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Ram Raid CD-i: Online, but out of time

>> 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.

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CD-i Microcosm in Action!

>> Tuesday, May 29, 2007

About a year ago we presented you a world exclusive preview to the only CD-i prototype of Microcosm ever found. Numerous people have asked me to share the game but please stop that, it is not in my right to spread CD-i software. However, I've uploaded the low-res movies of the game to YouTube so everyone can again enjoy all the graphics available in this very early version. Remember to read our preview here and I'll have a look on some high-res material, because I'm sure we got some but due to some file transfers I have to check our back-ups ;) Enjoy the videos and imagine how this would have been the best version of Microcosm on all consoles! The graphics are much better than even Solar Crusade and this game was created five years earlier, it's really astonishing to see how Philips Freeland Studios was able to convert the graphics to high CD-i standards.

After starting the CD-i disc, you'll enter the language selection screen, and after that the main menu is shown. Every movie starts with this menu, and all clickable sections are recorded by a manual camera. So, this is low-res stuff, but it'll give an impression of what Microcosm CD-i had to offer more than just the one demo video provided with the official Philips game Preview Disc from 1995. Let us start with the Credits scene, which is just about the video because in this version the credits still had to be entered:



Next comes the Introduction, which shows the Microcosm logo and beautiful rendered FMV graphics. Don't forget to check out the statement of the original Philips developer of Microcosm CD-i.



Last but not least: This is in-game material, and what else can be better to show the actual game by showing in-game scenes? Ofcourse, Microcosm CD-i was based on pre-rendered material, but it's unbelievable what Philips was able to get out of CD-i, already in 1994!



If you want to know about Microcosm CD-i, don't hesitate to ask :D

BTW: The top image I kindly borrowed from the excellent Past to Present website, more of this soon.

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Black Moon Relocated

>> Monday, May 28, 2007

Fast readers might have noticed GameSpy was a little fast outruling the old URL of The Black Moon Project, so if you got a 404 message please update your bookmark to The Black Moon Project to this one: http://blackmoon.classicgaming.gamespy.com/
At this moment even the new www.blackmoonproject.co.uk is not updated. A hyped Black Moon New-Style will take more time to develop, so for now not many cosmetic changes will be implemented. Thankfully everything is on its place and the future of our archive is set for the coming years. Oh, and a new hardware article is coming up, excellent :D

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The suggestive CD-i cover of Arcade Classics

The original artwork for the jewel case covers of CD-i Arcade Classics was far more raunchy and risque than NAMCO wished for its highly protected Intellectual Property. Produced by Johnny Wood who worked on the art for a host of other games including Pac-Panic and Atlantis - The Last Resort, his design for the Arcade Classics cover featured Ms Pac-man in leather boots holding a power pellet suggestively while the ghosts cower around the corners. NAMCO voiced concern over this inital cover which was immediately reissued in a family friendly version stripping Ms Pac-man of the previous sexy imagery, wiping away the lipstick adding a pair of wellington boots and cute eyelashs with non-suggestive themes and NAMCO were happy!

Philips ADS were given a Pac-man arcade board with the chipset for Ms Pac-man to wire up so they had everything to do a decent conversion. It wasn't a straight port however, the entire game was upgraded to a 256 colour palette and also extra levels were added courtesy of Johnny Wood and authorised by NAMCO.

Below you'll find a video of Arcade Classics on CD-i, including the 'family-friendly' CD-i cover:

Want more? Check the Black Moon Game Pages and notice the new URL :D

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The hunt is on! You're the Last Bounty Hunter

>> Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Last Bounty Hunter finally made it to CD-i in 1997 and marked the end of CapDisc's CD-i productions including these excellent conversions of American laser Games. The Last Bounty Hunter is American Laser Games largest production and live action cast of all. Around one hundred actors contributed their talents to this interactive experience. Equipped with a six-shooter and sometimes a shotgun, your job as a bounty hunter will require you to track down four of the most vicious outlaws in the West: Nasty Dan, El Loco, The Cactus Kid, and Handsome Harry. Unfortunately, these outlaws have scores of gunfighters protecting them, so you'd better be alert.

Confused as "Mad Dog McCree 3", the gameplay is exactly the same in all the other ALG games on CD-i: Mad Dog McCree, Who Shot Johnny Rock, Crime Patrol; The difference with older American laser Games is that this one makes more use of FMV live shooting instead of static 'multiple shooting' sequences. While they can use these to lengthen the game and take away predicting enemies, it is also far more repetitive and doesn't invite me to replay scenes. So in this case, The Last Bounty Hunter is definately one of the best you can get. The setting is about the same as the two Mad Dog McCree games.

this game is based on line action in first person perspective, and you need to analyze situations quickly and shoot any threats before they shoot you. Be careful though, not all characters that appear are threats, some are innocent civilians that like to jump in your way while you're blasting away with your pistol. The pursuit of each outlaw takes you through different shootout scenarios and challenges ranging from a saloon to a bank to an Old West version of Chinatown.

