as I did. But I'm almost certain you will...
Bert Jamin, 1 September 2001 ( www.gamesover.com )