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Entertainment Earth



BCDM: BIONICLE™: Legend of Mata Nui
Posted by Mark on May 29, 2004 at 01:38 AM CST:
MoD reader Deep Brick shares pictures and more from BIONICLE™: Legend of Mata Nui, the never-released PC CD-ROM game, cancelled in October of 2001.

The first thing to note about the game is that the famous introductory movie of ONUA washing up onto the beach has been slightly altered from its demo form. Unlike the demo, where an organic-looking winged-creature pecks on ONUA's canister, the new movie has a distinctly-more BIONICLE-looking bird do the honors:

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The main menu of the program takes place at Kini Nui, the central shrine of Mata Nui. ONUA is there, and you have his claw for pointing and clicking. Clicking on different options takes you to different parts of the Kini. "Play Game" takes you to another menu where you can select from one of four players. Games are automatically saved as you play, and there are no options for saving a game in more than one state. This is particularly troublesome because you can easily get irreversibly stuck in some areas of the game.

Once a new game has started, you play as ONUA, just as you would expect. The beach you washed up on has a few unfriendly Ussal crabs upon it. (Note the use of MATORAN limbs for claws). The mouse controls your site, and you can fire fruit at your opponents. Defeated opponents usually spin around a bit and eventually disappear as their Infected HAU rise into the sky.

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The controls are fairly common now for this type of game. The left hand controls the TOA's movement and the right hand controls the site. The colored lights in the upper-left corner track your health and energy. You current mask is shown in the lower-left and it spins when it is active. The upper-right corner counts the number of BIONICLE-logo rings you collect. Some doors are not passable until you collect enough rings. Here, ONUA is picking some rings up off the beach while smoking a bit from heavy Ussal fire.

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Most of Onu-Wahi is underground of course, so this is usually a very dark level. I don't know if it is the lack of light, ONUA's eyes, or just an unfinished feature of the program, but all of the MATORAN (still called TOHUNGA here) are colorless during game play.

Once you have made it from the beach to Onu-Koro and defeated all of the RAHI along the way, you are greeted by WHENUA:

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It seems ONUA must collect masks, a disk, a staff, a pet, and a piece of the Toa Stone for his part of the quest. Toward that end, ONUA goes exploring:

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There are many different RAHI in the game: spiders, crabs, bats, and others. They often have to be defeated before you can move on in the game. The Fikou Nui is one such creature whom we have not seen before, shown here in an overhead view attacking ONUA:

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ONUA needs to use his masks as he travels. Fortunately, places where masks are needed usually have a sign posted.

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Masks not only need to be worn, but they need to be powered. While they are powered up, the in-use mask spins as it is displayed on the screen. The RURU offers improved night vision:

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ONUA eventually makes it to his Kini. There, WHENUA greets him and warns him of a dangerous Earth Elemental nearby. When WHENUA and ONUA "speak" to each other, WHENUA talks in an undecipherable high-pitched squeaking noise and ONUA answers in an equally undecipherable low-pitched grumbling noise. Is that the way to the Earth Elemental, through that crack? We may never know.

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At this point, ONUA can take a quick trip through the portal to his new home of Onu-Koro, or he can continue onward to search for GALI. Unfortunately, these steps are both infested with bats and spaced too far away from each other, resulting in death should you try to hop all the way to the bottom. The other five TOA are supposed to be playable, but we may never get to see them because of this impassable passage.

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The Inventory tells us a little bit about the rest of the story, as do the song titles.

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Most intriguing about the Inventory screen is the VAHI mask at the end. The VAHI was originally to be distributed with this PC game.

According to the music titles, POHATU has a run-in with a bull, LEWA encounters a wasp, KOPAKA goes snowboarding, GALI goes swimming, and TAHU goes lava surfing. The order should be ONUA->GALI->POHATU->KOPAKA->LEWA->TAHU. The music itself is atmospheric and adds quite a bit to the overall effect:

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In addition to the music, there are some movies which are obviously meant for the game but can be viewed outside of the game. Of most interest are the TOA KAITA movie, in which the TOA KAITA take on the MANAS, and the defeat-of-MAKUTA-celebration movie wherein everyone dances. The end holds a bit of a surprise though as a solitary BOHROK awakes.

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So, why was the game cancelled? The official word was that there were problems with "chip compatibility and timing." The chip compatibility problem appears to be that the game only runs properly on nVidia graphics chips and not ATI or Matrox. The timing problem appears to be that the game was not finished on time.

It is a real shame that the game was not completed on time, and also that it was not given more time to be completed. If the ONUA level is any indication, the entire game is deeply involving, with vast areas to explore and interesting challenges to overcome. Despite the three-year old story, it would still be snapped up by BIONICLE enthusiasts if it were to be completed in the future (a very unlikely prospect, given that most of the people who worked on the title were subsequently fired from Saffire, Inc., the developer).

You will note that the BIONICLE® PC CD-ROM game which shipped last year, developed by Argonaut, was only partially finished too. The difference was that Argonaut, by whittling down the promised six TOA and six TOA NUVA to just two TOA and four TOA NUVA, was able to ship on time.

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Stories Related To This Story
October 19, 2001  Official Story On The PC Game



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