Last Updated on November 3, 2022
Full-motion video or FMV games never really took off, but that doesn’t mean they are without their admirers. For every The 7th Guest or Contradiction: Spot the Liar there is a Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game. Made possible with the arrival of CD-ROM technology in the mid-1990s, FMV games by rights should have exploded in the 21st century, yet strangly have not.
All of this is probably why the uncovering of a lost SEGA Saturn FMV game, Sacred Pools, is so interesting.
Developed by US studio SegaSoft, Sacred Pools was intended for release on the SEGA Saturn in 1997, along with PC, Mac, and Sony PlayStation. Yet somehow it went unreleased on all three platforms (perhaps due to the critical panning of its preview at E3 1996), and has turned up all these years later thanks to ex-SegaSoft employee (and the game’s associate producer) David Gray.
Now in the hands of the Gaming Alexandria videogame preservation site, Sacred Pools flame (ahem) has been kept alive only by memories of mentions in the gaming press and the persistent rumour of a prototype. It was initially promoted via press release:
If you crave mystery, power and seduction, step into the world of The Sacred Pools. The once secure, safe and beautiful island of Amazonia is now a land of temptation and danger. SegaSoft’s The Sacred Pools exploits today’s technology creating a new level of game play so unreal you have to feel it to believe it.
Sacred Pools was alo listed to boast the following features:
- Extraordinary full motion graphic capabilities allow players to explore the island while fighting off Radical tribes, drinking libations at the water bar or dancing with beautiful (but extremely dangerous) sashas in an effort to reach The Sacred Pools
- The Sacred Pools marries the control of three-dimensional computer graphics with the production value of filmed entertainment
- Breakthrough Virtual Navigation in Real Space technology (VNRS) allows players to navigate and negotiate their way through the evil land of Amazonia, controlling the environment every step of the way
- Multiple levels make it accessible to all types of players
Also known as “Rebellion” and “Amazonia”, the game featured scantily clad women and was directed by James Riley, who had previously worked on Star Trek: The Motion Picture before moving into FMV games in the 1980s. Holding the visuals and music together was work from The Code Monkeys, a UK-based outfit who had previously worked on 16-bit adaptations of The Games: Summer Edition.
We recommend you check out the detailed article on Gaming Alexandria, which also mentions a launch party with entertainment from Hole. Meanwhile, you can download the prototypes of Sacred Pools from the Internet Archive.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.