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Lunar Deep
Developer:AncientRein Gaming
Publisher:AncientRein Gaming
Release Date:May 2006
Article Posted:July 2006
System Requirements

You were surprised to find the strange canister. Hesitantly, you opened it to reveal a mysterious message. The parchment spoke of an ancient civilization. Many years ago, a group of people had turned away from the rest of mankind in fear of oppression. In order to preserve their race and their belief systems, these moon worshippers sought solitude in a series of underground tunnels.

They carried their entire civilization into the caverns. In order to stay alive within the tunnels, they built an intricate machine. The technological marvel provided heat, light, and air to the underground civilization. Without the machine, the people would surely perish. It was the life force of an entire race. But even the most intricate work of technology occasionally needs maintenance.

The message told you that the systems that supported the caverns were failing. And to make things worse, the members of the ancient race no longer remember how to repair the device. With each passing day, staying alive inside the tunnels becomes more and more difficult. On the brink of extinction, they attempt to contact the surface world as a last resort. Perhaps someone of superior intellect would come across the message. Perhaps they would be able to get into the caverns and repair the machine.

Could the message be real? Could there truly be an ancient civilization that survived underground for so many years? The note spoke of a secret entrance to the tunnels. It could only be opened during a lunar eclipse. Nervously, you made your way to the location of the entrance. As the moon began to cast its soothing light across the nighttime sky and the time of the eclipse drew ever closer, you knew you could be on the verge of an incredible discovery. But more importantly, you could be the last hope of a dying race.

Lunar Deep is a first-person adventure game from AncientRein Gaming. Designed and developed entirely by a single person, Lunar Deep is a pleasant game of exploration and discovery. It is about revealing the secrets of an ancient civilization. You will be traveling through mysterious caverns and trying to understand the inner workings of strange machinery.

The strongest element of Lunar Deep is the presentation. The game may not have a bleeding edge 3D engine, but it does carry a good deal of style that enhances the experience. From the moment you solve the first puzzle and make your way into the tunnels, the game gives you the impression that something is not quite right. Subtle hints communicate that the life-giving machine is indeed in dire need of repair. Ominous ambient sounds create an uneasy tone. At the same time, the intricate mechanisms used to lock doors or help with the transportation across the tunnels give you the impression that you are in a strange and unusual place. The curious lack of people inhabiting the caverns intensifies the effect. Where are these people that were so desperately in need of help? You encounter a couple of people, but where are the other representatives of the race? The caverns seem inviting and foreboding at the same time.

Traveling through the underworld civilization has a feeling undeniably akin to Myst. Played from a first-person perspective, Lunar Deep focuses on quiet exploration in a strange environment. Character interaction hardly comes into play. You are almost completely on your own to search through the caverns and try to find a way to fix the machine. Clues are provided through documents scattered around the caves. Careful examination of the environment and deductive reasoning is required to make progress.

The game features a very simple mouse-driven interface. Intuitive mouse icons are used to depict available actions. The default hand icon turns into a pointing finger when it is possible to turn or move towards an indicated direction. A clenched hand icon is used to depict interactive objects like levers and switches. The inventory is accessible through a bag icon on the top left corner of the screen. When you bring the mouse over the bag, you will be able to see available inventory items across the top portion of the screen. In order to use an item, you have to select it and drag it over a hotspot. It is also possible to combine items within the inventory.

Lunar Deep offers several inventory-based puzzles and a series of logic puzzles that typically revolve around manipulating switches to gain access to an area. The puzzles are not especially difficult. Clues are provided through the documents you will find, the conversations you will have with the two other characters, or sometimes directly on the puzzle itself. Finding required inventory items should be fairly easy as long as you carefully survey each room. However, there are a couple of hotspots that are rather small and might be very easy to miss the first time you are going through an area. Overall, Lunar Deep is not extremely challenging, but it is not a total walk in the park either.

The only problem that truly hurts Lunar Deep is the game’s length. The entire game spans over a relatively small area and does not give players very many places to explore. Just as you really start getting into Lunar Deep, the game abruptly ends. While the experience is pleasant and the ending does have an unexpected twist, the game would have greatly benefited from a few additional rooms and puzzles.

Lunar Deep has an interesting concept that compels players to explore the caverns. The graphics, sound effects, and the voice acting are all sufficient to get the job done. There are a number of fun puzzles to solve across the tunnels. Unfortunately, the short length of the game and the abrupt ending does significantly detract from the experience. However, it should be noted that Lunar Deep was released at a very reasonable retail price. Available through the official Lunar Deep Web site, the downloadable version costs a mere six dollars. As such, despite its short length, if you are looking for a puzzle-driven adventure game to spend the afternoon, consider giving Lunar Deep a try. Sure, it’s not brimming with the latest technology, but Lunar Deep is still a charming game that should offer adventure gamers a pleasant couple of hours.

The final grade is 73/100.

You can visit the game's official Web site to purchase Lunar Deep.


PC System Requirements:
Windows® 98/ME/2000/XP
Pentium® III 600 MHz
128 MB RAM
True Color Video Card
Windows Compatible Sound Card
Mouse, keyboard, and speakers