>> Thursday, June 28, 2007
I've seen these ICOM point and click adventures coming up several times over the course of my love for the CDi. (I even remember seeing the game in "coming soon" format in one of the catalogs when I bought my original system, thinking how great it would be, since I loved the original version on the NES.) I keep hearing people say different answers to the question, "Was it ever released on CD-i". The ICOM titles remain a mystery to CD-i, as far as I know nobody has ever seen it on CD-i. There are only rumours and references in CD-i Magazines, and hunting down some old ICOM members is still on the agenda, so who knows! Deja Vu, Uninvited and Shadowgate; These games were called the ICOM Trilogy. Shadowgate was by far the best title of the series IMHO. These games are also available for the NES. How I wish these games were ported to the CD-I.
As far as I know shadowgate was never released. It did come from the same publisher as the Deja Vu games (ICOM) and seems to be the same genre/kind of game.. The Deja Vu games were announced several times, possibly even developed, but as far as I know never published. Same could be true for shadowgate.. Most of the CD-i information available on the net besides this close knit community of websites tends to be completely wrong and outdated. However, always the chance that this game may have been developed for CD-i at some point. It certainly warrants further investigation in anycase!!
Still there were lot of rumors surrounding those ICOM/Mindscape adventures coming to CDi. Deja Vu 1&2, Uninvited, Shadowgate all have been rumored to come to CDi. Same style games, same publisher, loads of rumors.. and Deja Vu and Uninvited were even listed in the Philips CDi catalogue, same as CDi magazine! They couldn't be cancelled due to technical difficulties, because the core engine was baded on a very simple text based adventure, with very simple graphics. The most believable reason for cancelling would be the transfer of ICOM to Viacom, who changed the publishing scheme due to licensing or royalties.
Shadowgate: It was one of the best ICOM games. It is essentially a text adventure with still images of each room in the castle. You play Jair, a brave knight who has been sent to Castle Shadowgate to stop the evil Wizard from completing his spell of destruction. You really just have to play the game to understand. It is easily available on the net as a rom for the Nintendo entertainment System via NES emulators. I could just imagine a CD-i version with beautifully rendered backgrounds and a CD quality soundtrack.
Uninvited: Another game using the graphical adventure interface found in Deja Vu and Shadowgate, Uninvited comes with a "horror" theme. While driving on a lonely road at night, a strange figure blocks your vision causing you to swerve and crash your car. When you regain consciousness, you find that your sister is missing. The only place she could have gone is a creepy old mansion which looms in front of you. With nowhere else to go, you enter the mansion in search of your sister. It turns out the mansion once belonged to an old wizard and his apprentice, and somehow it has become infested with the Undead.
Don't hold your hands up believing ICOM was developing 5 cd-i games with none of them being released in the end. Perhaps they were on the drawing board or one of them got into some development time. These base-case titles should be relatively easy to convert, but in the end - well who knows... I don't believe in any shadowgate proto.
Merijn found this old bit of info by a CDi tester:"I know nothing about Rocket Ranger but I do remember the others. Dark Castle was an early release and was a port from the Mac I spent hundreds of hours testing this title. Deja Vu and Uninvited were also mac ports but they were early Mac games, back when the Mac was a 9 inch black and white monitor. These games were designed for that format and worked well, but they looked like crap on CD-i, what looked ok on a 9 inch screen didn't translate well to a 20 inch TV set in color. From what I remember it came into test for documentation, the documentor complained about it, the engineer who put it together refused to do any more work on these two (I believe it was the same person who did Dark Castle), he was already too burned out from making all the fixes to Dark Castle so the two projects (Deja Vu and Uninvited) was killed off without ever being tested."
ICOM Simulations was formed in the early 1980s by Tod Zipnick. With the MacVenture series, ICOM pioneered the point-and-click adventure interface and later multiplatform CD-ROM development with Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. The company was acquired in 1993 by Viacom New Media which closed its operations in 1997. Renamed to Rabid Entertainment, VNM/ICOM was dismantled in 1998. The rights to ICOM's game portfolio is currently held by the company Infinite Ventures.
As you can see in the catalogue scan below, both Uninvited and Deja Vu were listed in the Philips Media CD-i catalogue:
Screenshots taken by the PC version (Interesting details about the graphics being polished a lot, if you compare them with the 1987 originals on the NES. Who knows what kind of color pallet was going to be used in a possible CD-i game...)