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Burn:Cycle (Windows 3.x)

72
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.4
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Zovni (9367)
Written on  :  Jan 31, 2004
Platform  :  Windows 3.x

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Summary

Another Interactive Movie failure

The Good

The best things about Burn: Cycle come from a story/creative content point of view. The story, which stars you as data thief Sol Cutter, is ripped straight from Jhonny Mnemonic (that really awful movie starring Keanu Reeves based on an excellent short story by William Gibson collected on the equally excellent Burning Chrome compilation) but is done so with good production values and actually eliminates some of the annoying elements that made the movie such a flop. The story is set on a cyberpunkish future with giant media conglomerates ruling over the population and a super-developed cyberspace that has spawned millions of hackers that act as freelance rogues ready to make a quick buck and stick it to the man in the process. Cutter is one of the later, but instead of jacking into the net for a living he's a living hard drive able to download and steal data into his brain. In J. Mnemonic, the problem came from the fact that Keanu downloads a sensitive file bigger than his memory's able to handle, so not only does he have to get rid of the file pronto, but he also needs to escape the bozos that don't want to see that information released. In B. Cycle Cutter has no size limitations, the problem comes from the fact that the data he downloaded was infected with a nasty virus that will liquify his brain in 2 hours real-time, so he needs to get a cure pronto. Plus guess what? The data in his brain is extremely sensitive (as in world-saving sensitive) and a bunch of bozos are after it as well.

Soo.... yeah, let's say Gibson should sue. But that's good news really. The story is interesting, and it's told via FMV that stars a cast of unknowns that really manage to deliver convincing performances and with a good use of art direction both in live sets as well as computer-generated backgrounds that bring the cyberpunk world to life.

As far as the game goes, it's interesting to note that it actually uses a real-time 2 hour limit which does actually enhance the sense of desperation on the later stages of the game.

The Bad

The only bad thing about Burn: Cycle is the game itself. This is a typical interactive movie in the worst way possible, a story (that is actually interesting this time) slapped with a collection of uninspired mini-sequences based on arcade/puzzle mechanics that work around a myst-like interface where you walk around in first person perspective and deal with the mini-games as they pop up. The problem with these interactive movies is that there is no real gameplay concept, they just make a story and then come up with the connecting "game sequences" as they go. Result? Incoherent, unimaginative filler material that doesn't draw you in and has no inherent challenges. In fact, the only moment they can get difficult is when they become so unimaginative that they resort to cheap shots in order to try and "keep you occupied" for a while, Case in point: near the end there's a HORRIBLE puzzle that is actually just a stupid maze, seen from a top-down perspective with you losing whenever you clip a wall.... yeah, right? But get this: to make it a challenge they decided to screw up your control making the whole mini-game a cheap exercise akin to those "Shock sticks" seen on fairs....good god can't they at least TRY???

Oh yeah, and you also get for your money shoddy digitized graphics courtesy of shitty video codecs from the era...

The Bottom Line

The typical Interactive Movie: all the attention placed on a rather good (albeit COMPLETELY ripped off) story, and none given to the gameplay. For collectors only.