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Video Game / Schizm: Mysterious Journey

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A First-Person Adventure Game of science-fictional persuasion developed by Detalion Entertainment and published by LK AVALON. Unlike most point and click adventure games, you are able to control two characters rather than one. Released in 2001, Schizm was one of the first adventure games to be released on DVD, though said release was harder to find than its 5-CD version. As obscure as it was at the time, Schizm is now available on

In 2083 the planet Argilus was discovered and found to be abandoned like the Mary Celeste, with doors unlocked and machinery still functioning, but no people. The planet is thus quarantined and three science bases get established, staffed with First Contact-trained science personnel. After they lose contact with Earth, our protagonists, Sam Mainey and Hannah Grant, are sent in on the ship ECS Angel.

The Angel arrives for the first supply drop, but none of the bases respond, even though scans show their channels and systems to be working. Mainey pilots the ship closer, assuming the lack of communication is due to the planet's strong magnetosphere, but after another failed transmission, he tries to call everything off. Then the Angel's primary systems fail, secondaries don't respond, sending the ship sinking into Argilus' gravity well. So the only option left are the emergency escape pods. Mainey and Grant abandon ship and launch their pods, but the course is significantly altered and they land far apart. Which is where you come in.

Schizm provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The game's manual elaborates on the rather dry introduction given at the start of the game, and provides a basic map of Argilus. The international and releases began with a live-action news interview after the adventure had taken place.
  • Alternate Number System: The Argilans use a Base-12 number system, and you have to solve a math problem to derive new coordinates from a set of old ones.
  • Always Night: The Living Ships area appears this way, with a very faint sun on the horizon that never seems to set.
  • Ambiguously Human: The people of Argilus all have triangular markings on their foreheads and only speak in their native tongue, except for two.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The video tablets left behind by the scientists. Some of them were left blank in the CD version, omitting a large amount of backstory.
  • Backtracking: One puzzle involves a notorious amount of this, in which you have to buy oil from a man on the Living Ships and bring it to the temple in Bosh, only to find the dispenser was rigged one unit short, and you have to go back again to get the proper amount, which also requires bringing your partner along to move something while the other retrieves the necessary money hidden behind it.
  • Cool Airship: The catfish-like blimp that Sam fills with gas and uses to leave the Balloon Field.
  • Cool Ship: Hannah commandeers one of the Living Ships, and it is BIG! It even becomes a Cool Spaceship at the end of the game.
  • Covers Always Lie: The box art prominently features one of the large alien balloons where Sam starts, but in-game you only get to explore a very small part of that area.
  • Classified Information: Everything about Argilus was kept top secret after its discovery. Sam and Hannah were supposed to get a Mission Briefing once the previous science team made contact with Earth, but that never happened.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • After a certain conversation, Sam coherently repeats a couple of alien words for Hannah, because he heard those same words in an earlier puzzle. If the roles are switched, Hannah stumbles over those words a bit.
    • Some bits of dialogue are added depending on who's in Bosh, where, and before either of the two meet.
  • Earpiece Conversation: Sam and Hannah can only talk to each other by radio while on Argilus. Bonus points that the earpiece is visible on their pictures in the HUD.
  • The Faceless: In-universe example. When Sam and Hannah finally reunite, they find themselves unable to see or touch each other, but still retain radio contact. The natives and science personnel try to break through this, but only temporarily. You are able to see Sam and Hannah's faces in the lower-right hand corner of the inventory bar, though.
  • Ghost Planet: Argilus seems like this throughout the game. Bonus points for Sam and Hannah calling the appearances of natives and scientists "ghosts".
  • Guide Dang It!: Most of the puzzles within the world of Schizm are solvable from the get-go, but offer no clues about how to do so. Puzzles often require you to push buttons in a random order, open capsules repeatedly, or run around listening to obscure sounds, all while giving you no hint whatsoever that they are needed to solve the puzzle. Handwaved by Angela Davies that some of these puzzles are rituals that Matia needs people to perform.
  • Hard Light: A feature of some of the Living Ships. One puzzle requires extending a row of spikes that create a bridge out of this, and Hannah's ship unfurls its sails using hard light as well.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: Justified for most of the game, as Hannah and Sam record what they say to transmit to each other when they achieve radio contact.
  • Law of Conservation of Detail : To maintain the pre-rendered backgrounds, every elevator or vehicle moves out of sight once the player moves away from them. This actually plays into a couple of puzzles within the game as well.
  • Living Gasbag: The Balloon Field where Sam starts the game.
  • Lost at Sea: In the DVD version, entering an incorrect set of coordinates on either Hannah's Living Ship or Sam's airship ends with either transports being stranded in the middle of the ocean, or later, sending the former straight back to Bosh.
  • Lost in Transmission: On his mission log, Dr. Hoviz tells you to leave, but fails to explain why before the log becomes corrupted and abruptly ends.
  • Meaningful Name: The word "Schism" refers to a divide, or rift between two factions or areas. This fits with how Sam and Hannah began stranded on distant sides of the planet, out of radio range of each other. The main menu screen even shows this before the game starts, with images of the Living Ships and Balloon Field on either side. split by the menu itself.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The outside sections of Bosh are riddled with thin rusty catwalks suspended over enormous drops, without handrails.
  • Organic Technology: The argilan technology is a mix of brass and dials and smooth, organic stuff.
  • Player Character Calculus: You have the option to toggle between controlling Hannah or Sam at any time, and occasionally both of them are needed simultaneously to solve a number of puzzles.
  • Red Herring: Base 1 is Sam and Hannah's original objective, but by the time Sam gets close, all physical means of getting there are absent. Neither of the other two bases are even seen in-game, either.
  • Scenery Porn: Practically everywhere on Argilus.
  • Send in the Search Team: Sam and Hannah are the search team.
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: Done using a set of prayer grinders in Bosh to open a secret door.
  • Starfish Language: See any symbols? Write them down. They do not make any sort of recognizable language, but there's a lot of symbol-based puzzles.
  • Updated Re Release: Subverted as the original DVD release features much-improved graphics, more animations and ghost appearances, a couple of new puzzles, and a better plot, probably thanks to the higher disk space. The CD version was made at the publisher's insistence, comes on 5 CDs and requires a lot of swapping, especially between characters.