Genre: Adventure, Strategy
Perspective: 1st-person, 3rd-person
Setting: Cyberpunk / dark sci-fi, Sci-fi / futuristic
Narrative: Detective / mystery
Published by: Psygnosis Limited
Developed by: Psygnosis Limited
Platforms: DOS, PlayStation (PSX, PS1)
The Icarus space station is a project that is unparalleled in its boldness and grandeur. Located near the newly discovered star Xexor, it serves both as a deep space exploration site and, more importantly, as an excellent source of fuel, all other sources of which have long been exhausted by the Earth Empire. The best technicians and advanced scientists have been honored to lead humanity to progress, maintaining and improving the systems of Icarus. But where people are faced with the unknown, things sometimes take a bad turn, and this case was no exception. Sentient's protagonist, a physician named Garrit Sherova, has been hired by the station's owners, the mega-corporation InStar, to deal with the effects of a mysterious radiation sickness that has caused turmoil among the Icarus staff. To make matters worse, Garrit's shuttle crashed into the station's docks at full speed, suddenly losing control. What will happen next? It's up to you and only you.
Probably no other game can have the above statement more than it does Sentient. The role of the player in everything that happens on board a lonely station isolated from the habitable part of space is determined only by the actions of the player himself and his desire to delve into the essence of what is really going on here. Literally from the first steps through the vast research facilities of Icarus, you will find that the life of the crew members is immeasurably far from calm. The mysterious experiments and the inexplicable behavior of some of the people on board are creating distrust among certain groups of specialists in others. And engineers, in the fight for their own safety, are already taking drastic measures against the hated scientists. The guards look at you with suspicion, and the doctors are seriously afraid of the start of a radiation epidemic.
As you earn more and more trust in the eyes of the captain and crew members, your freedom of movement will increase significantly. All floors and compartments are already becoming available for study, and with them the opportunity opens up to get to know the people with whom Garrita has a contract with InStar. And how successful he will be in his attempts to get used to the employees of Icarus, only you determine. And all thanks to the ingenious system of dialogues, which, in fact, are the main, most important part of the Sentient gameplay. The first thing that catches your eye after the start of the conversation is the wide possibilities for constructing the necessary phrases and questions, allowing not only to exchange standard politeness formulas, but also to find out, for example, the attitude of some crew members to others and their opinion about current events. At any time, you can ask any colleague you meet for advice on how to use one or another item that is in your hands or how to get to the desired room by the shortest path. Why is there advice - they will help you not only in word, but also in deed, escorting, for example, to the indicated compartment of the station. Particularly important remarks that critically influence the further development of the plot are displayed in a separate line, and the reaction of different crew members to them turns out to be, again, very, very different. And sometimes a carelessly thrown word can go sideways to you.
The more you learn about the workers of Icarus, the more diverse your options become. And the maximum disposition of the team can be achieved only when Harrit in his remarks begins to take into account not only the profession and rank, but also the temperament of the interlocutor. Soft and submissive people are more likely to respond to a clear and direct order than to lengthy polite exhortations. But it is better for resolute and active persons to immediately express their humility, and the wall of distrust will quickly fall under your skillful verbal attacks. Excellent results are sometimes given by frankness, a joke told to the point, subtle flattery. And sometimes it is worth using rudeness - especially when the situation requires it. At the same time, you need to keep an eye on facial expressions - both of the one with whom you are currently talking, and of your own character, Garrit. Having made a serious face, you are more likely to find an approach to people who do not approve of wasting time on jokes and entertainment. And by politely smiling at a passing guard in the corridor, you will increase your chances of further rapprochement with both him and his friends.
The station itself, like its inhabitants, lives its own life, and all its devices at the time of your arrival are functioning properly thanks to the work of continuously working technicians. But as the situation heats up, more hands may be needed than is available at the moment - and this is another chance for you to directly influence the course of events. Correct the course, increase the power of the engines, patch up a failed device that blocked the entire chain of devices connected to it - the timely performance of these simple actions can save not only you, but the entire station in the future. And together with it, to reveal to mankind such knowledge that no one could have thought of before ... But this, of course, is only possible if you were able to establish yourself well in the eyes of the officers and gained access to the technical compartments of Icarus. As you can see, in the harsh world of Sentient, everyone gets what they deserve.
Thousands of little things that cannot be fully grasped either during the first or even during subsequent passages, as well as the presence of random factors that can both help Garrit and significantly complicate his life, are extremely organically intertwined with the lively, constantly changing atmosphere of life on Icarus and each time they prepare new surprises for the player, pleasant and not so. You never get bored of playing and replaying Sentient - after all, even having learned every corner at the station, remembering each of the six dozen crew members by sight, you are still guaranteed to stumble upon situations that you didn’t suspect before. Creating this masterpiece, the developers did their best, and now you have the opportunity to join this classic of the adventure genre in order to show humanity the way to new heights or destroy its last hope for salvation.