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Inner Worlds is a 1996 fantasy platform game by Sleepless Software Inc. incorporating some RPG elements. The game is concentrated on a werewolf character called Nikita who travels through a magical world fighting monsters and learning spells.
Although the game appears to be a typical platform game with levels grouped into three episodes, there are many RPG elements, which make the game much more complex. Although episodes must be played in proper order, the level structure of the game is not strictly linear as it is possible to skip some levels and return to them later in the episode. In addition to jumping, running and fighting monsters, Nikita is able to shapeshift into a wolf at anytime, if she has enough mana, which gives her access to otherwise unaccessible locations. She also can collect many kinds of weapons and other special items such as keys, scrolls and potions. Some of them can give her some special abilities. It is even possible to enchant the weapon chosen by the player to dramatically change its power and behavior.
Character development system
Unlike other games at the time, in Inner Worlds the main character gets stronger through the course of the game in addition to collecting new items and weapons, as would be expected in role playing game. On almost every level the player is able to find an amulet which increases maximum mana or health. Killing unusual monsters allows the player to learn some spells to create magical arrows or fireballs.
The story is revealed to the player by long text introductions before each level. In the first episode Wizard's World, Nikita travels into the Castle Drofanayrb to defeat the powerful monster called Gralob, which was created by a powerful mage and now is the scourge of the land. In the second episode World of Change, she returns to her homeland to discover further horrors - and to fight them. In the third episode Heart of the World, she descends into the large volcano in order to engage in a final confrontation with evil forces.
The music tracks played during the game were written by different people who won a contest held for that purpose in the internet. The game's creators offered $100 for all the songs they choose to put in the game, and $1,000 as the first prize for the contest winner. The winner was Daniel Hansson from Sweden for the track called Unplugged. The authors of other songs used in the game were from as far as Croatia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Australia, US and Finland.
Development, release and reception
The Sleepless Software team originally consisted of 3 people from Salt Lake City, with Inner Worlds being their first project. The team became much larger using the internet, and in the end consisted of 27 people from 9 countries. Creating the game took 3 years instead of 1 year originally planned. Inner Worlds was released on DOS, Windows and Linux - its first episode Wizard's World was distributed as a shareware. Despite all this, the game was not well purchased, though decently received. Sleepless Software ceased to exist soon afterwards due to its financial failure, as its main designer Joe Hitchens wrote on his site in 2001.
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