Sydonis Sydonis

About - Gameplay

Overview
In the eerie corridors of the Sydonis, Resident Evil meets Bomberman in an action-packed thriller. At first glance, a game like Sydonis might appear to be a completely action driven game given the suspenseful nature of its plot and the dire circumstances the player must face. It also caters to an audience that enjoys solving puzzles, however, due to its central game play elements that aim to steer clear of the traditional point and shoot action genre. What makes this game so dynamic is the fact that the player must navigate puzzle like challenges while keeping track of enemies chasing after them. This mix of play styles will attract gamers who love action game play and also those who enjoy a little critical thinking.

Although many gamers are accustomed to the kind of scenario that allows them to plow through obstacles with their guns blazing, Sydonis gives the player the opportunity to face different types of obstacles that require strategic thought and planning. The game mechanics are also greatly influenced by the fact that it is a survival game. Suspense is evoked through the player's own frailty, and their ignorance of where the enemy may next appear. Sydonis does not succinctly fall into any single genre because it is a hybrid of the elements typically found in action and puzzle games; it is more accurately described as a survival game. Therefore, the likely audience for this game includes core action gamers and puzzle solvers.

Style of Play
Sydonis has an action/puzzle style of game play. The key elements in the game are the player's avatar, crates, Trackers, items, and objects. The main focus of the game play is moving or destroying crates while avoiding or killing Trackers. The player's goal is to reach the end of each section of the cargo bay after finishing any objectives the level requires. The sections of the cargo bay are tile based with all objects occupying the full space of any tiles they are on.

Armed to the Teeth
The player is equipped with an energy gun and plasma bombs. The energy gun shoots lasers at enemies, while the plasma bombs explode after a countdown. The explosion from the plasma bombs affects all the tiles adjacent to the one where it is placed, and the bombs inflict significantly more damage than the lasers. The player can also grab and push certain crates to create a passageway through the cargo bay.

The Cargo Hold
There are three types of crates, and each will feature unique markings in order to allow the player to plan their moves across the cargo bay. The movable crates cannot be destroyed, while the destroyable crates cannot be moved. The indestructible crates can neither be moved nor destroyed; they form impassable obstacles in the cargo bay. When a destroyable crate is destroyed, it can leave an item, spawn an enemy, or explode, causing nearby destroyable crates to be destroyed. The crates form the puzzle element of the game, as the player needs to find a way to reach the opposite end of the cargo bay by moving and destroying crates.

The Robotic Opposition
The enemies the player faces are Trackers, which are robotic killers. There are three main types of Trackers, each with their own unique abilities. The first type simply chases after you and tries to capture you. The second type is equipped with an energy weapon similar to your own that allows them to fire lasers. The final type is equipped with rocket-propelled plasma bombs that create damage patterns similar to your plasma bombs.

The World Itemized
Items function like power-ups in other action games. Sample items include the standard medical kit, more advanced weapons, and temporary energy shields. Items do not take up a tile and are automatically used when the player enters the tile.

Objects are anything else in the cargo bay with which the player can interact. Their role is to enhance the puzzle elements of the game by acting as side objectives, and to advance the story. Objects like blast doors appear at the end of each section of the cargo bay and the player must blast them open in order to proceed to the next section of the cargo bay. Other objects like escape pods allow the player to escape to safety at the end of the game. In general, anything that is larger than a single tile with which the player can interact is an object.

The combination of these five elements will contribute to a game that hopes to capture the excitement of games like Bomberman and Zelda. Sydonis will have enough puzzle elements to separate it from other action games, while maintaining a different mood from any other puzzle game. Sydonis is full of tense action-packed moments as the player maneuvers through the maze of crates, always challenging the player in new ways.

BOOM Spring 2006 Project
GDIAC, The Game Design Initiative at Cornell University
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