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Fathom Me This, Batman!
May 19, 2009 4:38 PM   Subscribe

It's a bit difficult to give context to Fathom without ruining the fun of the game, but I daresay it's worth your time. A bit more here, and the comments there seem to offer a few useful hints if you're getting too frustrated.
posted by WCityMike (44 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
whoops, I finished it. huh.
posted by GuyZero at 4:58 PM on May 19, 2009


Also, I dunno. The framework that he apparently used is probably cooler than this particular game. it does play like a proof of concept.
posted by GuyZero at 5:00 PM on May 19, 2009


Well... that was annoying.
posted by markkraft at 5:02 PM on May 19, 2009


Perhaps a little bit of context might be needed: the game does go on after the boss, and there is help with the maze available if you look around your environment.

Basically, reason I liked and posted this was that I thought the music in the post-boss sequence was really rather pleasant for this kind of game, and that the game itself was a bit fun to figure out, and thus worth sharing.
posted by WCityMike at 5:05 PM on May 19, 2009


I played it to an endgame, though I'm wondering if it's the endgame or if there's something I could have done to produce a different result.

As a piece of game art, I liked it; the big transition was pretty effective at kicking my expectations (and concern that you hadn't played enough platformers before or something) out from under me, and the change in tone was really pleasing at that.

I'm not sure I would have wanted to play much more of it than I did, though.
posted by cortex at 5:06 PM on May 19, 2009


Hmm. I wanted to like it but I grew weary of smacking my noggin against those cold, dark walls.
posted by shino-boy at 5:07 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Arrr. There be spoilers in the tigsource link.
posted by juv3nal at 5:11 PM on May 19, 2009


Yeah, overall it was fine, as a platformer, heh, not so much. :)
posted by GuyZero at 5:12 PM on May 19, 2009


Arrr. There be spoilers in the tigsource link.

Right. Which is why I said that there are hints there if you're getting too frustrated trying to figure it out yourself.
posted by WCityMike at 5:15 PM on May 19, 2009


Outright spoiler, hopefully obscured by supertiny text (copy and paste into something): after your death, z turns on your light and x emits bubbles. get enough fishes, and watch their general flocking movement -- it generally gives you a good idea in which direction to navigate next. once you're dead, there's a tree, a chamber opening, and then you go up into a gradually whitening area after which your pieces fall down. supposedly, a guy in the comments says there's a hidden pixel you can stand on in the boss stage to stick around long enough to kill the boss, but i'm not sure if he's really trolling or not.
posted by WCityMike at 5:25 PM on May 19, 2009


The first boss isn't too bad. The space level and 2nd boss are TOUGH, though.

Where's the water level?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:04 PM on May 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Eh, the second boss was nothing compared to the Emerald Tsar in Lava World Six. And yeah, I haven't gotten to the water level yet.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 6:06 PM on May 19, 2009


Aww..I was hoping it was the one where you get to be a dolphin.
posted by zerokey at 6:18 PM on May 19, 2009


I thought the game was the water level. :(
posted by Memo at 6:36 PM on May 19, 2009


Leotrotsky and UP#2 are foolin' around, Memo.
posted by WCityMike at 6:41 PM on May 19, 2009


I was compelled to play it through to its end(?) and overall it was a pleasant enough experience. Sometimes I enjoy games that take a left-turn from your expectations, like Eversion. (Note: "NOT INDICATED FOR CHILDREN OR THOSE OF A NERVOUS DISPOSITION.")
posted by Monster_Zero at 6:46 PM on May 19, 2009


I played until I was underwater with fish and no perceptible way out.

Mehquit.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:13 PM on May 19, 2009


when I'm trapped underwater with a bubble gun and a flash light,
I hope that through my panic I remember to point the gun behind me so I can see where I'm going, not where I've been

but i like the atmosphere after the transition a lot -
music and fishes and the tree that was full of stars
posted by sloe at 7:14 PM on May 19, 2009


Those Judas fishies led me to my death!
posted by Reverend John at 7:47 PM on May 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Its short enough once you figure out that your only possible friends in the game are trying to help you out. They're only so smart, though, and seem to be able to go where you can't...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 7:49 PM on May 19, 2009


supposedly, a guy in the comments says there's a hidden pixel you can stand on in the boss stage to stick around long enough to kill the boss, but i'm not sure if he's really trolling or not.
I'm pretty sure he's trolling. *SPOILERS* I decompiled the swf file just to check if the boss was actually killable. The player and various enemies that can die have an Explode( ) function that handles the death animation. The boss doesn't appear to have any code like that at all.
posted by yeoz at 8:11 PM on May 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


the goddamn rope wouldn't burn underwater!
posted by limon at 8:19 PM on May 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


props to yeoz for anal retentiveness.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:26 PM on May 19, 2009


the goddamn rope wouldn't burn underwater!

You need the magnesium torch upgrade.
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:30 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I dropped? something I clearly need and can't pick it up again. Bug or feature?

Either way this slyt of awesome has completely satisfied my video game urges for the day.
posted by ecurtz at 8:40 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hate the underwater controls of this game. It's like a whole game of mandatory underwater levels.
posted by LSK at 8:44 PM on May 19, 2009


Neat. Thanks for posting this.
posted by hellphish at 9:12 PM on May 19, 2009


I dropped? something I clearly need and can't pick it up again. Bug or feature?

