Critical Path

Moby ID: 3362
Macintosh Specs
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Description official description

You and a female fellow soldier called Kat are stranded on the roof of a factory on an island in a post-nuclear world. Your pilot is dead and your helicopter needs a small but vital part. You are wounded, so Kat is the only person who can find the missing part, and to do so she has to enter the building that crawls with madmen led by General Minh. From the Control Room where you are hiding you can help her, so you may have a chance to survive.

Critical Path is an interactive movie with action-based sequences, in which the main character Kat has to shoot, fight, set traps etc. It also has puzzle-solving elements as you, as the wounded soldier in the Control Room, have to enter codes and push buttons to help her survive.

Kat starts with nine lives. When she looses a life, the player can continue with one less life or reload an earlier part of the game (automatically saved; the game has no saving slots). When all nine lives are used up, Kat dies and Minh kills you in the Control Room. In this room you will find Minh's notebook with clues and instructions about the workings in the factory and his special traps.

Spellings

  • クリティカル・パス - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Windows 3.x version)

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Starring
Executive Director and Concept
Lead Programmer
Mac Conversion
Lead Modeler/Animator
Lead Artist/Mapper
Director
Producer
Screenplay
Executive Producer Media Vision
Executive Producers
Stock Photography
Critical Path Theme
VIE Quality Assurance Director
VIE Quality Assurance
Music
  • Her House Productions
Sound
  • Her House Productions
Producer German Version
Critical Path Theme Music "Kat Attack" composed by
  • Her House Productions
Uses Video Display Technique Quicktime for Windows by
  • Apple Computer Inc.
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 72% (based on 8 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 14 ratings with 1 reviews)

Help Kat survive... for about 30 minutes.

The Good
As one of the first examples of the genre, Critical Path is actually one of the better interactive movies released, at least in the sense of how the premise is blended with the gameplay. While other "games" of this genre practically made no effort to hide the fact that it's all just a movie and you press the right button at the right time, Mechadeus instead crafted a gameworld around the fact that you have to watch a movie and interact with it, as they placed you in a command center from where you survey your fellow crash survivor Kat's exploits to escape an industrial/military complex. You see, both of you survived a helicopter crash on enemy ground, so in order to escape you are tasked with figuring out the controls in the command center while Kat acts as your woman on the field. The fact that she is supposed to be an individual character acting parallel to you helps sell the idea that you are not just watching a movie by justifying the strictly peripheral control you get on this kind of games, which is helped by the fact that Kat doesn't blindly follow what you tell her to do but instead acknowledges your ideas, asks for confirmations, etc.

In all, save for the Daedalus Encounter, this is one of the only interactive movies where I actually felt the whole premise of watching videos and interacting with them was justified and worked more or less perfectly.

Oh, and "Kat" has 9 lives... Har-har, developers are so clever!!!

The Bad
It's so early in the game that this is basically a demo for what an interactive movie could be, designed to showcase each possibility for interacting with videos, be it selective branching, Dragon's Lair-like interaction, etc... all in a package that will give you about 30 minutes worth of enjoyment... That's right. About 30 minutes.

I distinctly remember hearing about how this really was an industry demo that somehow got greenlighted for a commercial release, and while I don't know if that's 100% true, playing the game sure makes it feel that way. Some features are only used once, like the directional orders, or the yes/no communication system (which only works for a scene were a broken-down Kat ask if you "are still with me" to the player... answering either way makes no difference in case you were wondering, but I'm betting the concept of interacting with the character in such a way blew some stupid exec.'s head away).

Production values must also have been on a tight budget, as the whole thing ends up being a B-class action production with Lightwave or 3DStudio backgrounds instead of the cardboard sets usually used for this kind of direct-to-video stuff.

Besides that... it's an interactive movie, so that pretty much sums it up from a gameplay point of view.

The Bottom Line
It might sound crazy, but there was a day when getting a bunch of Quicktime clips and branching them with a graphic interface seemed like a good idea for selling a game. This is a product tailor-made for selling that idea to executives and game company suits, so it makes excellent collecting material, as industry demos are pretty hard finds nowadays (unless you count stuff like Quake as industry demos...har-har!)

Windows 3.x · by Zovni (10504) · 2005

Trivia

Critical Path and QuickTime for Windows 2.1.2 Known Issue

In the Windows version of Critical Path, Apple Computer created a support article for QuickTime telling that after installing QuickTime for Windows 2.1.2, the MCIQTW.DRV from the Critical Path game directory (which is C:\CRITPATH\QTW\ for example) is removed if the user decides to search for an old version of QuickTime for Windows (which is version 1.6.1) on their computer. The only way to correct the problem is that the user needs to copy the file from e.g. C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\ to C:\CRITPATH\QTW in order for the game to function properly.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by TO.

Macintosh added by Zeppin.

Additional contributors: Katie Cadet, Zhuzha.

Game added February 23, 2001. Last modified May 31, 2024.