Playing Circuit's Edge is like riding a roller coaster. You'll find a lot of things to like but plenty to dislike as well. In the end, though, the game is an enjoyable experience.
Chances are that, at the beginning, you'll be happy with the game's graphics as the windows are nicely laid out and the menu system is easily accessible. The graphical depictions of scenes, although not drawn too well, manage to successfully convey the sort of rough and gritty atmosphere that pervades the game world of Circuit's Edge.
But, as you play awhile, you'll be fairly annoyed at the poor font choice. The game utilizes a fat and stumpy font that's somewhat hard on the eyes, especially over an extended period of reading. The font also makes it fairly difficult to pick out key words and phrases within the text descriptions.
The game's music has its highs and lows. As you step out of the first location, you're beset with what could possibly rank among the poorest choices of game music ever encountered. The music you hear as you walk around the streets consists of some cheesy synthesizer sound effects that would only be appropriate in a bad alien abduction movie. On the other hand, the hard rock that's played when you enter seedy nightclub joints is quite good and makes you want to visit these places more often during gameplay.
Circuit's Edge is essentially a text-based adventure type game played without a text parser. Instead of typing your commands, you select actions from a menu at the top of the screen, then select the corresponding item or object on which it is to be applied. As a result, the game is quite limited in the range of actions you're allowed to perform compared to a traditional text-based adventure.
The puzzles also reflect this limitation as most of them are of the fetch and deliver variety. The few that aren't FedEx missions rely on your ability to talk to people and type in an appropriate conversational subject. But, these can deteriorate into annoying "guess the word" games when you know what sort of information you need to extract but don't know the exact wording of the question needed.
The greatest success of Circuit's Edge is its ability to deliver a dark and gritty environment in a way that is quite believable. Because of the immersive quality of the game's atmospheric setting, you'll be willing to overlook the crude graphics and average gameplay.
Circuit's Edge is a world straight from a futuristic cyberpunk writer's wildest dreams. Random violence is a way of life with everything either dark and dirty or super-chromed and glittery and everyone is either surgically or cybernetically modified, insane or both! The game world is easily the best aspect of the game's design and you'll remember it long after you've forgotten everything else about the game.
In most respects, Circuit's Edge is no more than average. Some parts of the game are quite well done but are offset by the parts that are poorly thought out or simply sloppy in their presentation. The game is still an enjoyable experience, though, especially for fans of the cyberpunk genre, mainly due to the atmosphere of the game world.
Graphics: The graphics are decent and help add to the game's atmosphere but the choice of font is particularly poor.
Sound: The music runs the gamut from good to bad.
Enjoyment: Gameplay is nothing special but the game world is thoroughly captivating.
Replay Value: You can't wander around on your own very much and the game tries to force you down a specific path.
Play through the science fiction of George Alec Effinger's "When Gravity Fails" series; chip personalities and skills into your brain, take drugs and beat up thugs as you try to solve a murder mystery in the Middle East-meets-New Orleans "Budayeen." Many unusual characters populate this game and there is some adult content - hookers, drugs and sex changes, albeit in chunky EGA. The interface is similar to Crescent Hawk's Inception, and particularly Mines of Titan - all made by Westwood in the late '80s.
Circuit's Edge is an atmospheric, well-written game based on "When Gravity Fails," an excellent sci-fi series by George Effinger about the Budayeen-- a small corner of Morocco notorious for violence, sex, and drugs. The game's strength lies in the outstanding and rich depiction of the world that Effinger envisioned.
You play Marid, a down-on-his-luck two-bit courier looking for a job. The game play - walking city streets, visiting bars and talking to sexchanges, using a cellphone, taking drugs, fighting punks, putting chips in your head - it was like few games in terms of grit and well-realized gameworld. The game also features an ingenious CHIP IN/OUT feature that is reminiscent of Interplay's Neuromancer: you can buy or obtain skill chips that can be activated to solve puzzles and increase your aptitude. Despite the seemlingly endless freedom in exploring the city and partaking its many vices, however, the gameplay is linear - one event after another, with lax time constraints, and endless wandering will be cut short by messages from your wristwatch reminding you of your current task. The interface and encounters are exciting enough, but the characters you encounter, while gritty, are limited in their variance (but then again, few designers care about the sexual history of characters in computer games back in 1990, or even now).
Though the game's story and prose are very violent, the story is very interesting, and ranks among the best-developed in adventure games. There are also fighting sequences in the game, most of which doesn't further the plotline but add action and atmosphere. Overall, Circuit's Edge is a must-play for all cyberpunk fans- highly recommended.
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