Termination Imminent . . .
Cutter braced his back against the cool concrete wall that formed one half of the hallway leading to his hotel room. Gun leveled, he struggled to keep his burning sweat from running into his eyes and ruining his aim. Nowhere to turn, nowhere to run, and all the while one thought kept crashing through his mind: "I'VE ONLY GOT NINETY MINUTES LEFT TO LIVE."
Sol Cutter thought he was just making a routine data run into Softech Industries, but instead of getting away clean and simple with some stolen goods, a wetwired burn:cycle virus was implanted in his brain, and he now has but two hours left to figure out who did this to him and why, before he drops dead with no questions answered and none more to ask.
So begins BURN:CYCLE, Philips' CD-ROM action adventure game for the PC and Macintosh. Remind you of any recent Hollywood cyberflicks? I thought so.
Typical of the new breed of mind-boggling adventure games,BURN:CYCLE incorporates a lot of video sequences and live actor voices to tell the story of an infoburgler who's in deeper than he's ever been before. Environments, though not drawn in the greatest of detail, all morph smoothly as Cutter navigates through the corrupt, decaying city of the future in a Quicktime VR-type effect. The result is a highly-believable landscape that thoroughly engulfs the player. You are Cutter, and you don't have that long to live.
Apparently, Philips thinks so highly of its soundtrack to the game that it includes a full second CD with background tracks from BURN:CYCLE. Don't believe the hype, kiddies; the music is pretty much just bad industrial, ripe for getting someone extremely depressed. Sure, the music may work with the game, but let's leave it where it belongs.
A hint: save your game often. The puzzles that make up the challenge ofBURN:CYCLE are not your run-of-the-mill quests to find the magical potion to turn a frog back into a prince, but they take serious brainpower to solve, as well as a lot of trial and error. Stumpers range from the synchronization of the gold Buddha's rotating polygons, to a warped version of tic-tac-toe, to an explosive game of find-your-way-through-the-maze, along with a host of other puzzlers that would make even Hoyle sit down to ponder for a bit. Yet even as you study the floating karmic shapes or flying game pieces, the ever-present virus clock keeps ticking away the precious second's of Sol Cutter's life. And through it all, everything has that slightly twisted and surreal Cyberpunk feel to it. .
While BURN:CYCLE may not have the best graphic detail or the best soundtrack ever, it does have an approach so sorely missed by hundreds of game titles out there. Simple to play but difficult to win, the game refuses to be put down for long. Every character has genuine personality to him or her, which completes a very well-crafted universe. So, how much longer do you have left to live?