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Martian Gothic: Unification

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Martian Gothic: Unification, also known as Martian Gothic, is a survival horror game for the PlayStation and PC. It was developed by Creative Reality and published by Take-Two Interactive. Programmers Neil Dodwell and Martin Wong, designer Stephen Marley, animator David Dew, modelers Julian Holtom and Paul Oglesby, and music & sound effects by Jeremy Taylor.

Gameplay

A unique feature of this game is that if any of the characters meet face to face, the bacteria that has infected them draw all three characters into a 'Trimorph' at which point of the game is lost. Because the characters cannot meet face-to-face, they can trade items using a system of "Vac Tubes," which can transport 4 items to other Vac Tubes at a time. Also, when the player needs to leave an item behind, she/he may do so by leaving the relevant item into various hatches, which can hold up to 4-6 items. Using the hatches may leave the player confused about where she/he left the item, but the player can use any in-game computer to bring up a list of the contents of every hatch, including ones that have not been accessed yet. In order for the character to unravel the events before their arrival, they may search dead bodies for letters or micro-recorders which may contain information about the character, plot, passwords, and the method in which they might have died. Many recordings have been stored on some of the base's computers, which also contain information about the person or the storyline, to provide information that can further the player's progress through the game setting.

In terms of player control, Martian Gothic is very similar to the early Resident Evil game titles: the Vac Tubes function the same way as Item Boxes, and the control of the characters and the camera angles are almost identical (often called the 'Character Turret' or 'Tank' system of control).

Plot

Setting

In Martian Gothic, the player is able to assume the roles of three characters sent from Earth to a Martian base called Vita 1 to examine why it has been silent for 10 months, after a base member broadcasts a final message of "Stay alone, stay alive." Upon arrival the player finds that all the residents are apparently dead and must gradually uncover the secrets and nature the last undertaking by Vita 1's crew; the discovery of ancient Martian "Pandora's Box" which, when opened, started a chain of chaotic events that led to the base's downfall, and death of all almost its inhabitants. However, during the player's progress of uncovering the truth, searching for any possible survivors, and solving Vita 1's many mounting problems, the player finds that the dead crew have become re-animated like zombies who wish to feast upon the team of three's flesh.

The Vita 1 base was constructed in 2009 by the Allenby Corporation, implied to be Earth's most powerful megacorporation, to research potential alien life from microfossils on Mars, after discovering in 1996 that a Martian meteorite found in 1984 contains ancient bacteria which had crashed in Antarctica in 11,000 BC. Vita 1 is situated very close to Olympus Mons which can be partially visited by the player upon access to the underground "Necropolis" zone - the human-excavated ruins of an old Martian city - of Vita 1.

Characters

The Allenby Corporation has sent a group of three members to its Vita 1 via spacecraft which crash-lands just outside Vita 1's airlock entries, to investigate the ten-month-long radio silence. This investigative team consists of Kenzo Uji, an infomesh expert ('infomesh' being an in-game term relating to human-computer virtual interface) who describes himself as a "techno-zen hippy;" Martin Karne, the security escort of the team who volunteered for the mission; and Diane Matlock, a scientist who has friends in Vita 1. These three characters are controlled by the player. However, other non-player-controlled characters are encountered such as MOOD, the main computer of Vita 1 who has her own personality; Ben Gunn, the only living survivor of Vita 1's outbreak, who is shown to be possibly insane; and Judith Halloway, the Vita 1 project director, who was last person to contact Earth with the final message "Stay alone, stay alive."

Story

Taking place on June 17 of 2019, ten months after Vita 1's last contact to Earth with the message "stay alone, stay alive" on August 8 of 2018, the investigative team of Kenzo Uji, Martin Karne, and Diane Matlock approach Vita 1 on Mars in their nutshell-shaped spacecraft. Vita 1's main computer MOOD claims to sense their arrival, and know "each name, each individual pain" of the arriving three. Whilst Kenzo, as pilot of the spacecraft, is forced to make a crash landing on the Martian surface and it's crew depart into different airlocks of Vita 1 base, MOOD apathetically predicts that, although three have entered, only two will leave alive. Now separated into different airlocks, the three simultaneously record logs onto audio recorders, and using radio's from spacesuits in their respective airlocks, make verbal contact with each other to make sure everyone is alright. All three go through decontamination, but each notes something is "wrong, something very wrong" concerning the decontamination gas they are exposed to. Initially, only Kenzo can enter the base, as Karne and Matlock's airlock doors have been locked. Kenzo stumbles upon various dead bodies in the silent hallways, including the corpse of the base's leader, Antonio Fellicci. By listening to his recorder, Kenzo discovers that the base's downfall came about when people started shooting at each other in the base hallways. Kenzo finds Fellicci's room, but finds a dead man supernaturally levitating in the hallway. He uses his radio to inform Karne and Matlock, but Karne believes that Kenzo is joking. Using his Fellicci's computer, Kenzo manages to unlock the door to Karne's airlock. However, after using the door controls, the dead body of Fellicci's girlfriend suddenly comes back to life, and tries to attack Kenzo.

Karne exits his airlock and enters the base in a different area than the one Kenzo has explored. This area contains more dead bodies which show signs of a gunfight among the base members, which Karne theorizes was the result of "group hysteria," but the cause of it is unknown. Not long after traversing the hallways, Karne notices that his watch now displays the impossible time of "48:62" which reminds him of hearing about "strange stories of the main computer of this base." This time turns out to be the passcode for a locker in one of the hallways, in which contains a Green Tag. Tags are used to open locked doors in the Vita 1 base, with a certain coloured tag opening a corresponding colour door. By unlocking doors and finding more tags, which are traded with Kenzo to further progress, the two make more exploration through the base, until eventually Karne gains access to the arboretum chamber. Here, the base members were growing terran and martian plants, which would also supply oxygen and therefore sustain the atmosphere of all base members. It is here Karne obtains a gun from a base member who had committed suicide, and upon trying to access the adjacent room which regulates the base's airflow, finds a TriMorph - a mutated zombified mass of several base members; he informs Kenzo and Matlock, "it's big, it's ugly, and you wouldn't wanna share a beer with it."

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