Video Game / Starship Titanic

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/256px-Starship_Titanic_box_art.jpg
Fancy a free cruise?
"Bing-Bong! We regret to announce that the ship is hurtling out of control through hyperspace. All passengers with insurance queries, please contact your ticket vendors."
The ever-helpful announcer

"Well, the ship has lost its mind, and so has most of its crew, including me..."
Edmund Lucy Fentible, DoorBot

The brain child of Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), Starship Titanic is a point and click adventure game set aboard an intergalactic cruise ship. The game opens with the ship crashing into your house, and before you know it, it turns out someone has lobotomised the main computer, the ship is adrift in space and it's up to you to fix things.

There is still a functional website that can be found here. There is also a novelization of the game by Pythonite Terry Jones, who claims to only having agreed to Adams' proposal to write said book if he could write it in the nude. Which he supposedly did.

Not to be confused with two other starships named Titanic.

See this post if you're trying to run the game on windows 7. (Though be aware that the patches for versions 1.00.42a and 1.00.42b will no longer be available on Starship Titanic's main site. They can still be accessed through their archived versions here for a and here for b) Also available at gog.com if you don't like the hassle.


This game provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: The Maître d'Bot has an "Achilles' Buttock," which must be prodded repeatedly before he will let you look at Scraliontis' corpse.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Once you bring the ingredients for the BarBot's cocktail to him, the mixing process fries his circuits and forces his personality to default to that of a happy drunk.
  • All There in the Manual: The website for Starlight Travel, the company that supposedly built the Starship Titanic (now defunct but available on the Internet Archive), contains some concept art, design plans, maintenance reports, Brobostigon's diary, and even a calculator for various currencies in the Starship Titanic universe. The maintenance reports range from routine inspections and inter-company bickering all the way through to funny.
    Opportunity: Navoplex test run parametrically satisfactory but whining noise heard after system shutdown.
    Action: Yossa gan Hoorgnote  removed from Bridge area. Whining noise ceased.
  • All Up to You: True, you occasionally persuade the bots to help, but it's an uphill struggle. Fentible tries to justify this in the intro, saying that because Titania was dismantled, the side effect made all of the robots unable to figure out the problems on board the ship.
  • Control Room Puzzle: With a pretty star field.
  • Cool Starship: It's a hotel In Space.
  • Creator Cameo: Turn on your television at the beginning, and Douglas Adams himself will appear on the screen and tell you to get on with the game. He also voices the Succ-U-Bus, the ship's artificially intelligent pneumatic-tube system. And plays Leovinus, the Titanic's designer, in a recording near the end of the game.
  • Cutting the Knot: One of the four main elevators isn't working, and one of the puzzles is figuring out how to access it. The official strategy guide advises you to use other lifts to hoist the broken one to the top. It's far easier just to work out which floor the elevator's on and take another one there.
  • Dilating Door: The ship has two, the one visible in the intro and the door to the arboretum, which 'grows' open and closed.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: The nature of the warnings on the three inspection hatches to a fuse box:
    Danger unbelievably high voltage!!! No user servicable parts inside.
    You really shouldn't have opened the first inspection plate!!! This is not only fantastically dangerous, but you are voiding your warranty.
    Don't say you weren't warned!!!
  • Fake Arm Disarm: Leovinus and Scraliontis used two of the Maître D-bot's limbs to fight each other, and eventually smashed the whole thing apart when landing on it. This didn't affect the robot much, though, as he can still wiggle his components even when separated. Played straighter in the game when you have to actually steal his arms, and get him to relax to let go of the things they're holding.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Which allows a ship from the other side of the galaxy to crash into your house.
  • Featureless Protagonist: We only have the Robots' assurance that we're even human. Nobby addressing you as 'Sir' may imply that you're male; then again, he just as often refers to you as "Sir, Madam or Thing".
  • Feelies: The game originally came packaged with a pair of 3D red/blue glasses and a physical copy of the Super-Galactic Traveler Magazine.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • Personal Electronic Thing, a combination of keyring, Bag of Holding, remote control, staff pager and conversation log.
    • Spontaneous Massive Existance Failure. The ship sailed from its space dock with great fanfare and promptly vanished.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The game spanned multiple CD-ROMs. Some batches went out with the final disc in the set missing. Okay, not technically a bug, par se, but certainly game-breaking. This is due to there being an ACTUAL game breaking bug on the final disk in the first printing that was missing a file that had the game's interface with their Personal Electronic Thing which is necessary to do anything with your inventory or even save/quit the game!
