It’s sad that such brilliance in gaming is always overlooked or overshadowed by flashy graphics, a deep multi-player experience or tight, precise control schemes that work so well you get frustrated at the perfect scenario your given. Despite all of this, one of the greatest PC games ever made has been overlooked for years, and lambasted by critics because they never understood the greatness of it. This diamond in the rough, you ask? Why it’s Survivor, The Interactive Game of course.rnrnrnrn
Coming out at the height of the popularity of the most awesome TV drama ever created, Survivor, The Interactive Game pits you, in either the role of your favorite castaway from the first two seasons, or a custom created character, against 15 other characters in a grueling, mini-game challenge mashup where you need to skillfully outwit, outplay, and outlast your opponents.
You start by picking your difficulty, amount of time set in the game, and who your survivor will be. After being thrusted in a tribe of eight, you begin the crux of the gameplay, scheming and plotting to win a fake check for $1,000,000. To scheme with your castaways, all you do is follow a pre-determined pathway that your simish survivors do, be it pissing in the river, grabbing logs and throwing them into a pit where they disappear forever, or even drink water from a endless well, and talk to them. That’s it!
The genius of this design is the text-based formula where you discuss your plots to the survivors, with some of the best dialogue for a game ever. Crazy one-liners like “you must of gotten hold of a bad coconut!” or “I miss food.” Are littered throughout your conversations with the castaways. In fact, they rarely, if at all, even vote with you, a testament to the A.I design of the game, capturing the feel of the show as players backstab each other left and right over the littlest of things. One example would be me, accusing one castaway as being lazy, to which they replied “your right.” Later, at the tribal council, I found my character voted off, and we didn’t even make the jury phase. This, my fellow readers, is a hard game.
The games challenges are equally difficult. Despite having six different shooting games intermixed with complicated, three block puzzles, the difficulty of the challenges is fairly even. The survivor trivia games all will make you scratch your head in confusion at the detail given to the show. Questions like how long Keith stood on the log, to how did Michael fall into the fire, to what type of phone Greg made, are just some of the myriad of examples that are given in the many question games. Other games, like isolation, a maze run, and pushing a boulder up a hill are also played, and once again, the simple control schemes of press the mouse button to go faster or slower prevail over having six or seven different button combinations.
The game captures the feel of the show in its graphics; the bleakness in the sandy, pixilated terrain of the Australian Outback is formatted well here in the screens main hub. The textures don’t mesh well together, and it works perfectly! In fact, it’s probably one of the best representations of terrain in a long time. This, coupled with a melted crayon sky and lifeless, uninteresting sprites makes the game spring to life of the computer monitor. Another good graphical quality is the strength of the sim models themselves, which are so powerful they literally leave holes in the items they push, pull, or walk on. It’s like watching a cosmic being fly through open space, a magnificent sight to be sure.
And the sound is top notch. Featuring FMV sequences and voices from the game, including Jeff Probst, the loveable, hunky host. The midi music is truly a gem, even if it’s considered a relic of 2001 by today’s standards. And the lack of voice-overs for the characters adds to the importance of the text-based system the game is built upon. The sound effects consist of a stereotypical bongo beat in the background with a nice loud “swish” and “ping” effects used in every game, from shooting an arrow to moving a tile piece.
It’s a shame that this game has been overlooked for so many years. I am glad that it’s finally getting it’s due and being herald as one of the greatest PC games ever. If not for nothing else, Survivor, The Interactive Game has proven that it could outwit, outplay, and outlast the backlash of it’s audience, and really transcend to become one of the most memorable games ever made.
Final Score- A+
*NOTE. This is a parody review done on April 1st, 2009. This game is the complete opposite of this review, a F game for sure. Do not take the A+ seriously.