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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.


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 completely useless 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.
  • Full Motion Video
  • MST: Courtesy of The Spoony Experiment in a full review.
    "If your movie is worse than Stealth, you got problems."
  • 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: A notoriously ill-thought out one. It consisted of a series of animated symbols, some of which were similar to each other (but animated differently. - How do you write an animation down?) And if that wasn't bad enough, the game allowed you only a limited amount of time to write the password down.
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  • 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.