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Video Game / The Tone Rebellion

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The Tone Rebellion (sometimes called Leviathan: The Tone Rebellion) is a 1997 real-time strategy with 4X elements and a sci-fi/fantasy theme developed by The Logic Factory and released by Virgin Interactive Entertainment. This is the developer's second game after Ascendancy.

Long ago, there was a single large island populated by peaceful jellyfish-like beings called Floaters who subsisted on the Tone, a Life Energy that permeated the island. But an evil force called the Leviathan appeared and attacked. The devastating attack split the island into many smaller islands. Many of the Floaters perished, but four tribes managed to survive on distant islands. Over time, they started developing differently from one another, unaware that anyone else survived the cataclysm, and influenced by the realm dominating their island (Physical, Supernatural, Ethereal, Natural). The red Tarks live on the island of Tarzus and are dominated by the Physical realm. The yellow Zygons (not those) inhabit the Crystal Cave island, dominated by the Supernatural realm. The blue Cepheans hail from the Ethereal-dominated Cephean Sea island. The green Dyla come from the Natural island of Pangir.


The game plays out in pseudo-3D. The player starts on one island and can build structures on top of a source of Tone. Buildings can be of a defensive nature, automatically attacking the enemy, or dojos, producing various fighting units. In order to move on to other islands, the Floater tribe must solve the mystery of each island in order to activate a bridge to the next one. More often than not, any non-Floater island is dominated by the Leviathan, which keeps sending stronger and stronger forces with each of your successes. Leviathan structures are built by corrupting Tone nodes with spores.

The four realms are in constant flux and have an Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors relationship, making the timing of attacks crucial. The dominance is thus: Physical > Supernatural > Ethereal > Natural > Physical. The tide meter on the screen shows which realm is currently at its strongest. The greater the chosen level of difficulty, the more of an effect this has on combat.


Throughout the game, the player must collect the various artifacts that, eventually, need to be put together on the central Leviathan-dominated island in order to vanquish the evil once and for all. When the time comes, a special Floater will appear, the only one capable of setting up the artifacts. If that Floater perishes, the game becomes unwinnable. Once Leviathan is defeated, all the islands once again come together and reform the original island.

Unfortunately, like Ascendancy, this game is plagued by weak AI, although there are no game-breaking bugs.


The Tone Rebellion provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The Corruption: The Leviathan is a mysterious evil force that took over the islands long ago. It infects Tone nodes with spores, growing its own structures on top of it.
  • Evolution: The four Floater tribes are not terribly different from one another, but they differ enough to provide sufficiently different gameplay on higher difficulty levels. On lower levels, they're pretty much Cosmetically Different Sides. According to the game, the tribes have been isolated from one another for a very long time, which could account for the differences.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors
  • 4X
  • Shattered World: There used to be only one large island. After the ancient cataclysm, caused by the Leviathan, the island broke into many smaller pieces.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Floaters look similar to jellyfish.
  • World in the Sky: The small islands all orbit the center.

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