by Doc Wainwright
PC & Mac
This column is a little unusual this month. This month features two discs whose reviews are such that they absolutely deserve each others company.
We open with Wanderlust, the pasteurized, processed snack cheez of CD-ROMS. This disc could have had all of the mindless, sycophania that I could heap on it, but alas-and-alack...
The visuals are like softcore porn spawn of Myst. The music is stunning with lovely, synthesized Bach and jazz to make your journey even more surreal and ethereal. This is further enhanced by some truly astoundingly high quality graphics, beautifully and painstakingly rendered. This dreamlike world is peppered with puzzles, the mastering of which rewards you with (what else?) the gyrations of naked, sylphlike babe-o-trons.
There the magic breaks down. For one thing, the graphic animations, while quite slick, run about a minute and half longer than is strictly cinematically necessary, leaving the observer tapping his/her watch and saying, Hmmm? impatiently. Secondly, the puzzles are little more than a token formality... almost all of them could be solved by a common flatworm, sea cucumber, or even your average OCA member. Thirdly, you only need to solve one of the puzzles to earn the key needed to end the game and, lastly, the video treats the viewer earns are little more than softcore, Playboy bunny, rock video jiggling, which is not really worth circumnavigating the aggressively mediocre puzzles for. All in all: rent it to check out the graphics and see the pretty girls, but ignore the rest. Unless youre looking for a light dessert disc, dont bother buying it, faithful reader.
PC & Mac
This second disc, incredibly enough, is even harder to contend with. I ran this bugger on three CPUs and on each computer I got aberrant, if not bizarre, results. In most instances I got a black screen in which I could make cryptic buttons appear. In other, more stunning cases, I managed to knock my computer unconscious trying to persuade it to work. Something is clearly seriously wrong with the QuickTime code these folks are using.
The really disappointing thing is that when I manually examined the stills, movies, and other paraphernalia on the disc it looked very slick: hot video, well-done animations -- but I couldnt for the life of me make the damn thing behave. I wouldnt have minded if the disc were apparently a thud, but the fact that this disc is really pretty neat-o and just wont work really chaps my hide. Unless youre feeling lucky, avoid it until they fix the QuickTime mess.
(Thanks to Taboo Video for browse these selections.)