Rocky Horror Interactive Show, The Download (1999 Adventure Game)

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The Rocky Interactive Horror Show seems like it would be a Rocky Horror Picture Show fanatic's dream come true, but it's hard to say if the true fans will shell out money for this latest piece of Rocky Horror history. Since it's fully endorsed by creator, Richard O'Brien, it's one step closer to becoming a "must have" for its movie fans everywhere. But, does the game follow through?

The answer is ambiguous at best because it doesn't follow the script of the movie and it's difficult to ascertain if this game was created for Richard O'Brien's benefit or the fans. The game contains some videos of famous Rocky Horror songs that sound as if they were recorded on Richard O'Brien's computer microphone and filmed with a digital video camera.

Despite the cheap quality, some very nice songs shine through and it's almost like he's trying to speak directly to each individual fan, though with the various video scenes starring O'Brien, you can tell how much of a joke the whole thing is to him. You can't fault the designers for capitalizing on the movie madness, though, since so many fans around the United States and other countries consistently attend the screenings and act the parts out.

All skepticism aside, Rocky Interactive Horror Show is entertaining to play. You roam around the mansion solving puzzles and collecting pieces in order to save your spouse. If you follow the included walkthrough, you'll have few problems making your way through the mansion. However, without it, some of the puzzles will stump you and, even with it, the puzzles take quite a while to complete. Once you find an item, you also have to figure out which area to use it in and with so many different items and areas, it's sometimes tricky to figure out the correct move.

Every area has some entertaining aspects regarding puzzle solving. For instance, in the Disco Room you must perform each step of the Time Warp dance in order to open a secret compartment holding the brain for Rocky. In another area, you have to make a lizard skin handbag and give it to Frankie for the key to another room. When your character comes across a dead person's hand and a scary zombie, they scream. It's hilarious because the scream is contrived. The acting was made intentionally bad because it adds to the comedy (or so it seems).

Not only do you encounter original cast members but you also have to fend off bouncing yin-yang symbols and a large plant creature. A couple of scenes are rather disgusting including one in which you open a casket with a decayed body inside, causing your character to vomit. You then have to put on rubber gloves and search through the casket for a key. The other scene occurs if you don't show the biker his speeding ticket, at which point he runs you over into a bloody mess (this is practically the only violent scene in the game).

The game's sexual innuendo might not be very appropriate for kids, particularly the partial nudity and sexually explicit themes, but there's not much violence. It's more of a comedic adventure than anything else and Richard O'Brien, who plays the devil in the game, pokes fun at the themes of the movie while Christopher Lee, the narrator, is so incredibly serious it's comical.

The three unreleased tracks might be reason alone for fans of the movie to buy the game. The fact that you can put the CD into a CD player and just listen to the soundtrack is a great feature. Some CD players use the first track for the CD-ROM information, so you have to skip to the second track.

While Rocky Interactive Horror Show does seem contrived and ridiculous at times, it also offers a great deal of entertainment for fans of the movie and people who've never even heard of the show. The way your character moves and the collection of items is reminiscent of games like Prisoner of Ice. The spacebar and arrow keys control the entire game and place the focus on figuring out where each piece of the puzzle belongs.

The kind of twisted humor in the game might not be for everyone, so if you didn't enjoy or laugh at the original movie, odds are you won't like the game. If you've watched the movie for years and acted it out in the theater, now you can see the madness from Richard O'Brien's perspective. It's very clear the game was made with the original fans of the movie in mind; therefore, if you fall into that category and like video games, you should enjoy Rocky Interactive Horror Show.

Graphics: As the time changes, so does the frame that surrounds the clock and your character's picture. The colors are all very vivid and the characters are rendered nicely. The full motion video is somewhat grainy at times, even at the small screen size, but the effect is still good.

Sound: The music and some of the sounds can get very annoying. For example, when you enter a room with the bouncing lips, the sound they make is much louder than it needs to be and it's aggravating. The music doesn't fit the scenery well and is simply music from the soundtrack. When you hit the action key, your character makes a very annoying sound that you'll hear repeatedly (unless you disable the sound affects entirely). The three unreleased tracks and the acoustic videos of Richard O'Brien save the sound rating. Also, parts of the Time Warp song will play as you perform specific dance moves in the Disco Room.

Enjoyment: The game is fun to watch and play as you discover very wacky clues and items. It can be a lengthy adventure but the adventure is timed and time is always running out. You'll be disgusted and entertained at the same time in some parts while others are very amusing. The ability to choose Brad or Janet adds different sounds and provides slightly different experiences (the video scenes are different with different effects when you pick up the lips).

Replay Value: Since there's not much of a difference if you play the game as either character, the game itself would get too old and predictable to play continuously. However, the audio tracks will always be there to play in your CD player and the jukebox within the game has some good acoustic performances by Richard O'Brien.


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