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Video Game / Nomad

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Box art for European distribution
Nomad (1993) is a Wide-Open Sandbox DOS game developed by Papyrus Design Group and Intense! Interactive, and published by GameTek. The player takes the role of a human starship pilot (and Crew of One) who is recruited by benevolent alien races to aid them in the fight against the Korok, who are a Killer Robot race of war machines. The friendly alien species include the Arden, Chanticleer, Musin, Pahrump, and Ursor, with supporting roles in the story filled by the Phelonese, Shaasa, Bellicosian, Kenelm, and Altec Hocker. Most of these fall into the category of Humanoid Aliens, and essentially all of them think that humans look strange.

The game engine renders with a Sprite/Polygon Mix.

This game provides examples of:
  • 2-D Space: Although the game engine does actually allow movement and rendering in true 3D space, spacecraft movement is locked to a 2D plane, since apparently Space Is an Ocean.
  • Aliens Love Human Food: Specifically, chocolate. When starting out (and when rebuilding after defeat), the game always provides the player with five chocolate bars to bootstrap their space trading career. Aliens are willing to trade shield generators and starship engines for some chocolate.
  • Aliens Speaking English: All of the aliens speak their own languages (with the exception of the Kenelm, who communicate with the player's character telepathically in English). Comprehension isn't a problem, because the computer in the player's ship automatically translates. Subverted with the Shaasa race, whose language can't easily be translated since it's based on chemical odors.
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  • Angelic Aliens: The Chanticleer, especially in their appearance and sound of their voices. Being aloof and detached, they also have certain characteristics of the Proud Scholar Race.
  • Cat Folk: The Phelonese, complete with smug sense of superiority.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Both the Korok and Bellicosian ships are coloured magenta, making it easy for the player to tell (even at a distance) that they're an enemy vessel.
  • Conveniently Close Planet: It's completely trivial to travel between planets in a star system, or between star systems. This happens using Faster-Than-Light Travel, and upon arrival at your destination, you will find all other ships at that location to be within close visible range on the same side of the planet, where they fly about seemingly unencumbered by the planet's gravity.
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  • Covert Group: The Organization of Earth's Special Intelligence (O.E.S.I.)
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Although we're never shown a city on any of the planets in the game, the Chanticleer civilization is very obviously in this phase. All of their technology seems to be based on crystals, to the point where their home is an artificial crystalline space station orbiting a black hole.
  • Deflector Shields: Used by both the player's ship and alien vessels.
  • The Dreaded Dreadnought: Despite it using the same 3D model and coloring as a standard Korok Cruiser, the MasterShip is in an entirely different class.
  • Enemy Scan: The successively more powerful scanners reveal more data about enemy vessels, including their class, captain, and armament.
  • Energy Beings: The Altec Hocker.
  • Explosions in Space: Complete with fireball and noise.
  • Featureless Protagonist: We never hear the player's character speak, and the only images of him depict a person wearing a pressure suit and a helmet with a dark visor that obscures any detail. Indeed, an early copy of the game contains different cutscenes where the player is depicted as a Caucasian male, but this was reverted in favor of a fully anonymous character.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: All ships in the game.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The game allows the player to name both the player's character and his ship (which is actually just a crashed alien vessel.)
  • Hive Mind: The Altec Hocker. Although, in this case, each individual specializes in a particular area of study.
  • Homing Projectile: The only weapons in the entire game are one of four missile types (Hunter, Death Strike, Crystal Velos, and Quietus).
  • Joke Item: Car keys, a twenty dollar bill, a wristwatch, and a "Company Badge" (which, for reasons unexplained, is a pair of bunny ears).
  • Leitmotif: Each alien species gets a unique musical theme that plays when you encounter them.
  • My Brain Is Big: Suggested by the transparent cranium and visible brain of the Kenelm, although the Altec Hocker would suggest that the Kenelm aren't actually that clever and are going about things all wrong.
  • One-Gender Race: The Chanticleer, who are all female clones of one another.
  • Palette-Swapped Alien Food: Many of the tradeable items are similar to human food, but with strange coloration.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Bellicosian. Not exactly evil, but eager to destroy you in battle because their culture encourages combat.
  • Precursors: The Losten civilization.
  • Robot Buddy: The resource-harvesting Labor Bots, although some have more pleasant AI personalities than others.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Shaasa, in contrast to the game's usual reliance on Humanoid Aliens.
  • Telepathic Spacemen: The Kenelm, for whom telepathy appears to be the only form of communication.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Korok, who are eventually revealed to have been created by an ancient civilization to act as servants.
  • Ursine Aliens: The Ursor.


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