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About the Story"Join the Patrol, and see the Galaxy!" You took the poster's advice, bait and all, and marched right over to the recruitment station near your home on the backwater planet of Gallium. Images of exotic worlds, strange and colorful aliens, and Deep Space heroism had danced in your head as you signed the dotted line. And since that day the closest you've come to Deep Space heroism was scrubbing down the radioactive leper colony on Ishmael-3.
But suppose that jumbo fortune cookie you got at Qwang's Take-Out Asteroid last shore leave was right. Maybe you will indeed narrowly escape disaster. It's even possible that you'll actually travel to an unknown corner of the Universe, where you'll save a doomed planet - or die in the attempt. In fact, we'll guarantee it - every crumb of it - because that's just the way the cosmic cookie crumbles.
Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: ZIL
Spoofed by Coke Is It!, by Lucian P. Smith, Adam Thornton, J. Robinson Wheeler, Michael Fessler, Dan Shiovitz, and David Dyte
Adventure Classic Gaming
The game's greatest strength is its plot. Although relatively simple in itself, it is developed with control that rivals a novel. The details are revealed slowly. The goal becomes clearer to the careful reader as clues hidden in locations come together to paint a picture of what has happened and what must happen in order for you to return heroically to Stellar Patrol. In contrast, the game's greatest weakness is its inventory management. Inventory juggling has always been a problem in adventures. Most adventure gamers accept the fact that there is a limit to how much the player can carry. In most games, an item is included which allows the player to carry more without destroying the delicate limits of belief. Unfortunately, no such item exists in Planetfall. Worse is the fact that I try to pick up an item but only to find it tumbling to the ground along with some other items of importance. This happens a lot, sometimes in almost endless successions. Moreover, there is a lack of challenging puzzles. Beyond inserting objects in slots most puzzles can be easily solved by dying, working out what has gone wrong, and then trying something different. Floyd is integral to a couple of challenges and should have been used to much greater effect.
-- John Campbell
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At least two things makes Planetfall memorable. The first one is certainly our sidekick, Floyd. He is the main source of humour in the game (for instance, when we make a save around him he says: “Oh boy, are we gonna try something dangerous now?”) but he’s not just a comic relief, we grow really attached to him over the course of the adventure.
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Planetfall was the first Infocom game I played, and still my favourite. Often billed as a science-fiction comedy, it really is not. There are many amusing sidelights and funny responses from the author to your failed actions, [...] but it is not at all a straight comedy in the same sense that Leather Goddesses of Phobos, or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would be. It merely feels like one because the game is constantly charming you in one way or another.
-- Graeme Cree
Overall, Planetfall is easily one of the best adventure games I've ever played because of the balanced and logical puzzles throughout the game, the humorous writing, and the amusing characters. My only complaint about the game is that the laser wasn't described well enough, making two puzzles difficult.
-- Alex Freeman
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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
If you ask someone who played "Planetfall" back in the 80s, it is certainly Floyd, the player's bubbly omnipresent robot sidekick, that will be mentioned first. Floyd was, quite simply, a quantum leap in the category of NPCs, presenting an unforgettable comic personality that played perfect counterpoint to the otherwise dark and foreboding tone.
Beyond Floyd, the game is built on a well-constructed story, having taken enough care in the creation of the game universe to be solidly convincing, and offering as its premise a steadily mounting series of challenges that intertwine the player's fate with that of a seemingly-abandoned planet in a natural and game-appropriate way. As the plot moves from survival to exploration to the intense climax, the reader can't help but be impressed every step of the way.
As a side note, this is the only work of IF I've ever played where eating, drinking, and sleeping are implemented in a manner that not only avoids being annoying, but which is ultimately essential to driving the plot. You must reach the end before your supplies run out, and some of your dreams are hints for solving the tougher puzzles.
If "Planetfall" lacks anything, it is the literary quality that marks the finest works from the new school of IF-writing. I can't hold that against it, since nothing like that existed when this game was released. Indeed, this game may be among the first steps in that direction -- if the prose was a little more flowery, there would be no doubt.
"Planetfall" remains a landmark achievement that is in many ways unequaled today. If you can find a copy, don't give in to the impulse to look at hints. This one should be savored over days or weeks as the rare treat it is.
The sprawling map full of empty rooms with nothing interesting in them, the simplistic NPC conversation mechanism (wouldn't it be cool if you could "ask floyd about achilles"?), but above all the gotcha-game cruelty, where you're never sure if you just permanently locked yourself out of solving a puzzle.
We used to think this was just part of what IF had to be like. This game was an important historical milestone, but now, we've moved beyond it.
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Recommended ListsPlanetfall appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Games that made me smile by MathBrush
I wanted to do a list of comedy games, but I think people rarely think "I want to play a comedy game"; to me, the phrase brings up some kind of jokey, goofy game, like many of the poorly made Twine games that people make now. Instead,...
PollsThe following polls include votes for Planetfall:
Games with NPCs that tag along by Ghalev
List here any games that feature a (preferably memorable!) "sidekick" character - an NPC who follows the viewpoint character around for most or all of the game, as per Floyd in Planetfall or Trent/Tiffany in Leather Goddesses of Phobos.
Bound by human frailties??? by Stickz
I'm looking for games where the PC is faced with needs like eating, sleeping, and thirst. Unusual inventory limitations. Things that make them appear a little more human.
This is version 5 of this page, edited by pwiecz on 27 November 2015 at 10:35am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item