Burn Cycle

Puzzles, arcade action and cheesy 90s cyberspace.

3Just like Johnny Mnemonic, Burn Cycle is filled with full-motion video sequences. Unlike Johnny, which led you through portions of the game without giving you control of your character, Burn Cycle serves up elements of classic adventure games — where you get item A to give to character B, so he will give you the key to C — along with arcade sequences and Myst-style puzzles. This diversity is both a blessing and a curse; at times, it all becomes an unwelcome distraction from the story at hand.

For the most part, you’ll navigate the world using a Myst-like interface, moving from rendered still-screen to rendered still-screen. That would seem to be the preferred interface for this type of game, but there are many detours and distractions along the way, which take the form of narrative elements and arcade sequences. The narrative elements basically hand you the solutions to certain problems, eliminating the need to solve some puzzles, and the arcade sequences seem out of place for what should be a fairly straightforward adventure.

You only have 2 hours of real time to complete Burn Cycle before the virus in your head kills you, but the game takes much longer to complete, as you’ll have to try many differing paths and pick up items that extend your time.

While the puzzles in Burn Cycle are better than those in Johnny Mnemonic, they aren’t exactly enough to keep the game afloat. Still, the game does provide enough ambient atmosphere to keep you chugging along. The confusing gameplay and linear plot in Burn Cycle bring it down, and the cheesy 90s genre-mixing approach and questionable production can’t begin to help it turn around.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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