  • Gargle Blaster: The BarBot asks for your help in making a fairly nasty one. Interestingly, if you ask him for an actual Gargle Blaster, he replies "Nobody likes a smart-ass". This is, in fact, a hint.
  • Ghost Ship: You, a flock of starlings, and a very vocal parrot are the only living things on-board.
  • Gratuitous French: The Maitre'd-bot does this almost every time he talks to you.
  • Guide Dang It: One review dubbed the game's difficulty "Impossible unless you're the author or telepathic". In particular, one feature of the PET is very easily overlooked - the ability to manually enter room codes in the 'Designer Room Numbers' menu. It's necessary to use this feature to find which one First Class stateroom out of a couple hundred is of interest to you.
  • Hammerspace: The PET inventory. This extends to the Succ-U-Bus item delivery system; no matter the size of the item, it will always compress into a cylinder the size of a drinks can that the Succ-U-Bus can swallow. This includes everything in size from napkins through to Antar Brobostigon, the project manager.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Occasionally, while you're in the bar, the parrot will interject with a Hey, Barman joke - from the other side of the ship.
  • The Key Is Behind the Lock: In order to obtain a hammer, you need to press a button with a long stick. However, in order to obtain a long stick behind glass, you must break the glass with a hammer. Fortunately, there's a parrot perch that you can use in place of the long stick. Unfortunately, the perch isn't quite long enough to get the lemon. You can, however, use it to get the hammer you'll need to break the glass and get the long stick.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Played with throughout the game.
    • Whenever an item can be taken that turns out to be one of Titania's body parts, a new one instantly grows back.
    • Brobostigon handwaves this in one of his emails: Each body part has a security chip called the "Metamor" that causes the item to change shape when removed from Titania's core.
    • Averted in some places. There are doors on the First Class decks that don't go anywhere, there are thousands of cabins on the ship, but only three are of interest to you in any one playthrough, and nothing ever plays on TV channel 1.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The game originally came on three CDs. CD 3 is generally only used for the opening and the ending of the game, but once you reach First Class, this starts happening a lot, as all of the First Class areas - including the Bar, which is a Second Class area - require a change over to CD 1.
  • Long List: The list of items pulled out of the Succ-U-Bus system on the Starlight Lines engineering log. These include:
    1,271 items of wearing apparel
    1 small ambassador
    1 copy "Bluffers' Guide to Control Engineering" (battered)
    1 death threat from Save The Nauga Association (unsigned)
    1 bundle love letters (Authenticated sender: Your tinky-winky Frou-Frou sugar-wugar kissy-poo, presumed to be an alias)
    1 showgirl from the Hotel Gat Girls Girls Girls Tropicana Lounge 'n' Bar Girls Girls Girls (bewildered but stoical)
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Played straight with Marsinta giving you your room number, which is generally randomized per play. You're presented with an extensive check-in conversation in which you carefully pick your room, what kind of breakfast and newspaper you get, what type of bed you've got, where the room is situated... and then you get slapped with a Super Galactic Traveller Class room, of which there are hundreds and they all look exactly the same. Averted with Nobby in the elevator, however.
  • Magic Countdown: Parodied. The bomb, once armed, would begin to audibly count down, get distracted and lose its place and have to start over. A lot. Even if you arm it and walk away, it won't actually blow up until you complete the game.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Of course you need to cover the chicken in mustard sauce before you send it...
    • This is Lampshaded by one of the programmers in the strategy guide:
      Adam Shaikh (programmer): "'Well, obviously, the parrot will only eat chicken without tomato sauce - it would be stupid otherwise.' These were not the thoughts of a normal person."
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on whether or not you disarmed the bomb or not.
    • There is a third ending in the game files with fireworks, implied to be the 'good' end (where the available endings are the 'neutral' and 'bad' endings).
  • No Animals Were Harmed: According to the credits no starlings were harmed in the creation of the game.
  • Nobody Poops: At least, nobody of the upper classes, anyway. There are toilets in the Super Galactic Traveller Class rooms (which double as clothes washers) but conspicuously absent throughout the rest of the ship, including in the Second and First Class rooms.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: Played for Laughs in the pellerator, where just about the only thing that is allowed is standing or sitting with a perfectly passive expression.
    Marsinta: Don't get drunk in the bar, don't annoy the musicians, don't fiddle with the pellerator, don't touch the artwork, and if you go up to the promenade deck, don't scuff the woodwork. There you are, and it's better than you deserve. Lousy freeloaders.
