Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Korean Week: Korean FMV games

OK, it should be tuesday almost everywhere now. Sketcz has made it easy for me to chose the first subject for this week, so today let's have a look at some FMV games you've never seen before.

As I've only actually played three of the following games, we'll have to do without ratings, well-founded opinions and all that nonsense. FMV games have been a much more niche genre in Korea than in the west, but there still was a handful of titles released between 1995 and 1997 (maybe 1998, too). Not all games shown here completely match the definition for a FMV game, but I think being more inclusive is the better way to get some content together.

Hong Gildong-jeon 2 (1995)

Of Hong Gildong-jeon 2 I actually have access to a demo version. Not an actual FMV game, but this one follows in the footsteps of Dragon's Lair, Space Ace and other similar games, only here it's all pixel graphics. Every once in a while the series of quick time events is interrupted for a fighting game-styled match whith quite terrible controls.

Time On Target (1995)

I guess this is also more of a proto FMV game, the stages look a bit like FLI animations. Time On Target is one of the very few games I actually own (together with Universal Force below), it's a tunnel shooter with many different play modes. The first stage is a standard over-the-shoulder sequence in a canion, after that follows a first person ride through a cave where you have to avoid rocks. In stage 3 the ship transforms into a tank, which is the easiest stage so far. Stage 4 is like the first one, only in space. I haven't gotten any further yet, as the game is very hard, or rather unfair.

Firewall (1995)

The only game here that wasn't PC exclusive, as LG had it developed for the 3DO, alledgedly in cooperation with the US based company Visionary Media, but it is not known whether LG had any part in the development itself or just published the game. An English release was planned, but given the lack of information on the game, I guess that was scrapped. I don't know whether this was a pure FMV game or if it mixed them with real time polygone graphics.

Anicom adult games (1995)

Anicom was apparently the most active FMV game developer, although their gameography still amounts to no more than 4 titles. I don't know much about most of them, only that they were all 18+ games (which by Korean censorship standards means that you might see women in lingerie).

Rules of the Game

Secret Meeting in a Dream

Black Cats

The only more well known title is ...

Seoul 2010 (1996)

This has to be the greatest FMV game ever. I mean, just look at the screenshots. The gameplay is apparently a mix of stupid adventure parts and crosshair shooting stages.
Everything about the screenshots, from what looks to be the whitest ninja performance ever given by an Asian up to the bluescreen parts in front of cheaply prerendered backgrounds, just screams super-cheesy campfest. I wish I would find this game, but since it was adult only, this might be a bit difficult to get.

Majimak Seungbu 2on2 (1996)

Produced by Samsung Electronics and based upon an animated TV mini series, I'm not sure whether 2on2 is actually a FMV game or based on pixel animation like Hong Gildong-jeon 2. The story is based on highschool basketball, but there's kidnappings and other exciting stuff. The game actually features basketball sequences, but apparently they're menu based.

Universal Force (1997)

This game is for the most part a 3D flight shooter like Terminal Velocity or Fury 3. But a few missions are played with the ship in "auto pilot mode", and it takes the form of a rail FMV shooter similar to Chaos Control. The renderings in these sequences are not too bad, but sterile and boring, but worse is the fact that the videos are running in a scanlined mode, which isn't pleasing to the eye on a PC monitor at all.

Laburinthos (1998)

This could be one of the easier live action games to track down, as the full game was included on the CD of a game magazine in 1998. In fact, I couldn't confirm so far that there has ever been a standalone release for this one. Live action have always leaned towards adult entertainment, and this one was no exception. The magazine almost apologized to their customers for the atypical nature of the game (this is not actually a game, as you don't take direct control ...) and its content (not all the actions are morally, as the player has to to things like gambling ...) As it was released with the magazine, it will definitely be very tame regarding sex & violence, though.
The story itself is a futuristic detective thriller set in the near future of 2011 (what's it with FMV games and 201X?). The player assumes the role of I., a freelance programmer and hobby hacker, who has to solve the mystery around his disappeared friend.
Apparently, the game also features a hacking minigame and some simple adventure-style puzzles.

Elevator (unreleased)

OK, I only know these two screenshots and that it was also set in the future (2050-ish). The game never came out, but judging from the screenshot, it might have had the best production value of the Korean live action games.

That's it for now, see you on thursday.


  1. Incredible stuff.

    I wonder what happened to those unreleased games. Sitting on some guys HDD in Korea? In the hands of secretive Korean collectors?

    It's an interesting route the information took, and it's probably impossible to get in touch with the original people.

  2. If you find Seoul 2010, let me know. It looks amazingly stupid, and I love things like that.

  3. Looking at the screenshots I gotta say that Time On Target reminded me a lot of Microcosm