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Video Game / Notrium

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You're an intrepid space captain, one of the last humans left, exploring the galaxy.

You're an android warp engineer, having secretly modified yourself to achieve sentience.

You're the ship's medical officer, a powerful psychic alien of an unknown race.

You're an Alien stowed away in the ventilation systems.

Whatever you were, now you've crashlanded on the planet of Notrium, shot down by a mysterious automated missile defense system.

Notrium is a Freeware Survival Sandbox game for PC by Ville Mönkkönen, first released in 2003. There, the player must gather food, fight off hostile alien predators, and survive the freezing cold nights, all whilst trying to gather the scattered remains of technology from your destroyed spaceship to cobble together something to defend yourself with.

Will you repair your escape pod and flee the planet? Send a distress beacon for help? Or will you discover the secrets of planet Notrium?

The game can be downloaded from its official website here, along with a couple mods that add functionality to the game. In 2015, the game received a commercial Special Surprise Edition on Steam.

Notrium features examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Survivor: The Captain is hardly an action hero, punching things hurts him as well as his target, and he has the second lowest health of the characters.
  • As You Know: Many important tidbits of information, including incredibly important item crafting recipes, are revealed to the player through character journals viewed over the passage of in-game time. This can lead to a situation where a new player unfamiliar with combinations can be holding all the ingredients to create a temperature regulating Stasis Tent, and then die of hypothermia because the character hasn't told themself the recipe yet.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Welding Torch. It never runs out of ammo (one of the only weapons that doesn't use it), does more damage and has a longer range than punching (and if you're the Captain, it doesn't hurt you to use it), and can break open storage containers containing valuable survival supplies.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Possibly why dying of thirst is one of the only things that isn't in the game.
  • Commonplace Rare: Justified, marooned on an alien planet, things like basic rations, lighters and bullets are all hard to find and invaluable.
  • Green Hill Zone: Eden is a massive subversion. It's so bright and cheery, with beautiful scenery and foliage, the perfect temperature for life and rain that heals you on contact. Oh, and that plant life? Unless you're the Psychic, it's poisonous and absolutely trying to murder you, and the tentacles of...something...beneath the place are coming up to finish the job. You might want to get out as quickly as possible and go somewhere safer, like maybe the Hive.
  • Death World: Notrium is not a nice place. The majority of the place is infested with hostile alien life, there's very little food except for said alien life (and some fungus, half of which is rotten), and the hive of the alien queens is not the most dangerous area on the map by a fair margin.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: You can die from heat stroke, hypothermia, starvation, torn apart by aliens, shot down by missiles, electrocuted by robots, or even burned to death before you even manage to set foot on the planet.
  • Game Mod: The game is highly moddable and has several of the more prominent mods hosted by the creator.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The Alien can win in the same ways as anyone else, including using the radio to call a passing ship for help, which makes very little sense for a predatory hunting beast.
  • Guide Dang It!: Many of the game's most powerful recipes are rather obscure. The pulse laser, in particular, is made from a laser pistol (which is pretty easy to build and told to you in the description for light diodes) and a glass marble, which can only be made with sand from the missile base and must be "U" used around a fire with a welding torch in your hand. There is nothing in the game that would guide you to this conclusion, and as glass marbles are an essential ingredient to omni-directional light diodes and advanced turrets. Pulse lasers are also essential for making the laser shotgun, and are essential when fighting some of the more powerful baddies in Notrium.
  • Item Crafting: Vital to every character. Most equipment must be created from scratch from salvaged materials.
  • Mega-Corp: Ville Corp, which is plundering the wealth of the planet, and their mercenaries are not happy with your presence.
  • More Dakka: The Pulse Laser and Machine Pistol are all about this.
  • Nintendo Hard: You will die many, many times.
  • Psychic Powers: The Psychic has them.
  • Roguelike: Shares many similarities, though a non-turn based example.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Alien is an egg-laying female.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Averted. Whilst the Pebble Shotgun is a decent weapon (and requires very few resources, which is important), it deals fairly low damage compared to other guns. Justified, since it shoots pebbles.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The Sniper Pistol - you have to make the gun from scratch, and manufacture every bullet by hand, but it takes down most things on the planet in one shot. It's also useful for Recoil Boost.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The Psychic's entire game experience is radically different from the game's other characters, as he cannot carry items, use weapons or make use of most items of technology, making his game experience so different, he even gets his own version of the game's tutorial.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: As android, human, or psionic, you can find little bases guarded by turrets and with stasis fields for you to use. These bases will contain some of the people from your ship, and can and will follow you. They ask if you have a better secured base for them to use, as the one they have won't last long. You can take them to safety.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can drag these allies to alien-filled deathtraps and leave them to die. When you first land on the planet, you're confronted with an angry hermit, whose house your escape pod landed on. You can either give him some of your scavenged survival supplies or....
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: For the Captain only, killing the Hermit deprives you of the chance of getting the best ally in the game. On a lesser note, kill the hermit, and his bloody body will stay on the ground where you killed him forever. If you intend to use his house as a base, it can be quite sad to see it.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Alien intends to use the planet as its base to create a conquering brood.
  • Weak, but Skilled: For its race, the Alien. A journal entry mentions that it was born small, weak and unfit, and had to use cunning and guile to defend itself from the other members of its brood who wanted to kill it.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: This was one of the earlier PC games to make scavenging for food and water a crucial part of its gameplay.