Starship Titanic Revisited
In 1998, IGN gave this game a measly 4.9/10 and I think it’s about time we set the record straight. Back then, everyone was swooning over the new Leonardo DiCaprio’s boyish curtains and murdering Céline Dion’s – “Your Heart Will Go On”, everyone had gone Titanic crazy, it was everywhere. You couldn’t turn the TV on without a documentary or ham-drama thrown together, depicting the unfortunate disaster that took place on that eventful night.
And so, you can’t completely blame the reviewer for ripping this game a new one really, especially as the “Titanic: Adventure Out of Time” point-and-click had been released two years prior in 1996, and fitted into exactly the same genre as Starship. I get it, there is only so much Titanic one person can take before they throw their toys out of the pram, but this was a Douglas Adams. The man who wrote one of the most acclaimed comedy books ” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and whose writing career stretches as far back as the Monty Python’s Flying Circus, surely a man of this league doesn’t deserve a mere 4.9?
I’m spending a year dead for tax reasons
It was a brilliant game, someone really needs to remaster this or at least have it playable on Steam again. It came out in the golden era of point-and-click adventure games, like the Broken Sword series and Grim Fandango, and did it in a completely unique way. The storyline was thin on the ground, with the ship having gone through a “Spontaneous Massive Existence Failure” and in need of repair, and it is never really revealed in great detail how all this happened – or how to remotely go about fixing it, for that matter. But that’s not really the point of this game, with a cast line up of Terry Jones and the likes of John Cleese, and backed by the ingenious character depth the late, great Douglas Adams is so famous for, what you have is nothing short of a little masterpiece.
And in true form to doing things differently, the game was released alongside a novel called “Douglas Adams’s Starship Titanic”. The title received mixed reviews, with many people pointing out that Terry Jones’ writing style, while humorous, was a third-string in comparison to Douglas Adams’ style. The book is available for free online, with all the words in alphabetical order.
“John Cleese – as the Bomb” – It is advised not to poke the bomb with the stick..
Playing to its strengths, this game is not only aesthetically pleasing, with the Art Deco saturated through to every nook and cranny, but also one of the few to house a conversation engine – the 90’s version of today’s Siri. Douglas Adams sat down with The Digital Village to make over 10,000 responses for the engine, and when played back-to-back it would span over 14 hours. For a game that was from a time where you would be stopped mid-story and prompted to “insert disc 1” to carry on to the next chapter, it’s a pretty impressive feat.
If you can put up with the complete lack of guidance a point-and-click usually bakes in, and the absolute loneliness of being the only human on the whole ship, and the utter frustration of having to go over and over again the same ground until you finally figure out what you need to do next – then you won’t go wrong with this slightly surreal, completely satirical British take on how a computer game should be made.