Saturday, July 14, 2012

Star Saga: One - Beyond the Boundary - From Professor to Engineer

Please note that each character entry will contain spoilers. If you're looking for an overview of the basics of this game, I suggest looking here.

Note: In my mind, Professor Lee Dambroke is a man, so I'll refer to him with the proper pronouns for that assumption. The game never indicates gender for the main characters.

Storage Station 7 lay just ahead, off to the side floats debris of the defense satellite. It seems my early preparation has paid off, as I continue my reign of dominance. Inside the station is a 5-bay cargo hold. Already stored are 1 unit of Computers and 1 Phase Steel. I happily take both. I make my way towards the Ghost Worlds to purchase more equipment before heading off again into the unknown.

Fiara, home to a colony of Darscians, is also home to an alien shuttlecraft once belonging to Vanessa Chang (intrepid explorer), crash landed here due to the planet's extreme gravity. Exploring the vessel provides a tidbit of information. The shuttle's last touchdown was on Koursh, and the logs suggest one of the crew members is buried there. I note the planet name and location of the burial site.

I learn the Darscians have an Antigravity Research Center, and decide to stop by before departing. Off limits to outsiders, they said, restricted due to the potential applications for misuse. Not letting that stop me, I drive to the Center, but the anti-gravity vehicle loaned to me by the Darscians shuts down before I reach the door. Not to be deterred, I press on as the gravity presses on me; then combat begins, against gravity.
Take that force of nature!
I make it, barely. For my efforts, I gain an Anti-Gravity Ray. I suppose the Darscians were right in guarding their technology from weaponization.

Hemindore, my next stop, is inhabited by alien monkeys. The world is completely covered in salt-water oceans; growing out of it are large trees where the monkeys and their dwellings are visible as I (crash) land. They enjoy technological advancements far beyond their understanding thanks to another alien race known as Lengia.

Over 2000 years ago, the Lengia, at the height of scientific advancement, noted a greenhouse effect on their planet due to pollution from their technology. They decided to abandon the planet, inviting the Hemingellans to join them in pursuit of a new home. Home was on Hemindore though, and the Lengia left them behind with some of their machines.

What happened to the Lengia is unknown, but perhaps they'll make an appearance in the future. This is the first time an alien world wasn't changed by an outside influence. I took some time to study the technology, and acquired a tractor beam in the process. With little left to do, on I moved.

Ascension, a lush world teeming with life yet lacking any high-tech civilizations, provides my second alien ability. The intelligent life forms are large insectoid creatures, as described by the text, and I picture them as giant praying mantises. The creatures have a reverence for nature and minimal interference, keeping with the status quo, denying advancement. This stems from a long history of advanced technology leading to harmful effects on the environment. On the verge of complete collapse, they were visited by an alien race that offered a solution: revert back to a natural way of life. To help ensure this, the visiting aliens left behind a device that nullified all technology. I'm not sure how my instruments, including my ship, continue to function.

Once again an alien race is prevented from exploring the galaxy. While discussing their history, I learn they're able to create a wall of force. Obviously intrigued, I learn the ability, and receive a message informing me I have my second alien ability. This confirms--for whatever reason--the Superhuman Speed I achieved earlier doesn't count. Maybe this has to do with the way I gained it, via an exercise machine rather than taught by an alien. I lift off in search of the third and final ability that will allow me to return home.

Gen is a human world, one of the outer Ghost Worlds mentioned on Supa. It is also home to the brotherhood, an order in search of truth. The people on Gen enjoy dungeon diving, called trundling, where someone creates a dungeon to explore and fills it with danger and treasures. To better understand the concept, I'm offered to explore a cave that's already looted.
It's LARPing, except you're your character
Exploring the cave leads to a battle with a 10-foot tall teddy bear guarding a message regarding the brotherhood. Entering the brotherhood is a simple matter after this, and provides my second interaction with the computer game master. Passing the questioning leads to an ordeal, past this is a longer set of questions. Reaching this second level, I receive the title of Advancing Brother in the order, and am told to seek out the planet Dargen. The ability Kothan, a fighting ability, is also gained.
No random guessing here; honesty is the best approach.
Koursh, I note the familiar name, is found nearby after all options on Gen are exhausted. I'm distracted by my approach of the planet as hundreds, or maybe thousands, of red and blue aliens are drawn to my ship's engine reactor. They drain my power, and I plummet to the surface. The intangible little bastards escape my wrath; I wake up alive, but I understand now how Vanessa Chang lost her crew member. If the same thing happened to her, the odds of everyone surviving in such an alien craft were slim.

Exploring the planet proved fruitful, as I discovered the reason for the aliens attack on my ship. They are attracted to high amounts of radiation. In preparation for escape, I adjust the fuel to emit less radiated material. In addition to this, I found a large source of irradiated material, enough to continuously mine Radioactives. Finally, a source! I'll come to learn by the end of my travels that Radioactives are only available through mining, no one openly trades them.
Entering an unlisted action only works if you're in the correct location
Normally, action codes are listed for you when plotting the turn. This isn't the case for certain actions, like digging up the grave of Vanessa Chang's crewman. The navigator, Walter Friday, is buried with some keepsakes, including a journal. From it, I learn the alien shuttle began its journey from a planet called Gazan. There I'll discover the original ship the smaller craft belongs to and more clues as to the harrowing last journey of Vanessa Chang.

With my new-found Radioactives, I make a side trip to a few known planets in order to stock up on some choice pieces of equipment, even though I feel confident in my current arsenal.

