"You cannot destroy me."
"Yes I can!"
"No you can't!"
Sounds like a couple of kindergartners fighting in the sandbox. Would you believe me if I told you that this is actually the type of dialog you will run into in Pop Rocket's music video adventure game Total Distortion? In Total Distortion, you play an "up-and-coming" music video producer looking for some fresh new material for his videos. Where are you going to get this new material? The Distortion Dimension of course! You see, scientists have discovered a way to transport people through time and space to other dimensions. There are dimensions where everything is based on the things you read in tabloids, and there are even dimensions based on war. You are on your way to explore the Distortion Dimension, a dimension based on heavy metal music, populated by rock stars and evil Guitar Warriors who will strike you down with deadly power cords from their guitars. You have to travel through the Distortion Dimension, kill Guitar Warriors, tape material for your videos, make those videos, and send them back home to make money. Trust me, its not as easy as it sounds.
The graphics in this game are fairly well done, but they are nothing revolutionary. They are your standard polygonal graphics. For the most part they look like Myst on LSD. One good option is the ability to choose between jumping to the next place, like Myst, or smoothly moving to the next spot.
If there is one place that this game excels, it is in the area of sound and music. They purposely chose a cheesy computer voice for the dialogue, that somehow fits perfectly. The creator Joe Sparks and his team created 50 original songs for this game and all they do is help it. They have great names like "Rocket Funk, Devil's Underwear," and the unforgettable "You Are Dead." With ripping power cords and a head-banging rhythm, the songs just get stuck in your head!
The game controls are, unfortunately, not the greatest. Mostly its just point and click, but the real problem is during "combat." When you come up against a Guitar Warrior, you need to go into your case, get out the guitar, then start using it. This takes way too long, and the majority of the time you are already dead by the time you can fire off a shot or two.
The major problem with this game is that the only way you can make any money is by creating the music videos. First of all, the concept is difficult to grasp, and second, the execution is even harder. The producers are extremely picky; you have to really practice with the video mixing board to make a good video. Also, Total Distortion is only fun once. When you finally figure out what the producers want, that's it, you win. There is not much room for extended play.
Other than the sound and music, Total Distortion has only one other good thing going for it, its sense of humor. For all the work Pop Rocket put into this game, they can still poke fun at themselves and at the whole idea of the game. You can have extremely funny conversations throughout the game, such as with the Guitar Warrior. You can insult him and his Metal Lord, and he will still act like a child! ("Can not, can too!") Also when you are buying a ticket for a show, after you purchase your ticket you have 4 choices of things to say to the sales woman, but they are all the same thing.