The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky on July 25, 1998 · Page 65
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The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky · Page 65

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Louisville, Kentucky
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Saturday, July 25, 1998
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Page 65
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iwbmtbph PRODUCTS, TRENDS AND GIZMOS Wile away the summer with two intriguing new games 1 flwiwuiuj.! MANNING By RIC MANNING SCENE Gizmo Editor Two of the summer's most ambitious and intriguing computer games sprout from different roots and are likely to appeal to widely differing audiences. Both Starship Titanic ($49.95 from Simon & Schuster for Windows 95) and Final Fantasy VII ($59.95 from Eidos Interactive for Windows 95) can be highly addictive and capable of consuming long and lazy summer nights spent in air-conditioned, cathode-ray comfort. If you think Monty Python gags are lame, never heard of Douglas Adams and hated Myst, you might want to skip a tour of duty aboard Starship Titanic. On the other hand, it might help if you have a penchant for puzzles and a game-playing history that goes back to the old Infocom text adventures. An unknown race in a distant world built a magnificent starship that somehow strays off course and collides with your house. As you start to explore its seemingly empty interior, it lurches back into space, carrying you with it. With the place all to yourself, you begin to explore. You find that simple activities turning on the television in your cabin often require overly complex actions. Think of some of those magnificent machines in Terry Gilliam's film "Brazil." It turns out you are not alone. The ship is populated by moody robots that answer your typed-in questions, some with the voices of Python cast members. The robots provide a few clues about the ship and its situation, and they can help you solve some of the game's obtuse puzzles. If you gave up early playing 7th Guest, don't expect to do much better here. Or perhaps you'll be happy just to roam around the ship, looking at the finely crafted interiors. But if you do that, you'll never make it to the first-class quarters. FINAL FANTASY VII incorporates the features of more modern electronic games: a cast of mystical warriors, Ninja and animals drawn in the wide-eyed Japanese cartoon style. The game tells the story of Cloud, a young mercenary who carries a sword that is roughly the size of the Humana Building. Cloud hooks up with a bar hostess called Tifa and other members of a resistance group called AVALANCHE that wants to sabotage the plans of an evil corporation. That's enough of a plot line to build an entire game on, but in Final Fantasy VII, it is mere prologue. The script goes on to encompass a world of more than 20 cities and towns and a steady stream of deadly opponents and a bewildering array of spells, potions and weapons. For example, characters can be equipped with Materia. Some Materia allow you to heal characters during combat. Others summon deities to fight your opponents, and different types of Materia can be combined to create substances with new properties. Other Materia help you lure birdlike creatures called Cho-cobo that can take you to areas you can't reach by foot. There's even a bit of psychoanalysis as Cloud begins to question his philosophy and motivation. The game was initially released for PlayStation, and hard-core console players may find the PC version less compelling. Players who have posted their comments on Web sites suggest that PC owners may want to invest in a gamepad rather than trying to manage everything with a keyboard. Either game should keep you occupied and off the streets until Thanksgiving. ONLINE: Look up past columns and follow Ric's Web links at: www.courier-journal.comgizweb IT-" !j NWMWIMWWilMrtiwwIiiattJiiMMfcMiMiMMMMMwMa -t l rrr"" liii iiiliiiniMifMIIIIMIllfilli 'f IWf i -fietoutof myweay sonny, I've ship to sme ' ;" " ' Wv( ''h ' fci'.HI (i it I wore you. I'd pack tt in arl go to bJ. ' ' Q-U it-,! -after I've saved tfiis ship m-M Jf ifuS "... J you t to chill out. Why het.90 th muste'roettf r ass 1E1 an 'aa to the coof sounds of Sotjby s-fewiesse wi te Erl - 1 v; - - UMd-Sack Loafers? Mmm,!. ' - 1 . . ., , , -, , , ' Starship Titanic, above, allows you to explore a magnificent starship populated by a crew of moody robots that answer your typed-in questions. Final Fantasy VII, below, tells the story of a mercenary named Cloud, a bar hostess named Tifa and a resistance group called AVALANCHE that wants to sabotage the plans of an evil corporation. prw J) - ' , ; - HE II ill If 5- - 5 it t m i G I v -mm TOXBVE-IX-CHEEK ADIWWREI :-rft Moilin. THI NEW YOBK T1MFS fY-i I mmm 11 airip I 935-3771 I 284-1 OQ3 336-0088 459-4700 368-6454 GET SUMMER OFF TO A SLOW START 1 ,, rt" i. . Avoid the rush. Shun crowded restaurants. Celebrate the beginning of summer on My Old Kentucky Dinner Train. You'll not only get a gourmet meal and impeccable service, you'll qet a relaxing, two-hoi KU A, No faxes. No hurry. Oh, and one more thing: We'll drive -nice and slow. For lunch or dinner reservations, call 502-348-7300. Page 2 The Courier-Journal SCENE July 25, 1998

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