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Discworld II: Mortality Bytes! (Windows)

83
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3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Ola Sverre Bauge (235)
Written on  :  May 13, 2000
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars
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Summary

Quite good, but missing just that little extra.

The Good

In the sequel to Discworld, Rincewind finds himself assigned with the task of locating Death, who's gone missing; the undead stinking up the streets is becoming a problem in the not-so-fair city of Ankh-Morpork. Naturally, no one is going to actually help him any. On the way, he passes through most of Discworld's regions, and a couple outside of it.

Rincewind is accompanied by his semi-animate sidekick, the Luggage: A travel chest of sapient pearwood, sporting more legs than the average caterpillar and an unrestricted storage capacity, an excellent excuse for limitless inventory.

The graphics are now 640x480, and well-drawn too; the clean animation on hand-painted backgrounds really make the best of the 256-color palette. The music is a particularly pleasing kind of ambient symphonic; the fact that it's low-key makes it all the less jarring when it changes with the scenes, and it sets the mood nicely. The only catch is that the sound is 8-bit, but this is only really noticeable in a few spots (and sad noiseheads like myself kinda like quantization noise anyway).

The Bad

If you've read a fair amount of Pratchett the jokes may be old already. This may be the biggest problem for the already-converted. The puzzles are almost exclusively of the shopping-list variety, to the point where Rincewind himself makes resigned jokes off it; depending on your preferences, this may ruin the game completely. I didn't really mind, however.

The NPCs are sometimes thin; there's a bit too much recycling of voice talent going on. I don't think I noticed this very much the first time around since I was laughing harder and spending more time in each part, but this became glaringly obvious when I replayed it. The conversation itself is usually pretty good though.

The last couple of acts are pretty small; as you run out of areas to solve puzzles in, Rincewind says outright that there's no need to bother going back (which is at least honest). It's by no means as bad as the original in this respect though, and again unlike the original, I didn't butt my head against any bugs in the endgame.

Eric Idle's Life of Brian-esque song number is fairly gratuitous, and has potential for lodging in your brain like the worst of pop. Thankfully, it tends to get exorcised by the excellent title theme and ingame music.

And finally, there's a certain lack of overall spirit to the game; it's pretty obvious that the plot was adapted by people who aren't Pratchett, and this creates a feeling of people trying to sound like someone they're not.

The Bottom Line

Definitely try before you buy. If you aren't laughing after 15 minutes, don't bother, since it all hinges on getting the humor. If you get it, then the little things will probably seem perfectly excusable, and if you don't, they'll probably seem glaring. And if you don't like long conversations, definitely give it a miss; DW2's characters ramble on to no end.

Do try it if you like this sort of thing. There's some good craftmanship in there.