Players attempting to unravel the many chains of Connections hopefully will have seen and memorized the shows that serve as the basis for this game as it is extremely complicated and difficult. Fortunately, however, a hint system is provided.
At the beginning of the game, James Burke gives players the reason for constructing the chains. The web that shows how everything is connected, by ideas, thinkers, similarities and other connections, is breaking down. Players must rebuild the these links or chains of connections and also rebuild and re-stabilize the web at the same time.
Connections takes players from a pseudo-medieval village to a wild west town and beyond. At each step, players must reconstruct a chain of items and solve puzzles that block the path. Along the way, players are guided by James Burke and see clips from the series, focusing on the items in the chain and their connectivity. After each chain is complete, James Burke appears once more and explains all the items in the chain again and what connects each item. Then, players are whisked on to the next chain. As more chains are completed, James Burke stays a little longer, showing players that the web is stabilizing.
Connections plays in full-motion video (FMV) with characters appearing in digitized form on a computer generated background that are fully three-dimensional and can be quite stunning to look at. Even better, they don't detract from the game one bit. To play the game successfully, you'll need to put your thinking cap on, especially if you play with the hints turned off. They are only presented for one chain at a time, preventing players from "paging ahead" and spoiling too much of the game too soon.
While this is an exceptional game, the very difficulty of it detracts from its playability. Unless you are a rabid puzzle gamer who is used to exhaustively testing each and every item in the game for possible clues, Connections can leave you frustrated for days and weeks on end. Playing with or without hints is optional and can be accessed from a circle with a house icon on it in the lower right corner of the screen.
Graphics: Excellently done. It really looks like this is a movie, not a game.
Sound: Very good and easy to understand what the characters and James Burke are saying.
Enjoyment: Very difficult to play; may cause players hair-tearing fits.
Replay Value: Once you have played through, there is really no reason to play again.
Connections is based on the TV show on The Learning Channel, which traces human political, cultural, religious and social history as a chain, linked by technological discoveries or inventions. In the game, there is a computer program you must fix, by finding connections that bind its world together.
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