Targeting can be set to either the CD-i Gun or the CD-i Mouse/Trackball. While the Gun is far more fun to play with, it is also a little slow and using the mouse you can reach higher accuracy. On the Internet I read about a PC feature of this game that automatically adjusts the level of difficulty to the player's shooting skills. I wonder if CapDisc included this in the CD-i version, but after playing in several ways, I don't notice anything of this. Who will tell?

You will probably die a lot in this game. In fact, you won't be able to play continuously for 30 seconds, because of unforseen one-killers by an unexpected enemy. This makes the game a little frustrating, and sometimes you will feel cheated why a guy shot you before you even had the chance of killing him. Thankfully, you have unlimited lives. After a while you remember when a ceratin enemy will pop up, so you'll keep the cursor ready at the enemy's spot.

Here's the promotional video of Philips Media about The Last Bounty Hunter:


The production value in The Last Bounty Hunter is very high. The acting is first rate (although a little cheesy) and really adds up to the Western atmosphere. The set design and setting is also first rate. In fact, The Last Bounty Hunter was filmed with the assistance of Old Tucson Studios in an Old Tucson setting. The same locations were used in some well known movies including Tombstone, Rio Bravo, and Lightning Jack. the CD-i version offers one of the best graphics of all the console versions, without a doubt. Thanks to the use of the Digital Video Cartridge, no other console can keep up with this high level of quality.

Interestingly, ALG continued the route of taking different paths to the end of the game to improve replay value, like they did with mad Dog McCree 2. One of the gunfighters that protects the four outlaws is a world record holder in fast draw competition in real life. Let me tell you this guy is QUICK! He can fill you full of lead in the time it takes to blink. All in all, some very nice touches.

There are also a few negatives to say about The Last Bounty Hunter. First, you can complete the game within one hour. For the original price of fifty dollars one would expect more than ONE hour of gameplay! But the scenes are great to play although replay value is low because it's the same story over and over again. Very little is randomized in this game, in fact this counts for every American Laser Game. It's still up to offer you the most addictive one-hour-of-shooting CD-i has to offer. In fact, nothing can beat real video killing.

All in all, I had a great one hour of gameplay with the Last Bounty Hunter. Production qualities are top notch, the acting believable, and the action non-stop. In short, I had a blast. Though the game is enjoyable, I wouldn't pay the high amount of money it requires to get an original copy of the second hand market. Mind you this is one of the most rare CD-i titles to get, and I've seen prices over 100 dollars. Crazy I know, and that's why it's important to know that this game doesn't offer a lot more than the other ALG games which are offered cheaper, probably because The Last Hunter has been released only in Western Europe. (While the game itself was created in 1993/1994, the decision to port it to CD-i took a long time!)

Thanks to: a WorldVillage member

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A Sega design on CD-i thanks to Gamester

>> Saturday, May 26, 2007



Thanks to Windowskiller we have a few pictures of the original Gamester CD-i gamepad. In addition to the third party CD-i controllers from Tecno Plus, I talked about the only other external company who produced a gamepad for CD-i: Gamester. This is absolutely a better alternative to the low-responding Philips CD-i controllers out there, unfortunately hard to find but if you see one, don't hesitate to buy it! It looks very similar as the original Sega Megadrive Joypad or even the Sega Saturn Pad. Like with Tecno Plus, controller designs were licensed to different companies but to see this on CD-i is remarkable. Omegalfa even uncovered how it looks without the shell. Sweet ;)






Source: Windowskiller / Omegalfa

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Inside the CD-i Peacekeeper Revolver

What a beautiful name for this peripheral: The peacekeeper gun was a major fun device to shoot bad guys in the American Laser Games and also Thunder in Paradise on CD-i. Talking about the Nintendo Wiimote always makes me think of the CD-i Gun, which is partly based on the same technique. CD-i offered a different kind of 'lightgun' compared to the classic Nintendo Zapper, and is officially called the "Air Mouse" (patented as such). Omegalfa posted a hint to a sneak-preview of the upcoming CD-i Repair Guide at Yaronet CD-i. A little search will bring you excellent pictures of the Peacekeeper Gun opened up so you can have a look inside the gun, how it works and how to dismantle it. Interactive Dreams takes on some previews.



