Iron Seed is a computer game for PC-DOS released in 1994 and developed by Channel VII. The official download, the latest game patch and other game goodies can be acquired in this webpage. It is superficially similar to games like Star Control 2 and Star Flight for being focused on a single space ship that must travel around, talk to various types of aliens, upgrade the ship, and finally defeat some great menace. Its story and atmosphere, on the other hand, are rather different...
Earth is in such terrible shape that to speak of its name is blasphemy. Mars became the new homeworld of humanity. Eventually, a theocracy arose led by the fanatical Ttek Priests. Synths and constructs replaced humans as the main work force, and were suppressed in the Purgation Trials. Synth-sympathizers were charged with any crime that would stick in court. In response, a liberal movement arose, calling themselves the Ironseed Movement, and gathered up a motley bunch of dissidents. The ultimate goal of this movement was to seed other worlds with human life - liberal minds.
They built a ship named the Ironseed and the player chose six individuals to crew it. In order to conserve resources, the crew were stripped of their flesh and encoded into ego-synths controlling the various functions of the Ironseed. The ship was launched, drifted for a very long time (on the order of thousands or even millions of years), and found itself at a planet with a beacon of alien origin. As the Ironseed followed what little evidence of sentient life it could find, it became entangled in a rather interesting take on the Space Opera genre...
This game contains examples of the following:
- Absent-Minded Professor: One of your possible choices for Astrogation: "Despite his age he is physically, and emotionally superior but his lack of common sense can, at times, be a draw back."
- The Assimilator: The Scavengers.
- Awesome, but Impractical: All shields beyond the Quad Shield, and all of the late-game weapons. These use up so much energy that your ship will be unable to move.
- Big Bad: The Scavengers
- Brain Uploading: What happened to the crew of the Ironseed. Some enjoy it and some don't.
- Enemy Mine: As the Scavengers become more threatening, other races who used to attack you on sight will instead start to see things your way.
- Feudal Future: The crew refers to the player as "Leige" and "Laird"
- Frameup: This happened to many of the crew members.
- Hive Mind: The Sengzhac, the Scavengers, and some other races.
- Informed Ability: Some of the crew members are supposed to be incredibly powerful psychics, geniuses, star athletes, etc., but this only translates to slightly different starting stats.
- Japan Takes Over the World: The crew select screen has Hiragana script on top without any explanation.
- Knight Templar: Numerous, including some of your own crew, especially your Psychometrist.
- Mysterious Past: "No evaluation available. Origins questionable. Scheduled for termination." And these are people who you are potentially making responsible for the fate of the universe.
- Planet of Hats: There are some conventional hats (e.g. the Guild are merchants) but there are also some very unique hats (e.g. the Quai worship the number 4).
- Psycho for Hire: A few of your possible crew members.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A possibility for your crew selections.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Numerous, and some of your own crew could also be classified as this.
- Single-Biome Planet: As is typical of the genre, although the biomes have a bit more of a scientific basis in this game.
- Starfish Aliens: Hooooooo boy, where to begin... although there are also some more conventional species of aliens.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: Many of the late-game quests are based on whether or not you have certain unique weapons in your ship's inventory.
- Title Drop: Iron Seed is the name of a lot of different things. And it is also the name of a quest item, as well as the name of what's left in a star's core after it goes supernova.
- Unwinnable by Design: Attacking the homeworld of the Scavengers before you have completed all the quests.