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Martian Gothic: Unification (a.k.a. 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 (aka firq) .

Story

In Martian Gothic, the player is able to assume the roles of three characters sent from Earth to a Martian base 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 that the base hides a horrible secret.

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 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 PC to bring up a list of the contents of every hatch, including ones that have not been accessed yet.

In terms of gameplay and 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.

Uncovering Past Events

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.

Characters

  • Kenzo Uji: Kenzo, looked upon by some as a "techno-zen hippy" is an infomesh expert.


  • Martin Karne: Martin, the "security escort" of the crew, arrives by his own free will in search of his ex-wife, Judith Harroway, after losing his son.


  • Diane Matlock: An advanced scientist who has been enlisted should the cause of the radio silence be somehow related to a bio-hazard. She has some friends on Vita 1, which might have contributed to her decision to join the crew.


  • MOOD: The computer of Vita base. She has her own personality and reacts differently to each character. MOOD knows everything on the base and will usually give passwords to Kenzo. At the end of the PC game, in a cutscene which is not included in the Playstation version, MOOD reveals that she "is free of her network of circuits" and released from her "cage of wires". This may imply and speculate that she is not actually a computer program. This theory would also be backed-up by the fact that, maybe even in the year 2019, current technology cannot possibly give a computer a free will and personality.


  • Ben Gunn / Dr. John Farr: Dr. Farr, an experienced biologist, was working on a vaccine should ever a biohazard arise. However, he abandoned the experiment and decided to hide in the Kitchen during the outbreak, where he seems to have become completely insane. At times, he can become possessed by the "cold spirit of Mars."


  • Judith Harroway: Judith Harroway was the Vita project director. Towards the beginning of the game, the player hears her emergency transmission, which ends in her saying, "STAY ALONE! STAY ALIVE! AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE...", the transmission being cut off there. On some of the other computers around the base, the player can choose to listen to her pre-disaster day logs, in which she speaks of some type of technological breakthrough.


Enemies

  • NonDead: The dead Vita Base 1 crew and colonists have all been revived by an ancient martian strain of bacteria. However, it is unknown how Rigor Mortis has been avoided. The NonDead are the bloody mouthed creatures which would be zombie corpses.


  • TriMorph: Varying in size, these creatures contain faces of the deceased on their skin and seem weak against hydrochloric acid. The TriMorphs can produce offspring when exposed to hot and humid climate conditions, to create large spider-like creatures, known as Extrudes. The TriMorphs are huge animals with big claws, and generally pounce after the player. The Trimorph has in his body the faces of the three persons who were assimilated to form it, hence the name TriMorph.


  • Extrude: Large spider-like beings. They are very fast and attack by using their front legs to stab. They can also spit poison. The Extrudes are the result of Tri-Morphs being exposed to hot humid conditions.


  • Ghost: Months before the events of the game, a Vita 1 base member died and was buried on the Mars surface. However, his spirit had been brought back, by the "cold spirit of Mars". He seems to be harmless and does not attempt to hurt anyone; he just hovers in front of doorways, blocking the path to several places. There are 3 other ghosts which have also been resurrected.


  • Kurakarak / The Sovereign: The Kurakarak, who also call themselves "The Sovereign", are the ancient race who once occupied Mars before becoming extinct. However, some Martian DNA strains managed to survive for billions of years in an underground tomb, referred to as "Pandora's Box" by Judith Harroway, which had been opened by the Vita 1 base crew. The martian bacteria strain then invaded the base, killed most members of the crew, and re-animated the bodies to transform them into NonDead, or mutate some into TriMorphs.


  • Queen Mab: Although its actual gender and real name are not known, Queen Mab is the very last of the Kurakarak species. It has survived by sealing itself away in an organic cocoon, which has widely been mistaken by the crew as a tomb, which they dubbed "The Regal Tomb" or "Pandora's Box". When the organism awoke, it released Kurakarak DNA strains from its ancestors.


Locations

  • Vita 1: A research base developed and constructed by the Allenby Corporation and Earth Control. The crew of Vita 1 was organised to research alien life and microfossil bacteria after discovering a meteorite from Mars that actually contained living bacteria. Vita 1 is located on the Mars surface, near "Olympus Mons". The crew had drilled into the Mars crust, where they discovered an ancient Kurakarak city, laid in ruins, which they named "Necropolis".


  • Necropolis: Under the constructed Vita 1 base, the old Kurakarak city of Necropolis is laid in ruins. The Necropolis resembles a maze which has 4 areas; "The Pit", "The Dome", "The Altar" and "The Regal Tomb".


The Pit is a volcanic vent sculptured by the Kurakarak, which ventilates gases from the biggest volcano in the Solar System; Olympus Mons.

The Dome is a large room which looks like an indoor arena, with a dome-shaped roof. The crew of Vita 1 set their main Necropolis base here.

The Altar, also described by Matlock as a "Martian Gothic Cathedral", is a large sculpture with an unknown purpose. However, it is known that it produces music when activated, can electrocute anyone standing on it, emits a strange form of light energy, and can change things.

The Regal Tomb is beyond the giant pillar, Obelisk, where Queen Mab of the Kurakarak lies in her own organic shell.

  • Mars Surface: The surface of Mars isn't explored much; but the Vita 1 crew created a small cemetery where the ghosts originate from.


  • Olympus Mons: Although extinct, Olympus Monsmarker is the biggest volcano in the Solar System. It is reported to be three to four-times bigger than Mt. Everest of Earth. It is not accessible, but a volcanic vent releasing gases from Olympus Mons is.


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