The gun works with ALL CD-i titles, (a mistake often made!) the calibration routines are only included with certain titles. The gun does not work like a normal lightgun, e.g. by timing the electronbeam from the TV-screen. The CD-i lightgun works with an IR-sender in the small box and a directional IR-receiver in the gun itself. From the angle and intensity of the received IR it is calculated where the gun is pointing at. So instead of a more standard lightgun, a CD-i lightgun will also work with LCD TV's and beamers. IIRC the lightguns were pretty expensive at the time, more than twice the price of a similar gun for another system.







The gun has an auto-scaling feature to allow movement forward or backward from the TV while maintaining shooting accuracy. Calibration is only possible while playing discs specially developed for use with the gun. But, the gun can be used with any cd-i title, and it works just like the Nintendo Wiimote. Both use a IR sender which is recognized by the peripheral and the signals are send to the player. In the picture on the left you see the IR box, opened up to have a look inside.







Personally, I found the gun a little low responding comparing to other pointing devices. The style of a gun totally compensates for it, but the Wiimote, for instance, reacts faster. It's very nice to see Nintendo creating a new Gun device for the Wii so maybe the lightgun-era will make its return in 2007!

Pictures: Yaronet / Omegalfa

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Demon Driver, FX Fighter CD-i scans

>> Friday, May 25, 2007

Cast your mind back 10 years and original CD-i owners would remember a forecast release schedule of CD-i games including Dead End, Demon Driver and FX Fighter. I wouldn't be surprised if most of you never heard of these (eventually cancelled) CD-i games as the magazines and press never published a lot about it. However, a german games magazine showed up with two excellent scans including world-exlusive screenshots of Demon Driver and FX Fighter. Originally brought to Black Moon by Merijn, if I remember correctly these pictures went back in the vault, only waiting to be published by Interactive Dreams.

Demon Driver was a high potential racing game by the same team who developed Down in the Dumps. Unfortunately, Haiku never passed the stage of completing any CD-i project. FX Fighter and Alien Alley were both cancelled CD-i projects of Argonaut Software, by the same team who brought us Creature Shock on CD-i. Click on the scans below to view the high-res version!



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A new CD-i back-up guide *update*

>> Wednesday, May 23, 2007

For some reason, right after CDinteractive recovered from some server issues of almost 12 days, Le Monde du CD-i went offline! And right when they published a new version of the CD-i back-up guide, which I haven't been able to have a look on yet. So, I'm sure the downtime will be of a short period, and I'll tell you they will publish the new back-up guide anytime soon. The new PDF file is tweaked with new images and a new logo, which indicates Le Monde du CD-i shakes off the bounded french image and turns into the universal 'The World of CD-i' officially. I shared my worries before of the sudden stop of the url 'www.lemondeducdi.com'... Anyway, check in soon to watch the updated link and read if the guide can help you backing up your precious CD-i library, as well as creating ripped copies and ISO's for CD-i Emulator.

Ofcourse, the Back-up Guide was available since 2004 but Le Monde du CD-i is busy updating the old tutorials including the repair guides of several CD-i parts. This oldest guide is about the use of CD-ROM burning software like Nero for an easy-to-create Video-CD for CD-i and CloneCD for ripping the hard-to-use CD-i Ready format. The guide deals with various kinds of software, recommended for all who are like me lacking any serious PC knowledge ;) - Especially in combination with the Emulator Guide you have a complete tool for keeping CD-i alive in 2007.

*update* If you click the link to Le Monde du CD-i, you are able to download it right now!

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Black Moon CD-i Store to close its doors

After 5 years of working order this is your last opportunity to get hold of brand new copies of mainly USA CD-i releases from the official Black Moon CD-i Store. A few weeks back the news arrived us that Devin is to close down the store and sell the remaining stock at bargain prices. While for you it is a perfect way to get new CD-i titles for dirt cheap, it is also (again) a loss for the CD-i community. There is less than a hand full of places where you can still buy CD-i titles, and second hand markets like eBay are taking overhand in this market. Yesterday the clearance of the Black Moon CD-i stock started, which originally started in 2002."

Devin:"In a desperate bid to clear some shelf space, The CD-i Store has slashed prices of all games from the £5 range down to a mere £2.50 and the remaining stock from the £10 range slashed to £5. The only catch is a minimum order of 4 games, so grab yourself some bargains. Limited stock remaining so don't wait!"

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Two weeks without Interactive Dreams

>> Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Thankfully we're all back in business! We've had a little trouble with the server, and as most of the code libraries and images are hosted at CDinteractive, Interactive Dreams was also unavailable! We're sorry for the disturbance but I thank you all for missing us. However, we continue from where we stopped. I haven't been away or anything, but without the CD-i Forum and the Blog it was a little hard to communicate. I hope for next times, I can count on my free online server as I started mirroring everything, which is hopefully an alternative for whenever something like this will happen again! I see we're still missing a few pictures (again!), but hey, the core website is back :D

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SPC Vision: CD-i at its best

>> Thursday, May 10, 2007

Below you will find a short history of SPC as a CD-i developer. This is a much abbreviated version of the full story, which probably won't ever be written because the company doesn't exist anymore and its people have dispersed wildly.

