After The Last Dynasty left such a bad taste in my mouth (shut up), I felt that I needed to balance things out by playing another obscure Windows 3.1 game, but this time a good one. At least that’s what I hoped. I had never played this one before now either. Always wanted to, but it just never came up. My PC wasn’t cool enough to handle it back in the day and the only other system it was ever on was CD-i and who the fuck had a CD-i?
I’m convinced that the only CD-i consoles that actually sold were all those ones displayed in stores with that crappy video golf game on it. Anyway, Burn:Cycle (note the stylish random use of a colon there). This was another 90s FMV adventure game. Not only that, but a 90s cyberpunk FMV adventure game! Fuck yeah. Who doesn’t like the completely insane 90s vision of the future where everyone dressed in neon felt clothes and scientists never discovered anti-aliasing? Right, so you play as Sol Cutter, a future data thief who is totally not Johnny Mnemonic.
but uh oh! Something is wrong with the datas and now your head is going to explode in 2 hours! That was, I guess, the big hook of the game, that you only had 2 real-time hours to fix your head before you die. It sounds bad, but you can save whenever you want and you can gain little bits of extra time by performing certain correct actions, so unless you are really horrible at games and/or save management it’s really not an issue. I had over an hour left on the clock when I was finished, though the game will probably take somewhere around 4 hours of your time with all the time spent figuring out puzzles and/or dying and having to reload. Anyway, after your data theft goes wrong you have to shoot your way out in one of the games many mini-game sequences. You escape, but your partner/girlfriend is killed by a mystery assassin in an explosion of goo which I can only assume is what all 90s future blood looks like.
Oh shit! Now what are you gonna do? Well you have to get over there and search your ladyfriend’s corpse so that you can steal her car keys and credit card, that’s what! Now that you’ve won your very own future car you are free to search the world map and go wherever you want! As long as what you want consists of either a future doctor’s office that you can’t get into yet or the city, because those are actually the only two locations ever offered. So off to the city then! I hope you don’t have to fight your way through some arcade actiony escape sequence where your future car gets damaged and you have to spend a large chunk of the game looking for a future car replacement part instead of focusing on your soon-to-explode head!
So now that you’re on the loose you can wander around town trying to find help and your future car part, which naturally involves many mini-games, most of which are bizarre puzzles. Everyone really loves puzzles in the future I guess, as just about every single thing that you want to operate involves some overly complicated puzzle just to turn the thing on. For instance, want to access your bank account?
You’re going to need that hard earned future cash though, for important things like playing Psychic Roulette!
Many puzzles later you will also finally find your way into cyberspace (of course!). In this case, you are actually poking around inside your own mind as a virtual avatar, trying to play cyberdoctor on yourself. You’ll even get to meet CYBERBUDDHA “in person”.
Jokes aside, I found myself really enjoying the trashy 90s cyberpunkness of it all (and maybe the several pints of Guinness consumed while playing/filming this probably helped a little too). Behind all the bizarre, overly colorful environments there is actually a pretty interesting story that leads you through a lot of fascinating scenarios in delightfully strange locations with a lot of genuinely enjoyable puzzles and fun little shoot-out sequences. It actually reminded me a lot of another old game, Cyberia, also a weird cyberpunk adventure/arcade actiony game, but with more emphasis on the story and adventure parts, whereas Cyberia was heavier on the shootouts (and holy shit now I need to play that again too…). Of COURSE I am going to like a game with themes like this in it too….(plot spoiler about the data in your head coming up, if you care about that sort of thing.)
One last thing I’d like to mention here is the dialogue. The dialogue is…well, it’s something alright. Again, this is the kind of goofiness that you will either absolutely love or absolutely hate. I think it’s best illustrated by a memorable pair of insults from the big bad guy of the game.
and even better…
Quite a way with words that fellow has. So, you are either having a great laugh right now or wondering what the fuck is wrong with me. If it’s the former then I gladly recommend this fun little game to you. If it’s the latter then you sir are a filthy sourballs and I WILL HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LIKES OF YOU! That said, though it was a short adventure, it was one I highly and consistently enjoyed. I personally give Burn:Cycle 4 out of 5 Power Gloves.