Yes – Martian Dreams does bring up some… weird questions.
I mentionned last time I intended to get water running back on Mars. As it turns out: I can’t just yet. Indeed to restart the iceap melting process you need to reactivate there lenses towers at the north pole, and as it turns out, I need the expertise of some of the people of Elysium who are possessed by Martians, so this won’t be doable until I’ve somehow restored them in their own bodies.
So I basically went to repair the Martian Dream Machine in Elysion to allow me to see a bit what this dream world is all about. And I had a talk (yes!) with the Machine it self thanks to magical berries in order to get a sense of what to do.
The process was simple in theory: you need to put an headset (obtained from the destroyed machine at Olympus) on the machine, bring a new control panel (fixed by Thomas Edison), and put a big Radium block as an energy source.
I basically did all this… except it didn’t work. With much puzzlement I began to go back and forth between Hellas and Olympus (thank you transporter tube), and even tried to have a new control panel (this time with a lever) done by Edison. But to no avail, and I was begining to feel like I’ve hit a plotstopper bug.
As it turns out however, the issue was merrily that instead of *U*sing the Radium block on the machine to activate it, I had simply *M*oved it there. So the game didn’t aknowledge the presence of the power source.
With everything in place though, I finially did get inside the Machine and the Dream World.
This dream world basically presents himself as this etheral world kind of place with 5 pillars. One transport the player to the surviving martians leaving in a dream version of the Hellas grove, while the four other transport you to nightmares visions of the trapped humans spirites that you have to help.
It stand to point that this whole part of the game also foreshadows Serpent Isle in many aspects. Serpent Isle indeed have a dream world to explore, but the whole small specific quest to save people thing, this very gameplay focused quest can also be found in Serpent Isle.
So I basically got first to the Martians and talked to them which lead to learning a lot of stuff. And then went on to wake up my terran comrades from their nightmares. I then got out of the dream machine and got ready to next phase.
You see from talking to both the Hellas and Elysium martians it became clear that my goal was to create a new healthy Martian body so that the Martian trapped in the dream world could return to the real world. And a martian body… has to be grown!
So after getting fresh seeds from Hellas, ice water from the north pole and various fertilizer, I began working on planting a new martian body.
So I began with basically digging a hole, and planting the seed.
Then I put dirt upon it, fresh water, the fertilizer… and I waited for nine long days, taking real care of coming seeing the plant at least 3 times or else: it would feel lonely and die! And so after a while I had this beautiful pod at my disposal!
Using a ritual martian knighe, I cut the Pod open and here it was: an healthy martian body! After getting back to Hellas’ dream world, I explained the body was ready to the grove’s leader who agreed to transfer his spirit on it. So I put the body in the seat and activated the machine.
It seemed to work at first, but alas – the plague that had been spread by the evil Raxachk aeons ago was still there and the body died along with the leader’s spirit.
So it’s back to square one and I need to create a new kind of martian body. Meh.
All in all I gotta say this whole part was one hell of fun gameplay. I feel Martian Dreams, even before Serpent Isle, was a clear demonstration of the difference of design with Garriott’s Ultima games and Spector’s ones: the Garriott ones were always focused more on the virtual world kind of thing – while Martian dreams is essence is very focused on its core gameplay and work very hard at crafting interesting quest to solve which involve a lot of thinking. And most importantly it is very plot focused – making it more linear than usual, but just as fun!
So I’m now off to Elysium to talk to the Martian there and work on this new body… hopefully I don’t have long left till the end!