All CD-i titles marked "SPC Vision", "The Vision Factory", "SPC Codim" or "SPC Group" were in fact produced by the same relatively small group inside SPC. At its peak, the CD-i developers (programmers and graphical artists) numbered somewhere around ten, but at least three times that number of people has rotated through this group.

SPCC

SPC originally started as SPCC (rumored to stand for Sergeant Pepper's Computer Company); it was a split from Stebis (which still exists, I think) when the founders disagreed about wanting to sell hardware or develop software. You can guess which business went to SPCC Smile

Originally SPCC did mostly business-to-business software, usually in C or Informix using SCO Xenix (later SCO Unix). The software was either administrative in nature or involved controlling devices; this peculiar combination has always been typical of the company. At some point, SPCC partly expanded the acronym and started calling itself SPC Company, probably motivated by the creation of SPC Training, which gave computer training courses.

SPC Training at some point acquired some computer courseware guys who developed LaserDisc courses and things like that. Another company was created to hold them, SPC Vision. It became customary to use a slash in the names, e.g. SPC/Company, SPC/Training etc.

CD-i

When CD-i came out (at that time still spelled CD-I), the SPC/V people somehow got the specs of the system (perhaps they were approached by Philips, but I don't know this for sure). Since all the SPC companies where at that time closely intertwined (several people worked for more then one), these specs got to the programmers of SPC/C. Two of them were part of the Atari game community, and they went "Wow! There's an 68000 in this thing! We know how to program *that*!".The last games were released in 1997, with Golden Oldies I and II. Unfortunately the name isn't mentioned in the credits anymore, as the SPC group re-organized to a more (independent) teaching business. A nice memory is the logo crafted in the background of the golden oldies games.

Somehow this developed into Alien Gate. It is rumored that the first sprite demos blew away the Philips people, who at that time where accustomed to seeing things like Compton's encyclopedia. Alien Gate was actually a very primitive game according to later SPC standards, but it surpassed anything else that existed on CD-i at the time.

After Alien Gate came Dimo's Quest, Steel Machine, etc. The computer-training people left the company and the SPC/Vision name went to the CD-i developers (still intertwined with SPC/Company, for a time some people did both B2B software and CD-i games). When a separate game label was desired, the Vision Factory was born (it was never an actual company, only a publishing label).

Codim

At some point there was an attempt to join forces with Codim Interactive Media and so SPC/Codim (tentative name) was born. The SPC Vision people moved into the Codim building in Eindhoven because it had room to spare and the SPC building in Oss was becoming very crowded. But the merger didn't pan out, there were differences of opinion at the shareholder/manager level and both companies went their separate ways. A few people shifted companies (in both directions) at this point. I think there's only a single disc out there marked "SPC/Codim" (bonus points if you can name it)!

The SPC/Codim episode had (for various reasons) demoralized many game programmers and one by one they left for greener pastures, leaving SPC without the specific "game" expertise but with all its technical CD-i knowledge intact. Many other large and small projects followed, e.g. the Standaard Encyclopedia, Het Staat in de Sterren, Sport Freaks, including a number of professional titles. These were mostly realized in C++, in contrast to most of the game titles that had been written mainly in assembly language.

Two of the game people had gone off to form their own company, PixelHazard, and SPC contracted them to produce Lucky Luke using the SPC software library and CD-i development equipment. Accelerator had been written by a summer intern during the SPC/Codim period and was finished by other SPC people; if memory serves right it was the last "real" CD-i game ever released by SPC.

SPC Group

When the other SPC companies moved to a larger building in Den Bosch, SPC Vision (the slashes had been dropped from the names) rejoined them, once again bringing all the SPC companies under one roof. Sometime later it was decided to "lift" most of the software development activities into the parent holding, SPC Group. CD-i titles were still being produced, but CD-ROM and Internet were growing fast and SPC Group started developing for those platforms to. The Standaard Encyclopedia was ported to CD-ROM; later the Medical Encyclopedia was developed for both platforms simultaneously. A few game-like titles were also produced (e.g. Uncover Tatjana) in this period.

Finale

Eventually CD-i titles stopped being produced by SPC Group and it focused on CD-ROM and Internet. When the Internet bubble erupted, there were a few internal shuffles and a big layoff about halving the company, but it didn't work out and early 2002 SPC Group, after briefly going under the name Aebly, went bankrupt.

Thanks to: cdidev

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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

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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

  © Interactive Dreams Version 5 by The Black Moon Project 2013

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