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by Cat Manning


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About the Story

From imaginary games jam. Based on the review:

The Manhattan Alternative (1996)

“Defusing World War III” has been a strong core gaming genre since 1982’s grim time-travel thriller “Skyshine”, but The Manhattan Alternative was the first to introduce first-person full-motion video to the well-worn formula. You play Captain Mark Rogers of the US Time Marines, tasked to save humanity by (of course) stopping 1945’s Trinity experiment. But the formula shifts once you get to the Gadget: a freak thunderstorm catches you in the detonation, and you are flung into the Quantum Shell: an infinity of parallel universes, in each of which a different disaster threatens Earth. (By ‘infinity’ we actually only counted five, but, well, there’s plenty of room for sequels.)

The ensuing mystery will have you pursued by rogue Time Marines, a beautiful Russian agent, and an inexplicably radioactive roadrunner bird, each with several hours of recorded dialogue (the roadrunner is entirely subtitled); but the heart of the game is assembling map fragments to the next energy slot in the Quantum Shell and solving that world’s disaster.

We were particularly amused by the ‘hellhole capitalism’ world where pills for exotic diseases cost $1000 a dose, as given the winds of utopian socialism that swept Cortezia in the 1980s, it’s such an ancient, outlandish scenario. But I suppose even unlikely ways for the world to die are still worth protecting against.

Two stars, unfortunately: the video is endearing, but doesn’t actually play very well on today’s hardware, and the core gameplay won’t engage you much. But the sequels (Manhattan Transverse and Manhattan Synchronicity) are the ones on which this series’ reputation truly rests.

Game Details


Entrant - imaginary games jam


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This is version 1 of this page, edited by Jason Dyer on 7 March 2017 at 5:49pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page