To answer my own question it's a bug. If you drop anything you may as well reload the page because you can't recover the object.
posted by ecurtz at 9:18 PM on May 19, 2009


I love thi quote from another site:

"Third attempt: Downloaded an "autofire" program to help increase paltry damage output. Ran straight to the boss fight and unloaded into him. After bringing him down to zero health, his bar started to scale in the other direction. After discovering that there was no provision in the code to compensate if the player actually "won"
posted by leotrotsky at 9:37 PM on May 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think my favorite explanation of the second, underwater stage is that it's what Purgatory is for 8-bit sidescroller characters. One thing the comments note is that the final scene, after the gates open at the bottom, takes place in an underwater version of the game you play in the first stage, pre-boss. The chamber you head upwards in is equivalent to where the boss came from. Death = death. And, of course, your "life meter" is zeroed out when you're down there, lending further credence to this person's theory that the character's dead.

Also, for those who liked the music, just a note that you can use Flaex to pull the MP3s out of the game SWF.

Speaking of which, you da man, Yeoz.
posted by WCityMike at 9:58 PM on May 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


leotrotsky: "I love thi quote from another site"

I'm so very much not surprised that came from Boing Boing Gadgets.
posted by WCityMike at 10:03 PM on May 19, 2009


Wha? I can't tell if there's some obscure joke here that you guys are just riffing on, pretending that there's all this stuff in the game, and I'm being stupid, or not. I couldn't figure out, after hitting every key on my keyboard and having nothing happen, how to do anything in this 'game' other than run left and right in the bottom part of the initial screen. *shrug*

Ah well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:04 PM on May 19, 2009


Also, I realize that one of the game's points is that they're totally useless, but just for the anal-retentives among us, it looks like the total number of hex nuts you can pick up in the first stage is 33 — all the enemies prior to the boss are shootable ...
posted by WCityMike at 10:09 PM on May 19, 2009


stavrosthewonderchicken: "I couldn't figure out, after hitting every key on my keyboard and having nothing happen, how to do anything in this 'game' other than run left and right in the bottom part of the initial screen. *shrug*"

In the first stage, Z jumps, X fires. In the underwater stage, Z turns on a light and X emits bubbles for direction. If those aren't working for you, perhaps the Flash game doesn't have keyboard focus?
posted by WCityMike at 10:12 PM on May 19, 2009


Supposedly it's based on An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge which I have never read. It makes sense, but I'd hardly call it particularly deep. I much preferred Today I Die if you fancy a bit of art in your flash.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 11:06 PM on May 19, 2009


Hello, Cave Story art style. I missed you!
posted by grobstein at 1:56 AM on May 20, 2009


Either way this slyt of awesome has completely satisfied my video game urges for the day.
posted by ecurtz at 4:40 AM on May 20


Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh hell yes!

I just... gah

buh

Damnit! It had better come out on 360, is all.
posted by Drexen at 3:14 AM on May 20, 2009


After playing the underwater part, I started over and had a good, proper go at the boss. I got him down three-quarters of his health. Kind of proud of that.

The very best thing about the game is that the big underwater area's graphics reminded me a lot of the original Metroid.
posted by JHarris at 3:41 AM on May 20, 2009


I hate dark in video games. It makes me feel frustrated that the game is arbitrarily removing my ability to play well and/or enjoy myself. If that's what the game's going for and does something with it, then yay. Just for the sake of pretty? Well I'm not gonna stick around. People should learn this from Doom 3.

I don't know what I was expecting though, apparently if you do a modern day 2d platformer and call it 'arty' then you can ignore the need to have fun or enjoyable gameplay, because well, gaming peaked at Super Mario World for some. Us gamers that enjoy being good at games are left out in the cold. Or more accurately, left underwater with minimally performing controls and the inability to see where you're going.
posted by Submiqent at 3:44 AM on May 20, 2009


Oh boy, ART!!!!11

...
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:53 AM on May 20, 2009


And, of course, your "life meter" is zeroed out when you're down there, lending further credence to this person's theory that the character's dead.

Yeah, and the final moment of the game after you successfully ascend could be taken as literally the next moment in time and space—your character descending again from there—but I like to think that it's actually just a retake of the character's initial descent instead, but body rather than soul. Jacob's Ladder, perhaps.
posted by cortex at 6:22 AM on May 20, 2009


So being at work and unable to actually try the game, I'm trying to figure out whether it's something to bookmark for later through the comments.

And I can't help wondering if this is actually like a videogame version of Mornington Crescent?

Also, regardless of how Fathom is played, you lose the game.
posted by Naberius at 7:35 AM on May 20, 2009


I really enjoyed that. It was a genuinely interesting little puzzle, nice music and graphics, and little fishies!
I love these little sort of "Huh!" type games.
posted by lucidium at 9:37 AM on May 20, 2009


I like art games and this was decent. A very anticlimatic end, though, and there's a whole bunch of maze underwater for just three points of interest.
posted by flatluigi at 10:47 AM on May 20, 2009


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