In Earth's future, the exploration of new planets is the responsibility of a military unit known as Alien World Exploration, or AWE for short. AWE is made up of elite survivalists who are brought to new and unknown planets and expected to study the planet and determine if it is suitable for colonization. These men and women are specially trained and live in solitude for long periods of time, with only their wits and tools to aid them. Because of this, they are known as Robinsons after the protagonist of Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe," about an English sailor marooned for nearly thirty years on an island. Once their tenure with AWE is finished, they return to Earth amidst grand celebrations and promised a great retirement plan. The return celebration for a Robinson is called Robinson's Requiem, because it signifies the end of a person's life as a Robinson and the start of his or her life as a civilian.
Not everything is cut and dry, however. The Scientific Intelligence agency eventually issued orders to prevent many Robinsons from returning home. Their motives for doing so are not corrupt, however; they are only working in the best interest of humanity by preventing the spread of unknown diseases that humans would otherwise have no resistance to. At the same time, the Scientific Intelligence agency hopes to gain information about said illnesses so that they may be able to conquer them when humanity colonizes the planet.
You and a few other Robinsons discover the plans of the Scientific Intelligence agency, but all of you are sent off on a mission to an undocumented planet before you can blow the whistle. You are told that this is your final mission, and everything goes smoothly until your ship crashes on the planet, leaving you and your comrades stranded; you were all separated after ejecting from the ship. You are Trepliev, an experienced Robinson, and you have one goal: find a way off the planet, and return home alive.
You may now return from the edge of your seat, as the game goes downhill from here. The clunky controls and headache-inducing graphics really overshadow the game's story and all of the unique apsects that would otherwise make this game truly remarkable. While it is wrong to demand that a game shows detail in every blade of grass on the ground, is it too much to ask for a game to allow you to be able to determine the difference between a knoll and oh, say, an impassable wall of dirt? That's right, ladies and gentlemen, Robinson's Requiem is a 3D adventure game where your protagonist, a veritable Boy Scout of a Robinson, is defeated by a three foot wall of something brown. Aside from being stopped by things you can't see very well, the graphics are strictly average at best, and some color combinations in large amounts seem to strain one's eyes after a while.
As you stagger around the lush, blocky wilderness trying to figure out which patch of green is part of the path, your character may be hacked to pieces by whatever unfriendly happens to be nearby with a vicious little meat cleaver. Once you realize you are under attack, you must reorient your character--hopefully before he kicks the bucket--and try to fend him off. Naturally, Robinson's Requiem allows your character to use weapons that he finds; these fall into three categories: melee, direct missiles (they always fly straight ahead), and aiming weapons which you aim manually. The melee weapons are probably more difficult to master than the others, as you must be within range to use them in addition to being properly aligned with your target--no small task when your opponents generally have an advantage in mobility; your character's turning speed is painfully slow, even while running.
Robinsons are given a standard issue Sesame computer, which is a Robinson's personal assistant. It monitors the Robinson's vital statistics, tracks other Sesame computers (presumably carried by fellow Robinsons), and stores map data as the Robinson progresses across the planet; when you play Robinson's Requiem, your Sesame computer is always visible, and you just select what buttons you need to see new screens, such as vital statistics, your map, and the inventory. Your character's motion is controlled by a small panel on screen with a number of directional triangles--six in all. You move rather slowly, as the game needs time to advance you a single frame at a time in the direction you are headed, even if you have tweaked Dosbox's settings (tweaking too much would make other things move too quickly). You can move around much more quickly if you open the map window, but the caveat is that you cannot see what enemies or characters lurk before you unless they are also carrying a Sesame computer.
What makes the game interesting are the aspects that make the game difficult and complex. If you are not careful while you descend from a steep slope, you may break a limb. If you swim in cold water, you could get sick or suffer from frostbite (if you get out of the water, that is). Also, you won't keep taking hits until you die; if you take too many hits, you could fall unconscious for a while, but you may awaken slightly recovered. You will also need sleep, but different factors may affect whether or not you can sleep. If you can't sleep due to anxiety or pain, you could use tranquilizers to make yourself sleep. It is also possible to collapse from exhaustion.
Unlike many adventure games, you can also manufacture items from other items; for example, morphine and a syringe would produce a morphine injection, while some cord and a branch would make a bow. Robinson's Requiem isn't a very stupid game, either; if you were making clothes from animal skins, the amount of material would determine the article of clothing you would produce. However, the game won't keep making shirts for you unless you already have one, and will make the next largest article instead. Also, your character requires food from time to time, so you must make sure he is fed whenever appropriate. You must make sure you aren't eating something potentially harmful, however; rotten meat, for example, isn't the best midday snack.
So if you're really bored and want a game to make you wonder why you were bored in the first place, Robinson's Requiem is for you. If you're a die-hard adventure gamer (unlike this reviewer), you might be able to get a few hours of enjoyment out of this game. If you don't fall under one of these categories, you'd probably be better off playing something else.