Rather than take the easy option of a straight translation of William Gibson's novel, Brian Fargo and his associates at Interplay have created a whole new scenario based on the cyberpunk plug in, tune out world of electronic mind hacking. Containing many of the features predicted by Gibson, Neuromancer is all the more exciting because a number of his ideas are being developed today.
You begin the game in a compromising position (face down in synthetic spaghetti and very hung over) with no clues as to who you are or what you are supposed to be doing. After chatting with various characters the mysteries of the game begin to unravel, along with some very shady characters such as the rather corrupt police force.
There are various levels of communication within the game, the most obvious being the spoken word, which happens in the main part of the game where you walk about in the 'real world'. By logging on to the various computer networks, you can meet many more people, as well as getting a lot more done through clever 'hacking' - such as altering computer records to state that certain overdue bills have actually been paid.
The final, and most interesting section, is cyberspace. A completely computer generated world, cyberspace is where you got to meet all the big guys and where all the real things get done in a surrealistic 3D landscape full of strange geometric objects. Played almost as an arcade sequence, you have to try and break into the main computers using ICEbreakers, pieces of high level software designed to crack the security protection, called ICE.
The main problem with Neuromancer is getting started. As you begin almost totally clueless the game seems a little aimless. Once you've progressed further into the game, however, things start to fall into place. The puzzles are varied, yet logical, and unlike most arcade adventures, you never feel like you're in a position where you have nothing to do. The wealth of information you collect means that making notes is essential but, be warned, there are more than a few red herrings. It has been far too long in appearing, but I'd be mad to say it wasn't worth the wait. A perfect primer to the world of cyberpunk.
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Neuromancer, Maniac Mansion, Leisure Suit Larry 2, Nuclear War, Maupiti Island, Night Breed: The Interactive Movie, Leisure Suit Larry 3, North & South
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