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Video Game / Alida The Enigmatic Giant

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Arin: We were so overwhelmed by our success, that we could do anything. And we had the money to do it!

Developed solely by Australian game designer Cos Russo in 1998 and released in 2004, this is a point-and-click adventure/puzzle game, heavily inspired by the Myst series, but mainly Riven.

The premise is unusual: A rock band called Alida had made their debut CD and with that album breaking all previous records by 200%, all 4 members - Arin, Leval, Juno, and Luke - surpassed even Bill Gates by becoming the richest men in the world. Then Juno got a creative idea of building an enormous, fully functional electric guitar that practically rose from the sea, as a theme park named after the band. Nobody could shrug it off, though their manager, Kivas, didn't take them seriously and instead wanted the band to make a new CD. Nonetheless, they contracted several construction companies and engineers to reshape a small island off the coast of Australia, constructed hidden vaults to safeguard their portions of wealth, and built cabins in the island's bay for inspiration.

Juno investigated the island's history and found that Australian outlaws had camped on the island in the past, with bunkers in the south bay fitted with turrets to surprise enemy ships. Around the same time, he'd been investigating a strange underground device called a "Bi-sphere" which theoretically qualified as a teleporter. A year after the island's completion, though, the band had some kind of falling out due to their waning popularity and Kivas entangling their money in black market deals,

But one day, Arin heads back to Alida for reasons unknown. His wife Julia, having not heard back from him for a week, sends you to the island with a necklace that would show her identity and match the one Arin wears. It's up to you to bring Arin back from there.

This game provides examples of:

  • Applied Phlebotinum: Juno has applied the Bi-sphere technology to create trams that can fly and a telescope that can see light years beyond our solar system.
  • Breakup Breakout: The theme park's construction cost the band its popularity, with Kivas urging its members to push for a new album to make up for it. By the time the game takes place, the band has already broken up, having presumably packed up and left the island, which makes Arin's return to it all the more mysterious. Subverted as it's unknown what the other members went on to do after the breakup.
  • Creator Cameo: Cos Russo plays Leval, though you only see his eyes through a peephole in a prison cell. He also has a lengthy interview video on the DVD version.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Kivas. He ensnared the band's money in black market deals that bit him in the ass later on, then tries to fool you into thinking he's his twin brother Arin while working with Leval to break into the main vault where the band stashed all their money. And he trapped Arin in his vault after Arin didn't spill the vault combinations.
  • Dark Is Evil: Arin, the good guy, wears a white T-shirt, while his villain brother has a black one.
  • Dilating Door: The T-Flyers pass through aperture-like doors before teleporting.
  • Disconnected Side Area: The offshore Conservatory has no physical entrance from anywhere on the island, and the only way in is to use the T-flyer that teleports between the Switch and the Conservatory. Similarly, the Jacktower has a Locked Door with no handle, and you have to open it from the other side using the T-flyer near the Potentiometers.
  • Four-Man Band: Literal example, involving a rock band. Each member keeps a portion of the guitar for their own purposes.
    • Arin: Likely the lead vocalist, who's the most musically-focused out of the four. Owns the Switch and the offshore conservatory.
    • Leval: Controls the pickup, where the guitar is actually strummed.
    • Juno: The designer of the guitar, with a passion for scientific research on the side. Keeper of the Potentiometers and the Jacktower.
    • Luke: A guitarist. Not much is known about him. His section is the Peghead.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: The underground Bi-sphere device, which Juno used to convert a number of tram cars into levitating teleporters called T-Flyers.
  • Hologram: Arin has a holographic video journal, and Juno likes to use these in his lock mechanisms.
  • The Ghost: We never do hear what became of Luke or Juno. Kivas mentions that unlike Arin and Leval, they never came back to the island. It's never stated if he planted the printed emails to the members or that they personally received them.
  • Landmark of Lore: A group of derelict houses on the island and a few concrete bunkers in the nearby bay were built by Australian prison outlaws who once lived there. A majority of the village had to be removed during the guitar's construction, though.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: After you get the main vault open, Kivas reveals that he'd been waiting for you to solve the island's puzzles for him, and strands you in the pickup with the elevator stuck on the ground floor.
  • Non Standard Game Over: There aren't that many bad endings, but one interesting one happens if you trust Leval after you open his cell. (you have to to see a clue for a puzzle on the floor) If you go in, he knocks you out cold then locks you in a room with a taunting note on the door.
    "I got you a present in return for releasing me. I brought you a chair, since you're going to be in there for a while. A LONG while. —Leval".
  • The Punishment Is the Crime: If you release Arin from his vault at the end, you have the opportunity to let Kivas enter the main vault after you unlock it; then Arin will reset the lock and trap him inside, which is exactly what Kivas did to him in the first place.
  • Sequel Hook: Under the peghead is a platform with an elevator shaft that can connect to it, and on the platform itself is a button that someone cut the wires on. Arin explains at the end that it opens the way to the main Bi-Sphere device, but this is left open-ended for a sequel.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Many of the puzzles on the island don't have any realistic pertinence to security. An example being: The code to unlock access to Luke's vault is achieved by rotating three small spheres in a certain order.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: Downplayed, since most of the puzzles were designed by a rock band. The entire guitar structure even qualifies as this, as the vault doors which only open by a specific tone are locked in this fashion, along with the button code that turns on their microphones.
  • Spectacular Spinning: The Potentiometers rotate just like real dials, making them look like rotating walls on the inside.
  • Treasure Room: The main vault where the band stashed their wealth. The other vaults around the island are empty, save for one item which bears the combination for its owner's section of the guitar. You can't enter any of them, as two of them have broken locks, and the other two can be unlocked, but Kivas' meddling prevents you from reaching them.
  • Unwinnable by Design: One glaring flaw of this game is the fact that 4 out of the 5 elements of the guitar don't indicate that you've set them correctly. Even when you tune the strings at the peg-head, the video of them being strummed is exactly the same. The one exception is the Switch, which sounds a loud buzzer before it turns to the proper position.
  • Zip Mode: "Rocket Mode", similar to the Trope Namer from Myst.