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Microcosm on CD-i

>> Saturday, July 1, 2006

The amount of games that remain unreleased after the death of a console is always a shame in the fans' eyes. CD-i is no different and with anticipated titles like Battle Chess, Star Wars: Rebel Assault and Discworld Philips left us wanting for so much more by just cancelling one project after another. I can imagine a cancellation for a publisher when a console meets its successor or was just doomed to fail, like with CD-i. However, we came across more interesting aspects when a game like Microcosm was cancelled in 1994. Cd-i was on top of the (small) hill back in 1994 so you wouldn't believe the consoles` death being the main reason to cancell this massive project. As a keen reader of the Black Moon Project article section you didn't miss the statement of Robin Keir being the lead programmer on Microcosm when he was working at the first Dorking Studio (Freeland). This story tells you about the technical difficulties Microcosm had and it certainly was a sour decision to realize Microcosm was technically not feasable on the Philips CD-i.




Microcosm was hot property of Psygnosis (now part of Sony Entertainment) and when you imagine Microcosm was the same kind of project like the 7th Guest you just knew Microcosm on CD-i was going to be a big event. Third party releases often lack the quality of a game console just because they don't know all the ins and outs of the system. With 7th Guest, Philips bought the license from Virgin/Trilobyte and created a CD-i version from scratch. This was not without any problems as you may remember from various discussions but the end product was one of the very best the CD-i could show you. So although Microcosm is a licensed product, you could see it like a true first party product: Philips at their best.

Dorking will be remembered as one of the most fertile places for CD-i with technically outstanding releases. It is a shame Microcosm had to be cancelled. Even after they shut down the Freeland Studio (along with the cancellation of Microcosm), but built up the second Dorking Studio (Philips ADS) within a year, excellent releases like Pac Panic and Atlantis were great examples of the expertise Dorking enjoyed from the wise-guys at the Philips Redhill Laboratories (right east of Dorking).

According to the pictures here you may be on to the clue already. The answer is yes, recently we got our hands on an original prototype of the progress of Microcosm on CD-i. As you can see in the memory screen, we've been playing around with Microcosm for some time now, since April 2006. The big problem with it was that the disc is the same kind of type which was used for the original Super Mario's Wacky Worlds prototype discs. But hey, that's one thing.

Let's be the first giving the title a proper review, being aware this is one the earliest versions around (v0.05 mind you!)

Without a doubt one of the biggest canned games in CD-i history.... From the same team that worked on 7th Guest. And it shows!

The game doesn't start with a bumper. The first screen is the main menu, showing a 3d letter circle with the options "New game", "Credits", "Password", "Intro". I started with the credits, always a favourite. All I got to see was a (astonishing!!) movie. No credits, they still had to enter those i guess. It was already clear the graphics were one of the best I have ever seen on the CD-i system. Outbeating 7th Guest easily. Surpassing the ones like Creature Shock and even Lost Eden, guys, these graphics look awesome! If they finished this, it could be the best game on CD-i, without a doubt.



The intro shows a different movie about, well, an introduction. Again, great quality. You just have to see it. It's far better than the demo movie we all know about Microcosm on CD-i. They make use of real actors just like in 7th Guest.

It's too bad I never played another version of Microcosm. It's time to try to get one of those... According to the media I can find on the internet, the CD-i version would be the best version around. The Graphics of the 3do version are crappy when you compare them to the CD-i version.

Then the game. The HUB around the play-area is really big, and the part of the action is not even half of the screen. Weird, as the background is filled with FMV video. You enter a tunnel and get to shoot some kind of asteroids. It's like Invaders in 3d, very nice, and above all, fast-paced and very fluid. This goes on for a while and the hub warns for a monster. Then the monster is shown, but I guess this part wasn't finished. The monster doesn't shoot at me, and it doesn't reach me. It's more like a mechanic robot. I can hit it, and after a while the next FMV shows it's exploding. So I don't know whether that is because of my shots, or the first FMV just ended, just like with those monsters in Chaos Control.

After this, I get to see grid lines of a tunnel and blocks which are like a debug mode. Obviously this part wasn't finished either. I played it only twice, but I don;t get the hang of it. After a while the game seems to freeze, and the main menu appears again. bummer.

The game as I played it left me wanting for a lot more.... It is pressed on a TDK CDR which is the exact same kind of disc Super Mario Wacky Worlds was pressed on. The downside we now have is that I cannot copy the disc. Although we are still looking into it (in fact, we won't rest until we have preserved it for the future!) programs like CloneCD, Discjuggler, Isobuster and all the others don't like the disc :(

Ofcourse, any help is highly appreciated. Notice the screenshots are low-quality pics made off-screen, and we will post HQ pics and videos as soon as we are able to.

Visit the CDinteractive Forum for more information, or ask if you have any questions or anything to share.

(c)2006 The Black Moon Project

6 reacties:

John,  May 10, 2007 at 3:10 PM  

awesome! too bad the pictures are gone. Can you fix this?

Bas May 11, 2007 at 9:26 AM  

I see there are a few older ones not working either; I thought I already took care of that :D - The pictures are on my PC, so I'll take note over the following days, thanks!

extra_anchovy,  January 21, 2008 at 3:49 PM  

very nice! you need more photos of prototypes on this this site, especially unreleased ones. what about wacky worlds and voyeur 2?

Bas January 22, 2008 at 9:20 AM  

more CD-i prototype coverage will appear on the site once i have more time to get some pics up and to write a story about it. Currently I'm very busy although I keep trying to update the site, but I can tell you the best is yet to come ;) Thanks for your words though!

extra_anchovy,  February 24, 2008 at 8:33 AM  

thanks bas. btw when I say your site needs more photos of prototypes I am reffering to photos of the actual CD-Rs and their cover's, not screenshots because you have heaps of those already on your site.

Bas February 24, 2008 at 9:49 AM  

Unfortunately not all prototypes we have are in their original CDR case, some of them are sent by the original developers, the files are sometimes from DAT tapes or other back up drives. But a few are in a case like this one, Battle Chess or Voyeur 2, The Smurfs.... Eventually everything will be on the site, but I have to keep you all hooked here for a few years to come ;)

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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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