the writings of a mind

Title: Fog
Genre: Adventure
Big Word: Polluted
Strap: "cryonetworks: e-magine your world." Says more than I ever could.

Cryo haven
't got "it". They don't know where "it" is. They don't even know what "it" is. "It" entirely escapes them. Perhaps by Pavlovian training I will eventually come to realise that the words "Cryo" and "adventure game" are much the same as the yellow and black stripes on the back of a wasp - a danger sign.

It's never a warm welcome when installing a game requires three manuals and a language translator. The paltry pamphlet that accompanies the box is bereft of information, meaning that you have to visit the website to find out what on earth you should be doing. Unfortunately, at the time of this review, the "English" website contained random chunks in French, meaning your semi-lingual hack had to brave the seas of the Babelfish. Then it was through the mistranslated marshes of two online registrations, before it was even possible to start playing. (Don't get me on to trying to find out where the 3D hardware option was hidden). Blimey.

Fog is a concept. You are a member of an amateur detective club in Victorian England, sent into situations which there "are not enough police for", to solve murders. (Oh dear). And you do it entirely online, through a Cryo-developed 3D engine called SCOL (Standard Cryo Online Language). You pick a profession (journalist, medium, scientist or solicitor) and investigate the crime using your particular vocation's skills. The intention is that you then work together with others of different professions in order to pool resources to reach goals. Nice idea.

Utterly unplayable though. Problems ooze out endlessly, like a really deep burst spot. The useless camera angles mean that the slightly respectable graphics are not worth noting, and using the early 90's Sierra system of cycling through mouse icons with a right click soon reveals that the majority of the verbal responses are actually random. Containing more bugs than one of those dreadful pots of sticky furry things at museums, it is an entirely hair-tearing affair. And it's not exactly speedy on a 56k modem - after a very long download time things eventually smooth out, but a cable modem would be ideal.

The idea of pooling ideas together as a gaming community is a great one - however each and every discussion I had while playing centered around quite how bad this game was. Everyone had a bug to warn of, or a question about what on earth it was that they were supposed to be doing since the instructions were either illegible or absent. During my travels I bumped into a journalist from our sister mag in Germany, and you'll be pleased to know that our European friends will be receiving a very similar review.

This is as utterly miserable as all of Cryo's other adventures, but this time misery has company.

Margin Note:

Just enough room to squeeze in another miserable failing. Even on a Geforce 2 MX, it wasn't possible for Fog to run reliably in fullscreen mode, frequently running out of video memory and instantly crashing.
I really tried to find something to like, honestly.

 Yet another Cryo for help.


Tech Specs:

Publisher: Cryo
Developer: Cryo
Minimum System: PII 300, 32Mb RAM, 4Mb graphics card, 300Mb HD space, 56k modem
Recommended: PIII 450, 64M RAM, 16Mb 3D card, broadband connection
Multi-player: Only
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