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Subscribe to our Previews newsletter for a sneak peek at your favorite programs. Watch local and national programs from anywhere at anytime. PC version box cover, has an opening in the front to display the mousepad featuring Harlan Ellison’s face inside. The game’s story is set in a world where an evil computer named AM has destroyed all of humanity except for five people, whom he has been keeping alive and torturing for the past 109 years. To succeed in the game, the player must make choices to prove that humans are better than machines, because they have the ability to redeem themselves.
The game uses the S. Players participate in each adventure through a screen that is divided into five sections. The action window is the largest part of the screen and is where the player directs the main characters through their adventures. It shows the full-figure of the main character being played as well as that character’s immediate environment.
To locate objects of interest, the player moves the crosshairs through the action window. The name of any object that the player can interact with appears in the sentence line. The sentence line is directly beneath the action window. The player uses this line to construct sentences telling the characters what to do. To direct a character to act, the player constructs a sentence by selecting one of the eight commands from the command buttons and then clicking on one or two objects from either the action window or the inventory. Examples of sentences the player might construct would be “Walk to the dark hallway,” “Talk to Harry,” or “Use the skeleton key on the door. The spiritual barometer is on the lower left side of the screen.
This is a close-up view of the main character currently being played. However, good acts are rewarded by increases in the character’s spiritual barometer, which affect the chances of the player destroying AM in the final adventure. Conversely, evil acts are punished by lowering the character’s spiritual barometer. The command buttons are the eight commands used to direct the character’s actions: “Walk To”, “Look At”, “Take”, “Use”, “Talk To”, “Swallow”, “Give” and “Push”. The button of the currently active command is highlighted, while the name of a suggested command appears in red lettering. The inventory on the lower right side of the screen shows pictures of the items the main character is carrying, up to eight at a time. Each main character starts its adventure with only the psych profile in the inventory.
When a main character takes or is given an object, a picture of the object appears in the inventory. When a main character talks to another character or operates a sentient machine, a conversation window replaces the command buttons and inventory. This window usually presents a list of possible things to say but also included things to do. Due to its immense hatred for humanity, stemming from the logistical limits set onto him by programmers, AM uses its abilities to kill off the population of the world. With the aid of research carried out by one of the five remaining humans, AM is able to extend their lifespans indefinitely as well as alter their bodies and minds to his liking. After 109 years of torture and humiliation, the five victims stand before a pillar etched with a burning message of hate. AM tells them that he now has a new game for them to play.
AM to play into their greatest fears and personal failings, and occupied by a host of different characters. Some of these are clearly AM in disguise, some are AM’s submerged personalities, others seem very much like people from the captives’ past. However, each character eventually prevails over AM’s tortures by finding ways to overcome their fatal flaws and forgive themselves over their own past misdeeds, thanks to the interference of the Russian and Chinese supercomputers who appear as guiding characters and allow their stories to have an open ending. After all five humans have overcome their fatal flaws, they meet again in their respective torture cells while AM retreats within himself, pondering what went wrong. If the human intruder disables all three brain components, and then invokes the Totem of Entropy at the Flame, which is the nexus of AM’s thought patterns, all three supercomputers will be shut down, probably forever. Cataclysmic explosions destroy all the caverns constituting AM’s computer complex, including the cavern holding the human hostages.
However, the human volunteer retains his or her digital form, permanently patrolling AM’s circuits should the computers ever regain consciousness. Should the human intruder fail to disable AM properly before facing him, however, AM will punish them by transforming the character into a ‘great, soft jelly thing’ that can not harm itself nor others, and must spend eternity with AM in this newly acquired form. The game can end in seven different ways depending on how the finale is completed. AM wins, using Nimdok’s research to turn the last character played into a great, soft jelly thing with each character quoting a different part of the final section of the original short story. As in the first ending, the character responsible for this is turned into a great, soft jelly thing, and quotes a part of the final lines of the short story. AM is made harmless with the help of the humans, but the Russian and Chinese supercomputers take over in its stead. The player gives the Totem of Entropy to Surgat, one of AM’s servants.
He activates it killing the Russian and Chinese supercomputers and then AM turns the player into a great soft jelly thing. The human invokes the Totem of Entropy in front of the Russian and Chinese supercomputers. AM tells the player that they did not earn his mercy, then turns them into a great soft jelly thing. The player disables either the Id, Superego or both then invokes the Totem of Entropy. This ends with the player monitoring the computers, but the Ego kills the 750 humans on the moon. Luna are reawakened and Earth is transformed to become a habitable environment, with the overseer being the last character played. The characters have all been slightly altered from the original story in the novel.
Notably, none of the characters interact with one another and eventually only one of them will be able to defeat AM. Gorrister is suicidal due to the guilt of having had his wife committed to a mental institution. Gorrister finds himself on board a zeppelin over a desert with signs of a struggle, and a gaping hole in his own chest where his heart used to be. AM offers him the chance to finally kill himself, but sabotages all his means of doing so.
In his scenario, Gorrister learns that his mother-in-law Edna also felt responsible for driving his wife insane despite previously hounding him for it, and learns to bury the past. Benny has been the most heavily altered from the original novel. Although he has an ape-like appearance, just as in the novel, his past as a homosexual scientist is entirely altered. Benny’s psycho-drama places him in stone-aged community where the villagers draw a lottery to decide which of them will be sacrificed to AM. Benny obsesses over food and eating — but is incapable of chewing anything he finds. AM had severely damaged Benny’s brain, but restores it for the scenario so that he can think clearly again – then AM cripples Benny’s body so he cannot act on any thoughts he has. Eventually Benny demonstrates the compassion he once lacked by saving a mutant child from the lottery, sacrificing himself in the child’s stead.