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Fountain of Dreams is a 1990 computer role-playing game. Published by Electronic Arts, it was originally intended as a follow-up to the popular computer role-playing game Wasteland. Neither Interplay nor any of the creative team that created Wasteland worked on Fountain of Dreams, and at some point, Electronic Arts dropped all claims that the game had any connection to Wasteland, much to the relief of the employees of Interplay at the time.

Rumors circulated in 2019 that Electronic Arts might be selling the property to InXile Entertainment, but nothing materialized on the topic.

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Summary[ | ]

Fountain of Dreams is set in post-nuclear war Florida, literally separated from the continental United States of America by heavy bombing. Life on the island of Florida is constantly threatened by the threat of mutation (due to residual radiation) and encounters with local ruffians known as the Killer Clowns, as well as three organized crime factions: the DeSoto Family, the Obeah Orders, and the Bahia Mafia. The player controls a small band of adventurers who set out to find the purifying waters of the legendary "Fountain of Dreams" to stop the spread of mutation.

Although the manual promises an expansive game set across fractious Florida and its city-states, the actual game is limited to a small area surrounding Miami, enclosed by a literal wall (Mickey's Wall) surrounding the area and cutting it off from the mutations running rampant across the island. The players set out from the home compound to seek adventure and become entangled in a search for a solution to the ever-increasing danger of mutations. After working with Miami Police to dismantle the latest smuggling attempts by the Bahia Mafia and undercutting the mighty DeSotos, the party seeks out Wilfred for TomTom Mahut, head of the Obeah Orders, to settle the feud between them and the Beachcombers. In the process, they will learn of a commune of mutants living in the Glades, under Roger Ribbet, and that the Beachcombers have been kidnapping OhOhs to sell them to the cultists in exchange for the water of dreams that can keep their mutations at bay.

At this point, the home compound is likely to be raided by the Killer Clowns (triggered by using DeMedici's services at least once), which will bring the party to the Killer Clown Kollege. While exploring the college, the player finds Joey Auguste locked up and frees him. After navigating its myriad horrors and killing Kermit Eli, the retired leader of the clowns, the party will find Granny Astor. She will ask to be returned to Gramps Astor and in turn, prompt him to seek reconciliation with the mutants at their village together with Felix Brewhoe. After which we destroy the Clown army, kill the powerful Eerie Willie, and leave the clown college without finding Kiwi. The game culminates with a showdown against Kiwi Eli, the genocidal leader of the Killer Clowns, at the Fountain itself. His defeat will unlock the Fountain for humanity and save it from extinction.

Gameplay[ | ]


Alan Murphy's portfolio, showing some of the cut portraits.

The game runs on a Wasteland-style engine created from scratch by Electronic Arts, that approximates many of its functions, but lacks depth. Player characters are defined by seven attributes and some twenty skills, divided into active and passive, but there's no skill point management or libraries. Attributes can be freely increased by Felix Brewhoe's consumables (limited only by the money available), which coupled with a very limited number of distinct enemies reduces the game to a grind to get enough experience and money to face the Killer Clowns.

Furthermore, the sci-fi aspects are gone, replaced with a mutation system that can cause players to mutate if exposed to mutagens while fighting Florida's mutated beasts. The system adds special skills that have little impact on the game, unfortunately, and act mostly as another money sink, as mutations eventually inhibit the player character's healing and must be suppressed with a bottle of DeSoto rum (or healed at DeMedici's, which brings the clowns' wrath down on his house).

While the game is small and limited in scope, there are numerous commented out skills and functions in it, including skills both active (Forgery, Electronics, Cryptography, Pick Pocket) and passive (Boating, Gambling), as well as mutations (Corruption and Mutant Recognition). Three more conditions were programmed as well. Beyond hex editing, Alan Murphy, who worked on the game's graphics, also released several assets showing a cut entry scene for Tragic Kingdom (parody of Disney World's Magic Kingdom) and numerous portraits for NPCs, including more clowns, a dolphin-headed mutant, and a cybernetic chimpanzee.

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