CIMA: The Enemy: 2003
Developer: Neverland Co., Ltd.
The CIMA aliens feed on humankind’s hopes and dreams. They build elaborate mazes and trap people inside them as a way of producing their food. A force called “Gate Guardians” was created to protect the population from this menace. Three Guardians were on a train delivering settlers to a distant station, when suddenly a portal for another dimension appeared and transported everyone to a strange moon-like place. The Guardians must find the way home and bring back safely every passenger.
CIMA: The Enemy combines role-playing and strategy elements. Although labeled a RPG, the game lacks several traditional features of the genre: there is no levelling up, nor any form of currency or shops to buy equipment. Instead, the game is focused on the management of a huge party of characters (16 by the end of the game). The main objective is to guide these civilians on mazes, using their unique abilities to overcome obstacles and defeat enemies. Each character has a special trait that can be used to the player’s advantage (a medic that concocts health potions, a blacksmith that upgrades armor and weapons, etc).
Pressing a button brings up a cross with the party portraits at each point and a multicolor cross on the middle. The characters can be individually guided by selecting their portraits or moved in groups by selecting the multicolor cross. Three way-points can be set for easier manoeuvring (almost a necessity, the characters have a tendency to get stuck on corners and walls).
One crucial gameplay aspect is the amount of trust the party members have on their Guardians. Each character has a gauge that shows the amount of trust they have. This number increases and decreases according to actions within the game. If a character is hurt his/her trust decreases, and a red heart with an arrow pointing downwards appears over his/her head. Likewise, if a character sees a guardian slaying a monster the opposite effect happens, and a green heart with an upwards arrow appears over his/her head. Trust is important because the characters only cooperate with the Guardians when they have the right amount of it.
When a party character is about to expire, a jewel is displayed besides the main character’s health bar, and an alarm sound is played. Death of any party member ends the game instantaneously.