    • Naturally, you end up doing all of this anyway.
  • Obvious Beta: In-Universe, this is the state of some parts of the ship. In particular, the ballroom is full of scaffolding, and the accessible area of the Promenade Deck is tiny, the rest of it being undecked and otherwide unfinished.
  • Old Soldier: Nobby, the LiftBot. Shout-Out to real life - ex-servicemen lift operators used to be a common sight in the UK.
    Nobby: Between ourselves I'd rather be trotting up the ha'aqa bin-j'Jabbli in my p'narma hat, heading for the rebel headquarters with a grenade under my q'jinjan.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Averted where it comes to the item system. It is possible to lose items in the Succ-U-Bus system, but a system exists in-game to help you recover them.
    • However, if you don't replace the parrot's perch after obtaining the central core, the parrot will leave and you'll never see him again.
    • Pulling the lever in the Creators' Chamber once you give it power disables the energy beams keeping the creators' busts in the air, destroying them for good.
  • Player Nudge: All over the place.
    (fiddling with a bowl of liquorice) Not a bowl of pistachio nuts.
    BarBot: (while standing in front of Titania's vision centre) "Have you found Titania's vision centre yet?"
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: There is a talking parrot on board, located in the unfinished ballroom. It belonged to one of the people building the ship. He also apparently has an (invisible) microphone, as he can on occasion be heard cracking jokes whilst you're on the other side of the ship.
  • Reality Ensues: In order to get the parrot to move, you have to bribe him with chicken. It's fairly easy to grab a chicken from the lower decks and carry it all the way to the parrot, but by the time you get there it's cold, and obviously the parrot doesn't like cold chicken...
    • Really, the whole game has Douglas Adams' own take on this trope in spades.
  • Recursive Reality: After inserting a disc into your computer to start the game, one of the things you must then do is insert a Starship Titanic disc into your computer to start the game.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Starship Titanic: Titanic IN SPACE!
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Mostly averted, many of the robots look like furniture or art work.
  • Robot Girl / Spaceship Girl: Well, woman, whom her creator is in love with; also the main computer.
  • Rube Goldberg Machine: Though there aren't any actual machines on board, the puzzles often follow the logic of Rube Goldberg's contraptions.
  • Same Face, Different Name: The voice of the Bomb is credited to "Kim Bread", but it is unmistakably John Cleese.
  • Sanity Slippage: The Barbot after a particularly powerful cocktail and the Doorbot at random times during conversation.
  • Scenery Porn: The Art Deco inspired locations are mostly static, but wonderful to look at.
  • Schizo Tech: In a giant spaceship that can travel faster than light there is a pneumatic tube delivery system and phonograph cylinders for music.
    • In the novel, Leovinus made the Succ-U-Bus system that way for safety reasons, although because corners were cut, they're not as smart as they were supposed to be.
  • Sidenote Full Story: The whole story began as a footnote in Life, the Universe, and Everything, the third book in the Hitchhiker's series.
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: There is a bomb on board, in Titania's chambers. The button labeled "Press to disarm bomb" actually arms the thing. If you don't disable it before beating the game, the ship blows up in the ending.
  • Spoiler Cover: It had a strange twist on this: one particular puzzle, in the Music Room, can be easily solved by looking at the back of the game box, where the screenshot of that room shows the puzzle completed. However, this isn't a spoiler... it's the correct way to complete the puzzle, apart from the easy-to-miss fabric pattern of two chairs in the same room.
  • Starship Luxurious: Of course, since it's a cruise ship in space. Developer quotes in the strategy guide say they were intentionally trying to make the interior look like a hotel rather than a spaceship.
    • Played with. You have to work your way up to First Class Passenger in order to solve the mystery, and your surroundings become increasingly luxurious as you advance through the game.
  • Stop Poking Me!: Repeatedly clicking on the bomb after arming it will cause it to become increasingly annoyed, eventually screaming at the player that "NO! MEANS! NO!" before breaking down sobbing. You can annoy it even further by hitting the glass-shielded button with a hammer you pick up later. Also, prodding the Maitre d'Bot's "Achilles' buttock" results in this.
  • Surfer Dude: The personality of Krage the bellbot.
  • Tempting Fate: Starship Titanic, The ship that cannot possibly go wrong. Both Fentible and Marsinta comment on the irony, the former with embarrassment, the latter with derision.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Marsinta, the sarcastic, deliberately unhelpful DeskBot becomes extremely kind and gentle once you recalibrate her off-kilter personality settings.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • One of the ingredients for the Titanic Titillator is Puree of Starling. You get it by sucking a flock of starlings into a giant ventilation fan.
    • It's perfectly possible - and required - to put the Parrot into your inventory and send him through the Succ-U-Bus item delivery system.

