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Video Game / Microcosm

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Microcosm is a video game published by Psygnosis, released on PC and Sega CD. It was heavily advertised to being a game that verges on being both a fully interactive video game with Hollywood-style visuals and an interactive movie with the play-ability of any video game. The PC version especially makes sure to advertise it very well, as well as make its packaging stand out broadly (a square donut-shaped box with the game in the middle). If you persevere past its marketing and its attempt to sell itself to your face, you'll find that it's a bad to mediocre Rail Shooter similar to Star Wars: Rebel Assault. On top of being frustrating, it is littered with poor design choices and eventually fell into obscurity.

The story revolves around two companies- Axiom and Cybertech- who are at war with one another in a cyberpunk future. Axiom's scientists kidnap Cybertech's CEO and inject him with microscopic robots. The player controls a submarine pilot who is shrunk to microscopic size and injected into the CEO's bloodstream to save him from the nanobots.

Oh, and there's a small novel's worth of completely pointless information about the history of an entire fictional solar system in the instruction booklet for some reason.

The game later received a pseudo-sequel in the form of Novastorm.

Back in the late 90s, this game was packaged with fellow 90s-arcade actioner Ultraverse Prime by SEGA as a 2-in-1 deal.

Microcosms contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Every piece of information about the game's back story around the two warring companies is in the manual, along with several pages of information about the game's setting that has nothing at all to do with the gameplay. The backstory is the length of a couple short stories. Both PC and Sega CD versions.
  • Non Standard Game Over: If you fail the chase level by not shooting down the renegade ship in time, it will go to blow up the CEO's heart, killing him and failing the mission, regardless of how many lives you have left.
  • Password Save: The password system consists of a series of animated symbols, some of which are similar to each other, but animated differently. This, along with the limited amount of time to do so, makes writing passwords down more difficult.
  • Reformulated Game: The 3DO/FM Towns Marty, Sega CD, DOS and Amiga CD 32 versions have different level design and assets.
  • One-Hit Kill: The second phase of the final boss has an instant kill move.
  • Tech-Demo Game: The mixture of FMV backgrounds with overlaid sprites was the game's main selling point.