Written by  :  Jeanne (76593)
Written on  :  Dec 30, 2002
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Sat on my shelf for years before I finished it

The Good

Whenever I remember Countdown, one particular scene comes immediately to mind. I'm standing in a small cellar with no visible way out. I've just finished finding my way through a complicated hedge maze and this tiny room was at the end. In front of me is a rack full of wine bottles. My gut tells me that a secret door, and my escape, lies behind that wine rack. But, for the life of me I don't can't figure out how to open it!

The year was 1990 - desktop computers were fairly new. The only ways to find help with a game back then were 1) Spend mega-bucks and call the company's "hint line" (if one was available) or 2) Find a Bulletin Board with a walkthrough on it or 3) Hope that one of your friends has played it and can give you a clue. Evidently none of those worked at the time because I shelved the game and hoped to be able to finish it someday.

The Internet was my salvation, because I finally got a chance to finish Countdown just a few years ago. All of it came flooding back the moment the intro flashed on my screen - the way to avoid the guards in the hospital, the fun time in the maze, and of course that wine cellar! Only this time, I knew the answer and got beyond what had me stumped before.

It was indeed nostalgic to play Countdown nearly 10 years later. I was still amazed at the depth of the game. The graphics, of course, were very "classic" and the interface was the old "choose an action" word type. The music was truly spooky, suspenseful and mood-enhancing. Moving the main character with arrow keys felt a little awkward, but I got used to it.

The Bad

The story itself was a bit bizarre, but it kept me interested all the way to the end. It's a little like "Dr. Moreau meets James Bond", if you know what I mean.

The game didn't provide clues for some of the puzzles, so I had to use a hint file!

The Bottom Line

If you still have a computer that will play MS-DOS games, and you are in the mood for something a little unusual, try Countdown. It's a game with all the elements that make up a good adventure and spy thriller.