Have You Played… Martian Gothic: Unification?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Sometimes a game is so dreadful it deserves to be commemorated seventeen years on. Martian Gothic: Unification is one such game.

I mean, just the title alone is enough. It doesn’t make sense no matter how many times you try reading it. It’s yet another title in the ongoing genre of Martian gothic horror? Otherworldly architectural styles are finally coming together? Mars has goths? We will likely never care.

Somehow published by Take-Two, this was a shameless Resident Evil rip-off, set on the surface of Mars. You “controlled” three characters, but here’s your twist, THEY MUST NEVERRRR MEEEEEEEET.

Amazingly, the game began by giving you the information:

“If one dies, they all die. But in the end, only two can survive.”

Just give that a moment to percolate. You can think about that one all day.

It didn’t work, it was buggy as hell, and farcically badly written. And most of all, it had music from, er, “Fir Q”.

PS. I’m really annoyed I’ve only just remembered this one, as it was set in 2017. Bah.

21 Comments

Top comments

  1. Ron Wyden says:

    So I’ve given this one the old longbrain treatment, and I’ve come to the conclusion that “If one dies, they all die.” could be a trivially true proposition, like “If pigs fly, I’ll win the lottery.” because the antecedent is false, the lot is true generally. So we can figure the Martian Gothic Plot Proposition as follows. Let P = one dies; Q = all die; and R = two survive
    Then, we write this little ditty:
    ((IF P THEN Q) AND R)
    and so considering the antecedent of that first chunk is oh wait yeah nevermind it doesn’t make sense to me either.
  1. Beefenstein says:

    From the depths of memory comes pain.

  2. Kefren says:

    I bought this on CD but it wouldn’t install. I’m guessing it was some DRM issue to do with reading sectors from the drive. I was mildly disappointed, since I’d thought it sounded interesting.

  3. doswillrule says:

    Weird, it’s just called Martian Gothic on PS1. I imagine that’s a fatuous US marketing thing, a la ‘The Raid: Redemption’.

    It’s not good, but it was at least interesting, riffing on Resi 2’s Zapping System and almost doing Resi 0 ahead of time. I’d put it in the same stable of Resi-like curios with Deep Fear, as something that’s at least worth checking out.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    Ok, template

    “DO you remember this game?

    I don’t. But it was crap. I remember seeing screenshots and it was kind of crap, I played the demo, and it was crap. My god, you see the plot? It was so trite. So I don’t really remember, but I have to fill some sentences and I want some SEO fodder, me likes SEO.

    [look for something in Mobygames to fill two more sentences]

    Ok bye”.

    Really, I would prefer this content not to exist in RPS. If you talk about games, please talk about them.

    • arienette says:

      Just don’t read these articles? Problem solved. Page clicks and all that.

      • Ghostwise says:

        If people start not reading what doesn’t interest them, then civilisation collapses, zombies arise, and we might even run out of chocolate.

    • April March says:

      I like how your template fits about ten percent of the entries in this series. That’s how you know it’s a good one!

    • sharpmath says:

      Ah right, now did you mean to post this template on a different have you played since it doesn’t fit to this one at all?

    • John Walker says:

      Yeah, thanks for your input, but I reviewed the game when it came out.

  5. Daymare says:

    Fingers crossed for its eventual kickstarter revival to be a success, then!

  6. PerlonKid says:

    I bought this as it was made by the same studio that made Dreamweb. Luckily I was somehow able to return it after playing for a few hours and coming to the conclusion it was complete muck.

    Absolutely loved dreamweb back in the day though. Mostly for the atmosphere and music. I think the game was next to impossible without a walkthrough but the ending blew my young mind! It’s weird how some games just stick with you no matter how many you play.

    I’m off to youtube to try to find the soundtrack…

    • noom says:

      Dreamweb has a special place in my heart too. That tone; grim and murderous yet sort of… relaxed? No doubt if I played it now it would all just seem hackneyed, but as a kid it drew me in deep.

      • Danda says:

        Dreamweb was interesting and Martian Gothic looked interesting but didn’t cut it. I guess the late 90s transition from 2D to 3D was for some developers like the end of the silent movies era.

  7. April March says:

    I now want to read a Mars Gothic Horror story.

  8. Dezztroy says:

    Game Informer’s Super Replay of this is quite good.

  9. TheAngriestHobo says:

    Well, the graphics do remind me of Gothic.

    Also, I think that Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams proved that literally any genre can be set on Mars if you want it badly enough.

    • Esin12 says:

      I was actually thinking the same thing. “Is this some obscure RPG similar to Gothic set on Mars that I’ve never heard of? If so, that sounds pretty rad…”

  10. Ron Wyden says:

    So I’ve given this one the old longbrain treatment, and I’ve come to the conclusion that “If one dies, they all die.” could be a trivially true proposition, like “If pigs fly, I’ll win the lottery.” because the antecedent is false, the lot is true generally. So we can figure the Martian Gothic Plot Proposition as follows. Let P = one dies; Q = all die; and R = two survive
    Then, we write this little ditty:
    ((IF P THEN Q) AND R)
    and so considering the antecedent of that first chunk is oh wait yeah nevermind it doesn’t make sense to me either.

  11. CaidKean says:

    I honestly think this game gets shat on more than it deserves. Whilst I definitely agree that the gameplay is subpar, I think it has better writing than the vast majority of survival-horror games.

    My understanding is that it was severely limited by the publisher’s insistence that it get a PlayStation release and not just a PC version and as such the developers had to cut down their ambitions considerably to make sure it could accommodate the PlayStation, the PlayStation version of the game was also released just two weeks prior to the PlayStation 2s launch which naturally meant it had an extremely hard time getting noticed.

    The writer and designer of Martian Gothic, Stephen Marley, has done a number of interviews in both written form and as podcasts where he discusses the development of the game and the issues and mistakes he’d like to have avoided.

    With all that said, I think any fan of survival-horror games owe it to themselves to at the very least watch a playthrough of Martian Gothic.

    P.S. Fenella Fielding as MOOD makes for a far more intimidating AI than Terri Brosius as SHODAN. Yeah, that’s right, I went there.

  12. CutieKnucklePie says:

    “I’m getting very bad sensations from this…as if a cat had just licked my heart.”

    This one was famous for the terrible voice acting too xD

    link to audioatrocities.com