For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
competition entry
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
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by David Welbourn

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The Orion Agenda

by Ryan Weisenberger

Space Exploration

(based on 15 ratings)
6 reviews

About the Story

In this sci-fi story, you play as Capt. Jon Stark of SciCorps. You're monitoring a promising alien species on Orion 3 from orbit on Station One when the General gives you your first field assignment. Outpost 132 has gone silent. You and Lt. Rebecca Crusoe are to take a shuttle to the surface and investigate the situation.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: 10
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 2375
IFIDs:  ZCODE-10-041123-C0A9
TUID: u442grrweznars3p


6th Place - 10th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2004)

Editorial Reviews

The story is told in an unusual way. It starts out in the present, with you, the PC, waking up in a hole. Then, it flashes back to the past to explain how you got there. The majority of the game is in this flashback, and the end of the flashback marks the start of the endgame. I've run across this technique in books a few times, and I've always thought it was a great way of getting the reader's curiosity.
-- Adam Myrow
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

Despite my litany of complaints, I had a good time playing The Orion Agenda. Many of its problems are easily fixable, and I really hope that the game sees a post-competition edition. I recommend the game, but I'd recommend waiting a while for that post-comp release first.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Solid combination of storyline and puzzles., July 16, 2010

The Orion Agenda is one of those rare games that combines an engaging plot with varied puzzles and fascinating NPCs. The PC finds himself in a deep hole in the ground. From there, he begins to remembers that he is a rookie field agent sent to check on an outpost on a foreign planet where his colleagues are supposed to be observing the native culture. He is traveling with another field agent who is more experienced and also happens to be a beautiful woman. Of course, things don't go as planned once they arrive at Orion 3. The way the game is structured eliminates the need for ever saving your progress. If you happen to die (which you will do quite often), the PC just realizes that he is still alive in the hole, so that's not how things must have happened. While this is a great mechanism to ease game play, it also makes it very clear that there is only one predetermined ending. I normally prefer games with a lot of varying paths and conclusions.I'm also not someone who reads science fiction or enjoys playing sci-fy games. However, The Orion Agenda drew me in to the point that all be skepticism about the genre and the game construction melted away.

Even though the plot line isn't very original, it's crafted and written beautifully. The writing is well paced and spurs you on to finish the puzzles to progress the story. The puzzles themselves are of varying difficulty. If I had to rate the average difficulty of the puzzles on a 1-10 scale, I'd give The Orion Agenda a 5.5. While not as challenging as I might have liked it to be, The Orion Agenda compensates for its relative easiness with an engaging storyline and an interactive NPC.

That NPC is the PC's beautiful female partner, Rebecca. Unlike so many other sidekick NPCs in IF she actually has a mind of her own. She'll explore the area on her own, wandering away and returning to the PC at random. She also possesses knowledge that the PC does not, making her invaluable in certain situations. She never serves as a damsel in distress or as comic relief and always has a purpose.

The Orion Agenda is polished to a tee, with no bugs that I could find. The puzzles are well-clued and the environment expansive and engaging. Ideally, I would give The Orion Agenda 4.5 stars, but there was still something missing there for me. It's a solid game, but it didn't have that ah!-factor that I tend to look for. The Orion Agenda is well-balanced, highly enjoyable, and great for one play through.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Prime Directive, anyone?, September 18, 2020
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: SF

The overarching theme of "The Orion Agenda" is an exploration of the implications of the Star Trek prime directive (not interfering with the natural evolution of technologically lesser developed cultures). Aah, many an hour have I spent waxing philosophically about this question after a Trek-marathon with friends...

The game is nicely structured: a light and funny bureaucratic puzzle to begin with, a somewhat harder midgame (that makes excellent use of the flashback), and a slight twist in the finale, where you also need to use the insights from the midgame.

NPCs mostly do what they have to, no more, except Rebecca, your partner, whom you can order around a bit. (REBECCA, JUMP)

I know it's not for everyone, but I like me some text dumps. Here, you get a SciCorps manual with your equipment and some screenfulls at the end of the game to summarize the moral dilemma.

A good game worth mulling over a bit after you're done.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An excellent mid length sci fi game in 3 sections. Like Star Trek, April 22, 2016

This game is similar to the plot of Star Trek insurrection. You are part of a galactic league which monitors non-spacefaring worlds. A monitoring station has failed, so you must visit it in disguise in a cloaked shuttle to see what is going on.

The first part of the game has some tedious bureaucracy similar to that of stationfall. You then explore an alien village, learning their religion, and so on. The finale of the game is action packed.

Strongly recommended.

See All 6 Member Reviews

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Games with NPCs that tag along by Ghalev
List here any games that feature a (preferably memorable!) "sidekick" character - an NPC who follows the viewpoint character around for most or all of the game, as per Floyd in Planetfall or Trent/Tiffany in Leather Goddesses of Phobos.

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This is version 4 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 29 March 2020 at 10:43pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item