In Search of The Most Amazing Thing is a great adventure/action/strategy hybrid for the whole family that remains this day, almost two decades after its release, as one the most innovative games of its kind. The plot is a wacky, creative hodgepodge of science fiction and fantasy that is strongly reminiscent of surrealistic movies such as Baron Munchausen. |
The story takes place in an alien world that is very similar to Earth. You are a boy whose rustic, routine life is disrupted forever one day by the appearance of a strange airborne vehicle from your long-lost uncle Smoke Bailey. Naturally, you board the craft (later known as the "B-Liner") to meet your uncle, whereupon he tasks you with finding The Most Amazing Thing, an object which holds the secret of the universe, which he once found but now lost. You must first prepare for your long journey by equipping the B-Liner with necessary items, and practice navigating the B-Liner as well as the personal jetpack you will need to fly over a planet. Not only that, but you must also remember uncle Smoke's advice about the mysterious Mire people and various strange creatures.
Gameplay, in retrospect, is very limited: your options are limited to piloting the B-Liner and jetpack around the map to find new locations, and getting in and out of it once in a while to collect fuel, find food, and talk to new characters. Much of your time will be spent looking at a quasi-flight-simulator screen, where you must carefully pilot the B-Liner (which is a cross between a balloon and a moon buggy), moving up and down in tandem with the wind to go where you want. Sounds pretty boring, right? Wrong.
As most gamers who grew up in the early 1980s (myself included) will tell you, what makes ISOTMAT so addictive and memorable is neither its gameplay nor its graphics, both of which are primitive by today's standards. It is the astounding amount of atmosphere and the fantastic gameworld that the game is able to create with sheer amount of detail that makes you believe that you are truly transported to the planet Porquatz, watching the weird and wonderful alien cultures through Terry Bailey's eyes. The game even includes an excellent, detail-packed novella of the same name by fantasy author Jim Morrow, which alone is worth the price of the whole game. Overall, ISOTMAT is definitely a must-have if you don't mind primitive graphics, especially for anyone who is looking for a unique, user-friendly adventure in the style of Jules Verne novels. Two thumbs up!Reviewed by: Underdogs