The novelization has the further examples of:

  • Alternate Continuity: Rather obvious for the story itself, but one of the glaring points different from the game is how Scraliontis died: Where here he falls down the Central Well, in the game he died in a bowl of food in the 1st class restaraunt during the fight with Leovinus.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Nettie wears a Gap shirt which exposes her midriff.
  • Disney Villain Death: Scraliontis falls to his death when he makes the mistake of leaning on a railing when attacked by the parrot, as they were poorly made due to cutting corners in the starship's development to "finish" it.
  • Heel Realization: As he is unable to communicate with Earthlings, Leovinus can only pass time in his cell in Oxfordshire police station by pondering his life, and comes to realization about how much of a bad person he has become.
  • Hero of Another Story: The Yassaccan who looks over the captured protagonists is revealed to be a leader of Yassaccan smuggling ring, who joined the others to board the starship in hopes of securing loot afterwards. As soon as this is revealed, the book notes that this is "an another story" and he isn't mentioned again.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": By an ancient law, Blerontinian journalists are deemed to only go by as "The Journalists", in order to make sure that a "cult of personality" doesn't build around them.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: When Lucy tells her name to The Journalist, he tells her that in his language her name is really funny, but refuses to tell her what it means.
  • Insurance Fraud: Starship's investors Scraliontis and Brobostigon arranged the ship's disappearance and upcoming detonation to collect its insurance money, as its massive scale proved to be a financial failure. This is also hinted at in the game's emails.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: When Lucy meets The Journalist for the first time, she finds him covered (in his own) blood and investigating Scraliontis's corpse. She comes to conclusion that he is murderer. The fact that he ties her down after she tries to run away from him doesn't help matters.
  • Planet of Hats: Yassacca, which hat is building and repairing things. When a group of them attack the starship, they fire on it, and fix it immediately afterwards.
  • Pre-Climax Climax: Thinking that the ship is about to blow up, Lucy jumps The Journalist's bones.
  • Reverse Mole: In the end, the parrot is revealed to be an undercover agent working for the Yansaccans.
  • Similarly Named Works: Used In-universe. While being interrogated by Bolfass, The Journalist tells him that he can only give him his name, rank and number. Bolfass then tells him that "this isn't The Great Escape". A footnote regarding this statement tells that he refers to similarly named and plotted Yassaccan film. Which also stars Steve McQueen.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Early in the book, Nettie is held as a blonde bimbo. Then it turns out she is really smart, and gets even smarter when she is sucked into the black hole in the starship's engine room.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/StarshipTitanic