I’ve not seen such brav- [Beep] Uh-oh… That… doesn’t look good. In 2015, I did a video over “Survivor: The Interactive Game”. It, uh… wasn’t too amazing actually. I bought this game thinking it was one that I had played when I was younger, but it turns out that I was thinking not of Survivor: The Interactive Game, but of “Survivor Ultimate”. It’s new!
[music] Released in 2002, during the fifth season of the currently still airing 33 season long TV series, Survivor Ultimate sets out to bring the excitement of the reality game show right to your PC. If you haven’t seen the Survivor TV show before, the whole idea is that two tribes will compete against each other Sometimes for rewards, and sometimes for immunity from tribal council, which is a vote that happens at the end of each episode. Tribe members form relationships and alliances while living out in the wilderness and then are forced to put those alliances to the test by voting out a member of their tribe. Unfortunately for the developers, it’s pretty near impossible to bring the excitement of such a physically and socially demanding show to the PC. Nevertheless, Infogrames gave it a shot, so let’s see what they came up with.
While I was trying to get the game to work I played a bit of the regular difficulty and actually found it a bit too easy, so I’ll be playing on hard because I’m overconfident. Next, we have to assemble our tribe. Since I’m playing a full game of 13 episodes, my tribe will consist of eight members that I can select from a list of players from the first four seasons of the show. A competing tribe of eight members is randomly assembled by the computer. There are no custom characters like in the previous game. We just choose a survivor to play out.
I went with Frank for no other reason than that I really like how Jeff says (said stiffly) “FRANK.” Clips from the show act as transitions between episodes, which is nice But the camp life section of the game is *completely* changed from before. The previous Survivor game featured a clunky, unfun segment where your character would wander around camp and you could interact with your teammates who would repeat the same five lines of dialogue endlessly. Instead of all of that, camp life is summed up in short journal entries.
Reading about camp events isn’t exactly the most exciting thing, but it is an improvement over the last game. I mean, at least it’s short. (Ian reading dramatically) When the clock starts to tick, Get to work real quick. When the squares are unmixed, The picture will be fixed. Okay, so it’s no Shel Silverstein, but it gets the point across. The first challenge is a series of puzzles featuring stills from the show.
It’s not the most inventive challenge in the world, but it does function as intended. Even though we’re on hard difficulty though, it doesn’t seem like the Rotu tribe is putting up much of a fight. “Maraamu” Our tribe’s victory grants us team immunity, which means we don’t have to go to tribal council and vote off a tribe member. However, we can still take a look at the Attitudes and Camp tabs to get a bit of an insight as to how things are going in the Maraamu tribe. Turns out that our boy Frank is not only the best builder and most resourceful member of the tribe, but most people pretty much hate his guts. So, uh, that’s not looking too great.
Lucky for Frank, I’m pretty well-versed in the games ahead, such as this koi-themed game of Minesweeper. Turns out that to prepare for the grueling challenges of Survivor, one need not look much further than the Games folder. “Maraamu.” As far as the reward challenges go I’m not quite sure what the point is. Our tribe won some waterproof matches, which boosts our camp rating. But aside from filling up this bar here, I don’t know that the camp rating actually does anything.
The game’s manual implies that losing reward challenges could affect our relationship with teammates But honestly, it just seems a little random. Outside of the camp events at least, those do seem to have a direct effect on relationships. You better believe that when Kelly throws a bunch of wet leaves on the fire like a frickin’, NOOB, everybody’s feeling a bit unfavorable about her when tribal council rolls around. Fortunately for Frank, these challenges just aren’t super challenging.
From placing coins on a grid, to a game of Simon on steel drums, these minigames seem less like a struggle for survival and more like you’re stuck at Grandma’s and this is the only game she has on her computer Our game of Survivor Ultimate continues to follow the format of the TV show pretty faithfully. Eventually the team swap happens, with Frank moving to the Rotu tribe. From there, he continues his grandma game dominance.
There’s a simple memory matching game with coconuts, a simple memory matching game with random objects, and a simple memory matching game with photographs, which is just a *joke*. You’re supposed to study and memorize pictures and then answer questions about them, but if you simply move as fast as you can, you can score plenty of points just based on the one second glance you take at a photo. It wasn’t exactly a challenge. “Let’s see the scores.” “Rotu.”
