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Down in the Dumps - Cancelled on CD-i

>> Monday, May 7, 2007

As it was the case with a lot of 'new' software developers, some just didn't achieve what they promised to do. Apparently Down in the Dumps was going to be a base case title, without all the video sequences you see in this video, but they couldn't optimize the engine to run at least playable on cd-i. I'm not sure if this caused the cancellation, but Philips pulled the plug out of cd-i with or without it, so it was a bye-bye for Haiku... But, this spokeperson told me in-game material was presented on cd-i in some form, so it has been in development at least. Ofcourse he didn't have any material, but who knows what we'll run into in 2007... We have a look on what could have been a perfect game on CD-i.

While Philips cancelled the CD-i version of Down in the Dumps, the game eventually made it to PC-CD-ROM in 1997. The adventure style would be perfect on CD-i, and was originally designed for CD-i only. When CD-i went down and Philips expanded to other platforms, Down in the Dumps was brought to CD-ROM and Macintosh. Please note these screenshots are taken from the CD-ROM version!

First, let me show you some CD-i footage of this game, taken from original promotional material from Philips Media:

The game is all about the Blub family. They are no longer than your thumb, and quite different from the ordinary family next door. They have strange looking heads, and eccentric behaviour. In short: crazy. But still, they need your help to return to the place from where they originally came from. Getting them to their home won't be an easy task, as the spaceship of the Blubs is total-loss. The family is stranded on an unfortunate place on earth: The Dumps. That's why the title: Down in the Dumps!

Ofcourse this situation is absolutely not as how the Blubs had things in mind. They were going on a holiday, but it is all destiny which ends them on a different location than planned. For this trip, apparently they collided with another ship. After a disastrous fly both ships ended in the dumps. One other unfortunate event is that the people of the other ship (that also landed in the dumps) was crowded with a gang of nasty bad-guys. So for one thing they have to survive and find repair parts for their ship, they also have to deal (read: avoid) the members of this gang, led by a thug named Khan.

The game is developed by Haiku Studios, and originally intended for a CD-i release. Originally it was going to offer you the role of every family member during five episodes of the adventure. So you take on the role of each Blub every stage. According to Coming Soon: "In the first part entitled "The Blub, the Rat and the Bad Guy", you will play as the Son. Your goal will consist of retrieving one piece of the ship. The three other episodes, namely "The Hypnotic Machine", "The Abominable Robin Blub" and "The Bum", share similar goals, and feature original scenarios that will place you in hilarious situations. Except for the fourth and fifth scenarios, you control one character per episode, the Son in the first, the Mother in the second, and the Father in the third. The fourth part is by far the most difficult, as you will control simultaneously two characters (the Son and the Daughter)". The most of the time you'll be busy finding out what each character has to use in order to solve a problem. Every character has their own inventory, so it won't be easy to find out the solution to every problem. "Finally, the last episode will have you controlling the whole family, including the two grandparents and even Stinky the pet, in a scenario that is sure to keep you thrilled as it is time limited."

The fact you play as different characters in Down of the Dumps is quite original, but there is more that puts this game in a unique spot. There are loads of cinematic scenes, in fact every movement from one location to another initiates beautifully pre-rendered videos. The CD-i version was rumoured to be a base-case title, without these sequences so probaly this was added in a later stadium of the game. Of that time, the video sequences were of the best quality I've seen in videogames. They deserve bonus points because the start and finish of the video seamlessly goes into your start and end location of your trip. This looks like it all goes in one motion, which is a very clever implementation. The backgrounds are also pre-rendered and enhanced with animations to avoid having a static landscape. The overall impression of realism is outstanding, especially regarding the age of this game: This is all 1996 stuff. Textures are clear, living and colourful, and they all make up for an excellent realistic virtual world. The original developers took numerous poctures of garbage piles all over the world, just to make the scenery as good as possible. Excellent job done!

Down in the Dumps features a classic interface. The inventory is located at the bottom of the screen. The options are positioned at th etop and the view is in the middle, between two black strips. The panel moves over the screen once your mouse is located on the edges. Inventory is using the same places more than once so after it gets full, it can get very messy. You can save your game or load a game, turn off or on the subtitles, volume and more stuff like that. In fact this is a classic point-and-click adventure, not seen a lot on CD-i with the exception of Microids classic Secret Mission. So yes, you control this game by using the mouse. The hand icon will let you control the characters. When the cursor changes in a moving gear you can perform an action, when it changes into a mouth you can talk to someone, etcetera. During your exploration around the dumps you'll find plenty of items just like in an ordinary adventure. The interface is kept pretty simple which leaves is accessable to all kinds of gamers.

There are not a lot of dialogues in the games, which in my opinion is only a good thing; it leaves the larger part of attention to solving puzzles and exploration. Still, you need to talk to make progress in the game, and Haiku programmed different multiple choice answers, so different talks lead to different actions. Each characters offers an unique voice which fits very good. Haiku obviously put a lot of attention in the voice-overs of the characters. The game is full-packed with humour but still this is oriented to adults. The game package gives an age rating of 15 or older. I don't know why they did this because I hardly found any dialogue going over the edge. There is no violence or whatever, so it has to do with the difficulty of the game/puzzles and like that, in my opinion.

Final words:

Down in the Dumps offers a long, fun and graphically outstanding experience. The setting and characters are unique, and gameplay of over 60 hours is packed on three cd's. This will certainly provide you a steady adventure full of jokes and puzzles. It's a great pity Haiku didn't get the chance to complete the CD-i version!

Credits: Coming Soon

3 reacties:

Erik,  May 7, 2007 at 8:53 PM  

there's a video on about the worst consoles ever, and CD-i is on the third place... How predictable :( I love the Philips CD-i!!!

Bas May 8, 2007 at 11:29 AM  

Hi Erik, I assume you got that from the dutch games blog I posted on? Otherwise it's quite a coincidence ;) But you're right, and I can only agree with the fact that in comparison with Nintendo and Sega and Sony, CD-i didn't have enough to offer. But it's certainly not bad at all, regarding everyone's loyal visits :D :D

Tom,  May 9, 2007 at 9:13 AM  

after reading through all your posts it looks like France was special for CD-i! I always thought the netherlands had the most special cd-i stuff. How about that?
bye, Tom

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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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