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Video Game / The Daedalus Encounter

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The Daedalus Encounter is a point-and-click Full Motion Video interactive movie, released by Mechadeus in 1995 on the PC and 3DO, notable for being one of the first games to be released on DVD-ROM.

In 2135, humanity's first interstellar war is winding down, between humans and the Vakkar aliens. You play as Casey O'Bannon, gunner on one of the frontline fighter ships alongside Ariel "Ari" Matheson and Zack Smith. When one of the Vakkar ships is destroyed, the crew has to abandon ship before debris destroys it. Unfortunately, Casey's Escape Pod was hit by some of the debris. Casey is revived as a "Brain in a Box" two months later after which the war is over, and is brought on board the salvage ship Artemis to look for valuables left over from the war. An unfortunate warp causes the Artemis to get lodged in a unidentified alien ship heading for a nearby sun. With the Artemis disabled, they must explore this ship and find a way to steer it back to safety.

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The Daedalus Encounter contains examples of

  • Air-Vent Passageway: This comes into play when a Krin breaks a door's lock mechanism, forcing you to fly your probe through a maze of little tunnels to unlock it from the other side.
  • Beeping Computers: The bridge of the Artemis plays this straight.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Near the end of the game, a machine appears in the Daedalus' hub that requires an alien hand to work. You have to dissect a dead crewman's hand off in order to use it.
  • Brain In A Box: Casey has no body by the time the game starts, and all that's left is his brain hooked up to a life support system on the Artemis.
  • Diegetic Interface: The game's HUD is the virtual interface connected to your brain, giving you some degree of interactivity with the surrounding environment.
  • Dilating Door: All the doors on the Daedalus open this way. The ones in the ship's hub appear made of dozens of organic threads that weave open and shut.
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  • Cyber Cyclops: Casey's life support system and probe both have a single camera lens for an eye. At one point, an annoyed Zack even calls you "cyclops" for looking at him.
  • Easter Egg: Following a certain path in the maze ends in a room full of pods containing the game's developers frozen in expressions of horror.
  • Eye Spy: You're able to launch and control a robotic probe from the Artemis to explore outside the ship. A majority of the game is spent seeing through it.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Casey's body is never shown at any point in the game, and his probe can't make any noises short of beeps, and a simple "Yes" and "No". Ari admits that she pulled you from the medical lab before you could be fitted with a speech interpolation system.
  • Forbidden Zone: The Mizar sector, which is a neutral zone very close to the Vakkar system, which would risk violating the Talidaran peace treaty they established. Zack insists on going there when looking for places to salvage, and you have to agree to continue with the plot.
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  • Holodeck: One of the rooms on the Daedalus appears to be this, showing a huge projection of an alien world that somehow has wind inside. Zack also falls through the floor in one spot.
  • Ghost Ship:
    • Your first salvage mission involves a Vakkar freighter. Nothing's in there except one dead alien (with a "kick me!" note stuck to its back) and a war medal.
    • The Daedalus later on also counts. Exploring it turns up the remains of its crew, having been slaughtered by Crin. Subverted when you finally find the ship's bridge, where one surviving crewman and a new Queen are discovered.
  • In-Universe Camera: Ari and Zack have cameras on their earpieces, and they sometimes tap them into your POV during cutscenes.
  • Justified Tutorial: The first use of your probe is essentially a way to get the player accustomed to the game's controls.
  • Living Ship: The Daedalus is this, with plenty of Organic Technology inside, all made of a living material that the Artemis' sensors couldn't detect, which was why the ship crashed into it.
    Zack: "Did they build this stuff, or grow it?"
  • Meaningful Name: Halfway through the game, Ari decides to name the alien ship the Daedalus, in reference to the mythological figure who flew towards the sun.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Succeeding in communing with the ship's Navigator who activates a forcefield around the ship that saves it from being incinerated, and the Navigator and New Queen are willing to both repair the Artemis and provide Casey's crew with a bevy of alien knowledge.
    • Failing to commune with the Navigator results in a fight while Casey must solve one last puzzle to manually navigate the ship. The Navigator, New Queen and Zack all die during the firefight and Ari is left a sobbing wreck.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Several areas of the Daedalus consist of huge rooms with long drops and narrow walkways spanning them without handrails. You even have to save Zack from falling in one of them.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Ari pronounces the enemy aliens at the start as "Vah-kar", while Zack pronounces them as "Va-kar".
  • Pipe Maze: You have to solve a puzzle like this to reconnect the Artemis' systems when it crashes into the Daedalus.
  • Press Start to Game Over: If you do not respond when Ari asks you to say "yes" (the first chance to interact with the game), she and Zack will think you're not working, and shut you down, ending the game. Replying "no" instead has them take it as a joke, and the game continues as normal.
  • Robo Cam: Your life support system and probe can send video and sound directly to your brain, described as "artificial senses" by Ari.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Ari is heavily implied to be this, being quick to draw her gun and attack any hostile that gets close.
  • Shout-Out: When Ari suggests other areas of space to explore. Zack immediately declines visiting LV426.
  • Space Marine: Ari and Zack used to be this during the war. Now they're just Salvage Pirates.
  • Starfish Language: The crew of the Daedalus communicates using flashes of light, and you have to translate their language in order to get around the ship.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Early in the game, when Ari first uses her earpiece camera to show what you look like from her point of view.
  • What a Piece of Junk: The Artemis was apparently cobbled together from a pair of surplus Alliance transports, and Ari and Zack fitted it with engines "borrowed" from an Orion-class destroyer.
    Zack: "She may not look like much, but she could tuck Terra Firma right out of orbit!"
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