Ohoh, yea, that was a real nail-biter that one. The first challenge that I lost was a game called “Temple Paths”. In this game you have to draw a path from the start to the finish, making sure it connects to the two corner pieces and using a limited supply of tiles. The only person I can blame for losing this one is myself.
I simply didn’t see the solution even though it was very, very obvious. But it was a reward challenge, not an immunity challenge, so it didn’t really affect anything. I honestly think that the rewards are just a waste of time. Anybody else out there remember that famous episode of Survivor where the two teams had to battle it out by huddling around a slot machine? It’s not truly a collection of grandma games without a slot machine minigame.
And while I do have a soft spot for the slots, it doesn’t really seem like they belong in a survivor game. Now, a survivor-themed slot machine, though? I’d play that. Now that the tribes have merged, we can no longer avoid going to tribal council. But after winning a sliding tapestry puzzle, Frank has immunity from being voted out of the game.
Welcome to the survival period. This is where all the social simulation is supposed to take place. We didn’t have to do it before because we weren’t going to tribal council, so it didn’t matter. The survival period has a series of three rounds, where you can create alliances, accept offers to join alliances and invite others to join you.
Simply select a person to vote against and a person to try and recruit. You can get a feel for who might vote alongside you in the Attitudes tab, where you can see how everybody is feeling about each other. I think that right now it makes sense to try and vote out Sean because apparently Sean sucks, so I got a little alliance rolling against him. “Welcome to tribal council.
Grab your torch behind you and, take a seat.” “It’s time to vote.” [dramatic ambiance music] “Sean.” “I’ll go tally the votes.” “Once the votes are read, the decision is final.
The person voted out will be asked to leave the tribal council area immediately.” “I’ll read the votes.” “Alicia.” “Kelly.” “Kelly.”
“Kelly.” “Sean.” “Sean.”
“Ethan.” “Ethan.” (picthed-up) “E t h a n.” “You’ll need to bring me your torch.” Yea, suck it, Ethan. The tribe has spoken.
Very loudly. In comic sans. All the characters are just so emotionless. It’s a little bizarre seeing their torch get snuffed without any kind of reaction. They just look bored, or confused or something. That’s pretty much Survivor Ultimate.
A game that proves to be better than the one before it, but still doesn’t really capture the essence of Survivor. I think the biggest disappointment for me is the lack of attachment to the characters. Aside from a single photograph, you never really see your survivor doing anything until tribal council. You don’t even really see them during the challenges unless *this* counts.
The social aspect is a huge part of the actual Survivor TV show, but it just feels kind of brushed to the side in Survivor Ultimate. Even putting together a successful alliance isn’t remotely exciting, and while it *is* better than wandering around and talking about beef jerky for no explainable reason, this part of the TV show just doesn’t translate to the PC very well. But that’s not to say that it’s all bad.
I mean, for a 2002 game based on a reality TV series, things could have been a lot worse. The minigames, while nothing you haven’t seen before, are still at least fun enough to kill some time. I particularly enjoyed this Roulette Jackpot-styled game. I was always a sucker for this game at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Frank’s downfall, though, came from this Mahjong-styled game. Were this a regular game of Mahjong, I would probably have been fine, but the twist of having to find all matching or all different tiles made things a bit more difficult.
“Neleh.” This was the first immunity challenge that Frank lost, which means it does make sense that everybody wants to instantly get rid of him, but it would have been nice if there was something I could have actually *done* about it other than wait for the inevitable vote. “The tribe has spoken.” [dramatic ambiance music] “FRANK.” Survivor Ultimate just seems to fall short on the whole “outwit” thing.
In fact, I don’t know that outlast is very accurate either, outplaying seems to be the only strategy that’s sticking around. But as far as minigame compilations go, a survivor fan could do much worse than Survivor Ultimate. Well, not *nowadays*. Its current price tag is way higher than what the game is worth. But I can see why I remember having fun with this game in my past.
In fact, I actually see a lot of potential in the LAN multiplayer functionality. I think hosting a Survivor Ultimate LAN party would be a lot of fun. The challenges are simple and familiar enough to where anyone could join in, and during camp segments, you could take little breaks, get up and get some snacks, and maybe even secretly discuss alliances.
But as a solo experience, Survivor Ultimate just isn’t up to the challenge. IIIIt’s new! [upbeat music]