Tralis, another planet visited and changed by an advanced alien race, provides the possibility of a universal translator. The Tralisians constantly spin in place, and consist of two types, right-spinners and left-spinners. The righties were technologically advance, which engendered feelings of jealousy in the lefties as they were treated as lower class citizens. A god-like alien race visited at the same time hyperdrive technology was discovered. They encouraged the left-spinners to revolt against the rights. The ensuing battle nearly wiped out the right-spinners, and left their cities in ruins.

The god-like aliens somehow altered the genetic make-up of the Tralisians so that the majority of offspring were now left-spinners, whereas it was always a 50/50 split in the past. They also left behind universal translators. The righties have regrouped, and plan to correct the change. There's little for me to do here other than learn how a translator is built.

Alkon, an unassuming planet covered in jungle foliage, is an ugly-looking backward sort of planet. The aliens here are warty purple creatures with many tentacles. I'm greeted by one them as I land, Freddie.
First arriving on Alkon, still don't have a Universal Translator or Telepathy
I forgo learning the language and hire Freddie as my interpreter. While shown around, I learn in a quite unexpected way that Freddie and every Alkonian is able to see into the future. They call it Whurffle. Outstanding! My third alien ability is in hand, or mind rather. Rather than rush back, I take my time to explore the remaining planets in the vicinity.

My next three stops, Fiyar, FLN-1, and Hootenaller, provide no alien contact.

Fiyar is a gas giant. Scans indicate the material known as Warp Core is present. I take some risk and am rewarded by a single unit; all further attempts are met with failure. Combining the Warp Core with the Phase Steel, plus a few common commodities, I'm able to build a Ship Shield Generator. This will come in handy when crossing the Boundary.

FLN-1 (Frog Leg Nebula, asteroid 1) isn't a planet, but is a good source of Radioactives. Hidden in its depths is a alien shuttlecraft, crashed many years ago. Inside I manage to salvage a unit of Synthetic Genius from the advanced computer system. The captains quarters requires a Super Space Suit to enter. I return later to learn this was a Clathran ship, and it's emitting a distress signal. As a player I note the similarities between this and the alien craft piloted by Vanessa Change. Professor Dambroke makes no comparison.

Hootenaller is a paradise, yet devoid of animal life, intelligent or otherwise. I feel strange here, at peace, as if no threat has touched the planet, a strange sight to behold in my long travels. I take some time to relax. Enjoy the scenery. I stock up on the abundant food supply and continue my exploration of the galaxy.

One item of note, arriving on Hootenaller introduces a concept of Dual Space. Not much is mentioned except its existence. It does weird things like change the value of pi from 3.14159 to 3.14161. This strange fact is promptly ignored, and I move on.
Dual space? What's that?
Organu, the last planet in this area to explore before heading back, is home to a race that looks like giant broccoli, although thinner and obvious arms (4) and legs (2). As I consider these thoughts, I hear laughter all around me and a voice inside my head; "Greetings," it says. Telepathy! Now this is an exciting ability. It takes over two weeks to learn, but I finally pick it up. What great luck, if three abilities is enough, then surely four is better. There's also a swamp where some bio-engineering research is conducted. It reminds me a lot of Bugeye, except smells worse. Here I can distill a unit of Primordial Soup with the right materials.

I guess it's time to figure out a way through the Boundary. Brute force is the only option I've found. At first, I attempt to use some deft maneuvering I learned from some smugglers. If timed right, enough speed built up, and angled correctly, then it's possible to get through the scanning drones without being detected. This didn't happen. The Border Patrol is altered. Only one option left. Surprisingly, I could have gotten by without the Ship Shield Generator. Equipment available in normal markets is all that's necessary. I disable the ship, and am now free to come and go as I please.
Much easier on return trips
I arrive, but with doubt in my mind. Doubt that I'll fit in with what I now know. Knowing about Vanessa Chang, the possible threat to humans, and an obscure power known as dual space has changed me. Change won't happen in the Nine Worlds.

I show off my "three" abilities to those that funded my trip. After all expected pleasantries are exchanged, I'm informed that a strange energy is emanating from the Galactic Arm. This energy is causing space to fluctuate.

This is an annoying part of Star Saga. Since I visited Hootenaller, I should already know about fluctuations in space, dual space. I'm told that constants in the laws of physics are slightly altered with this unknown energy. The connection to the variance in pi is obvious to me. Yet, this is what the passage reads, "You take a few minutes to review what you have seen in your travels that could relate to this discovery but you come up empty." This isn't the only time it happens, as many of the passages are written as generic as possible, able to be read in any order and make sense. All possibilities can't be accounted for, but this one is the least acceptable.

A possible link is made between my ability to learn alien abilities and the strange energy. My path is becoming obvious, I need to discover the source of the energy. To do so, I need a Tri-axis Drive Booster to enter the Galactic Arm. I'm told of a planet, Outpost. I can use it as a stepping stone to enter the Fringe. I'm given a Flame Jewel before departing. It's a necessary item to create the Tri-axis Drive.

My plan is now to swoop across the lower galaxy, and continue to explore the unknown planets. Final preparations are made. Next stop is the planet at 163-B. I make my way past Wellmet, and on past the Ghost Worlds once more.

I'm stopped dead in my tracks just past Wellmet. A voice comes over the radio. "Har, har, har..."


  1. I can kind of accept an old game making that mistake, that you already knew about something, but modern games keep making it! Skyrim avoids it on the first quest (Yes, I already have that item!) but so many times thereafter "Join the Mages guild!" "I AM THE FREAKING ARCHMAGE"

    1. That seems strange; I remember Oblivion being a bit better about that.