>> Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Welcome to "RAM Raid": The best game on the internet, only available to CD-Online subscribers. Your mission is to defeat the others subscribers and become CD-Online best Ram Raider and earn the right to challenge RAM, the CD-Online main computer. Fight off RAM's mercenaries, and defeat your fellow subscribers; "RAM Raid" is a heart-stopping journey through "hyper-reality". That's how Philips announced RAM RAID to us: The one and only on-line multiplayer game on CD-i. A major experiment carried out by Philips Research Redhill, the same team who brought us Atlantis: The Last Resort.
The second edition of the CD-Online Disc (by Lost Boys, the team who brought us The Lost Ride) included a revolutionary game on CD-i: RAM RAID was an original first person shooter which could be played over the Internet, which was hot in 1996. Simply called "The Game" you could enter the demo room from the main menu. Unfortunately the CD-Online server is dormant these days so you are limited in playing the Practice levels of RAM RAID, which give you an idea how this was the top of CD-i gaming.
Yes, you could connect the CD-i player to a modem (a derival of the announced CD-i Interlink, a device that never was produced), clocked at 14k4 (can you imagine!). The modem made a connection to the internet and the CD-Online discs contained a browser to browse online. That was a great alternative to the PC which was at that time sometimes hard to follow. The modem was packaged in a so-called "CD-i Internet Kit", holding the modem (capable of 14.400 bps) and the disc itself. In Europe the service was called CD-Online, the USA had Web-i for this subscription. As Web-i never got off the ground in the USA, RAM RAID was only available in Europe from 1996 up to 2000, the year CD-Online closed down.
After RAM RAID, Philips went for more and created the at-that-time highly anticipated Atlantis: The Last Resort, the offline version of RAM RAID. Atlantis was built in a different setting and new enemies, but the engine was completely the same. The online part was just left out. Now that CD-Online is dormant, you can only play the practice levels accessing "Practice Arena" and "More Practice".
As in Atlantis you have the possibility in RAM RAID to listen to your favourite music while playing online. The game contains a total of 9 levels but only accessible through internet because some data files were stored at the CD-Online server. Just the two practice levels are on the disc itself.
The RAM RAID game was promoted with an official T-Shirt which you can see on the picture here. We spoke to an old RAM RAID veteran who shared some nice memories of RAM RAID: "You couldn't play directly against others, as how it worked was you picked someone on the scoreboard (with a higher score than you) and then picked which level you played so if you won then you would get a score increase based on the difference on yours and the other persons score, and so would work up your score rating, i'm also positive that the larger the score difference added to the difficulty of the level, because i remember on the first comp that there was just a few of us overtaking each other as there was a MASSIVE difference between the top 6 and the others,and only a few managed to catch up.
On youtube I found a video of RAM RAID, which originally was taken by Le Monde du CD-i:
Also i think it was only the first competition that acknowledged runners up as well (I think the top five in the first competition all won t-shirts and further competitions after that only gave one to the winner) but the winner of the first competition also got his name in cd-i magazine (i think i could have won the first competition but my machine crashed downloading my final score seconds before the end AAaaaaaargh!).
The subscription cost £12 a month plus you also payed for your phone calls as well but at a local rate as once you setup the machine it asked you to pick a local number from a list of 20 or so, and from that it was diverted to cd-online. I still have my modem sitting on top of my machine. It brought back memories,i even tried to log on, later on they put another page into the ram raid part of the web in that you could look at the roll of honour-winners of each round.
also some pages didn't work as the cd-i couldn't handle the graphics, so either refused to load or the page was full of icons where graphics should have been. shame I just threw out some letters I received from philips, such as the newsletters that came with each upgrade. Finally, has anyone else seen these other two bits of merchandise i have as well and they are the 'space ace' pin badge that came with the CDI magazine and the 'chaos control' pin badge that i got from buying the game at dixons and received a free badge.
Firstly,i found my chaos control badge and also came across a few extra discs that used the CD-Online service, mostly the cd online discs itself that came also in the magazine (cd-online issue 1/cd-online issue 2/cdi games-highlights-previews-gameclips/total euro 96/disc 97-10(cdonline by lost boys)/the net on your set 96-10/video cd music sampler/usa'94 world cup/micro machines demo/99-1 'doing the business'(tv episode starring leslie granthem(can't remember how to spell his name-lol).
My cdonline user manual issue 1(all the others have been thrown out). but the last two items are a bit more interesting- a cd from philips cd-online titled 'cynet plus' which is just an internet access disc for the PC with a shareware game called 'clockwerx', but the disc also includes 8 cd quality music tracks by 'Chris Thorne' and 'Honeynut' one of which is the 'Ramraid' music track(nice), it was sent to me by philips since i was a cd onliner. Hereby the connection between Honeynut and Atlantis: The Last resort is also solved!
The fact you needed a seperate subscription for the cd-i connection kept me from signing up. Moreover, even at the time the modem included was slow, only 14K4. It was just not very attractive compared to the PC internet style. You couldn't browse through every page, only a list of sites which were supported by CD-online. Ofcourse, the fact you could use it on your television even today would be a true improvement, but the price tage didn't weigh against the pros of the CD-i internet kit. Not like Wii does nowadays, for example.
Thanks to William.