the writings of a mind

Title: Schizm: Mysterious Journey
Genre: Adventure
Big Word: Parted
Strap: Nothing says "quality" like a game on five CDs. Nothing wants to.

"The reinvention of the adventure game." Thatís what it says in the paperwork that comes with Schizm. How embarrassing that must have been for the inventor at work here. Like a man sitting up in his converted loft, night after night, day after day, surrounded by schematics, calculations, blue prints, stacks of stained coffee mugs, empty Caramac wrappers, and balls and balls of screwed up paper, suddenly one evening sitting back in his chair, leaning forward again, sitting back once more, punching his arms in the air, and shouting, "Iíve got it! Iíve finally got it! Iíve invented the hair brush!", only to find his wife using one as he went downstairs to tell her the news. Yes, just like that.

Possibly the most extraordinary thing about Schizmís "reinvention" is that it actually manages to take /backward/ steps from the already dire state of European adventure games - which is something tantamount to devolving from an amoebic life form. A certain company, letís not mention their name (on this page), have at least reached the point where they allow the player to look not only left and right, but also up and down. Theyíve even seen the light when it comes to the unhelpful nature of FMV Ďactorsí, since pre-rendered monstrosities save on coasters. LK Avalon, who appear to be the Polish team behind Jazz Jackrabbit, eschew such new-fangled notions, instead embracing everything that could ever be wrong with an adventure game. Which to be honest, is quite an achievement. The spurious claim of reinvention is revealed further laugh-worthy, when one realises the gameplay is nothing but a sub-Myst rip-off. Which is something akin to ripping off Milli Vanilli.

The story is that a guy and a girl have had to abandon their going-wrong spaceship and landed on an alien planetÖ "Stop there!" I hear you cry. "Where from has such a revolutionary idea been revealed?" Well, Iíll tell you Ė itís the work of "the highly acclaimed" Terry Dowling. Who, after a good bit of research by your journalistic servant, is an Australian writer of science fiction novels. And his so-crazy-it-just-might-work idea is to have the two characters wander around their different locations, pressing colourful buttons, until they eventually meet up.

So itís all the usual fare, all puzzles based on counter-intuitively clicking things in the Ďcorrectí order, on some occasions requiring quite ridiculous amounts of mathematical workings, but in this instance Ďactedí out by FMV Ďactorsí. Yes, thatís right, /five/ CD ROMs.

In fairness, the story has a /little/ more depth than your average European adventure, but beyond that thereís really nothing to recommend. Laughing at the Ďactingí only sees you so far, and frankly, thatís what soap opera is for. Schizm: The reinvention of the soap opera.

Margin Note:
Silvery Suits

Itís often entertaining to watch sci-fi movies from the 60s that predict the citizens of the 21st century in their hover cars, living on the moon. Itís not so often that one can laugh at a brand new productís naÔve prescience. Schizm, featuring spaceships visiting other worlds, is set in 2003. So thereís that to look forward to.

 Same old rubbish. Blah blah blah. Wonít someone please kill me?


Tech Specs:

Publisher: Mindscape
Developer: LK Avalon
Price: £30
Minimum System: PII 333, 32 MB RAM, 300MB HD.
Recommended: PIII 450, 64 MB RAM, 3.5 GB HD.
Multi-player: No
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