One of the most innovative laser games is also one of the least likely
ones you'll ever see in this day and age. Created by an upstart named
Simutrek, they obviously lacked the funds necessary to properly distribute
the game to the arcades. And given that laserdisc games required a
substantial investment over traditional coin-ops, it all spelled doom
for the game.
Designed as a futuristic treasure hunt within a massive 3-D cube world
at the end of the universe, the game is divided into alternating
strategy/action sequences. The first screen gives you a radar map of
the cube and allows you to choose which of its 54 corridors you want
to enter via an option buttin which rotates a whole set of corridors in
the same way you'd rotate a section of Rubik's Cube. Once you've set
your path, it's time to do battle with the natives -- and Welcome to
Stargate Thirteen time. You're suddenly drifting down what seems an
endless tube filled with weird visions out of alien jungles, or Leonardo
da Vinci's notebooks, or DNA molecules, or a host of other things.
Each different corridor comes complete with a variegated horde of
hostile alien life, which will variously shoot you, ram you or block
you with huge maze-like walls that seem to grow out of their own
bodies. If you can manage to shoot your way through, the cycle starts
again. Sounds somewhat like Tempest with frosting, right? That's
basically what it was. To its credit, Cube Quest's laserdisc corridor
sequences are one of the most crisp, clean, detailed and imaginative
ever made, and traveling down them is an utterly hypnotic experience.
The computer-generated graphics are so hi-res they appear to match or
surpass any video game graphics ever seen in its day. The 16-channel
soundtrack (part pre-recorded and part computer-generated) is spectacular
as well, and even the blue cabinet manages to be an achievement (the
seat looks weird, but it's one of the most comfortable gamer's support
out there). Cube Quest is definitely a work of art that sadly wasn't
(and will never be) seen by 99% of gamers.