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 of
BURN: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?