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FC ALERT! Planetside systems are deteriorating. FC imbalance detected. Emergency reviving systems completed. You are now in control of the complex
SENSA INTERRUPT: Seismic aftershock detected ten meters north of Beta FC. Tremor intensity 9.7. Projected damage: connecting cables in Primary and Secondary Channel.
FC INTERRUPT: All Robots, report locations.
These words begin Michael Berlyn's Suspended: A Cryogenic Nightmare. In the game, you have "won" a lottery on the planet Contra and been cryogenically frozen in a facility that controls its critical systems. Under normal circumstances, the facility runs itself (with guidance from your sleeping mind). But something has gone horribly wrong, and you've been woken to avert disaster. And you must avert it quickly, because the people above you think you've gone insane (like your predecessor) and caused the disaster yourself.
Suspended is different than your standard interactive fiction because you do not interact with the world directly. Instead, you give orders to one of your robots. And complicating things further, each of these robots has differing capabilities:
- Iris can see but cannot leave the confines of the Central Chamber (where you are located). She has two small manipulators. She also starts the game broken and blind.
- Waldo has sonar capabilities and six grasping extensions.
- Sensa can sense vibrations and electromagnetic fields. She has three grasping extensions.
- Auda can hear, and has a single grasping extension.
- Poet has a touch sensor, but speaks in gibberish. He has three grasping extensions
- Whiz can interface with the central library and answer questions. He has two grasping extensions.
- A seventh, unnamed robot has acid shielding, sixteen extensions, and can speak. It starts the game broken and in an unknown location.
The robots all start in different locations. The game shipped with a map to help track all robot locations.
Suspended has three difficulty settings, altering the number of turns available to complete the game. Ranked "Expert" by Infocom, it is widely regarded as one of the most difficult of all their games, even at the easiest setting. The scoring system also differed from other Infocom games. Rather than based on completing goals, the score was the number of casualties on the planet above, which the player attempts to minimize.
Like most Infocom games, Suspended shipped with "feelies" (view feelies
). These included a briefing document, your lottery card, a letter informing you of your lottery "win", and a fold-out map with pieces representing each robot.