Review by Somber Fox

"A very interesting mix of characters makes for a very entertaining game"

Martian Dreams is the Avatar's second side quest, and this time it fits directly into the overall storyline better than Savage Empire. It directly refers to Savage Empire and Ultima VI, so it is highly suggested that you have played those before playing this.

Game play - 7/10

Just like Savage Empire, Martian Dreams uses a modified version of the Ultima VI game engine. The Interface has been redesigned again, to make you feel as if you were really were on a martian planet. And of course, it does a great job.

Martian Dreams plays quite differently from Savage Empire, so don't expect a similar experience!

The most obvious difference is that magic is gone, period! There is no magic at all in this game. That makes a more ''realistic'' experience.

Your main weapons are going to be guns, and it's quite easy to run out of ammo because you'll be fighting considerably more than in Savage Empire. In fact, it got annoying to me at times when I simply wanted to go from point A to point B and came across packs (dozens) of jumping beans or moving cacti that attacked me! I really started missing the moonstones for quick travel. You have to walk around everywhere on foot until you restore power to the planet so you can use the teleporters.

Enemies and martians are all pretty odd, most of the living creatures are walking vegetation. Examples include the deadly jumping beans which move in packs, crawling cactus, and planthers (guess what they resemble).

There is no armor to protect you in Martian Dreams. Instead, you have to wear heavy clothing because of Mars' incredibly cold nights. If you don't wear heavy clothing to keep warm your characters will take damage due to extreme low temperatures. Also, in this game Mars has an atmosphere so your characters don't wear any sort of O2 tanks. You'll have to find some minerals called oxium that you chew on and those give you clean oxygen to keep you going. Without oxium your characters are much weaker than normal. Oxium plays another big role in that it is the currency on Mars. Trade it in at trading posts for ammo and other things, but don't go broke or it'll be hard for you to breath!

Puzzles are very interesting and you shouldn't find yourself getting bored while solving them. The game actually starts off slow and boring, but once you finally regain power to the planet things really start getting interesting. You'll find out why the game has the title ''Martian Dreams,'' and that's the best part of the game. The only bad thing about this is that it's way too short! I wanted more.

Story - 8/10

Like Savage Empire, Martian Dreams takes place because of an accident. Storyline is the best part of Martian Dreams.

In the year 1893, Percival Lowell is giving a tour of a space cannon that he designed to take men to Mars. In the tour group are such famous people as William F. ''Buffalo Bill'' Cody, Calamity Jane, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison and many others. While giving the tour the space cannon unexpectedly blasted off, with the whole group still on board. Landing on Mars these people have no way of returning to Earth and are forced to make the best of it.

About 100 years in the future, in the Avatar's own time, a package was received by his friend Dr. Spector, containing some information about time travel and the accident of 1893. Spector and the Avatar use the Orb of Moons to travel back in time to 1895, two years after the Mars landing. There they were greeted by Nikolai Tesla. Another crew is formed with Sigmund Freud, Nellie Bly, Dr. C.L. Blood, Tesla, and of course Spector and the Avatar. They take off for Mars to rescue the 1893 crew members.

You will journey all over Mars in search of a way to return to Earth, and in the process you'll find out that there is intelligent life out there after all. Along with saving yourselves you may end up with more than you bargained for...

Audio - 5/10

The music isn't really great. The main theme is ok, but even that can get annoying after playing over and over.

Video - 8/10

Graphics are almost identical to Ultima VI since it uses a modified version of its engine. The interface is modified to set the mood, and it does a great job of that. Instead of monsters, you'll be fighting strange martian creatures.

Re-playability - 3/10

Replayability is almost non-existent in most RPGs, and this is no exception. It is interesting enough that you may want to replay it again some day for nostalgia though.

Overall - 8/10

For a side quest, this is an excellent game. Not very often do I find short side quests this interesting. The theme and characters makes the game feel fresh among the genre.

To buy or not to buy? - This is a game that all RPG fans should have a chance to experience. If you're lucky enough to come across a copy, pick it up.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/17/02, Updated 10/30/02

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