Purgatory for Computer Gamers...
Entertainment has gone to Hell.
games arent slipping (in fact it has some dynamite ones coming out
over the next several months); instead, its tackling the age old
issues of good and evil - and life after death - head on with its new
"Afterlife," is a very funny trip into the "simulation" market
already occupied by games like the SimCity series and Outpost. If youve
always wanted to tell people where to go, this may be your idea of Heaven
youre a "Regional Spiritual Director," responsible for managing
the growth of both Heaven and Hell and - even more difficult - keeping
track of them to ensure the Heavenly Rewards (and Hellish punishments)
are doled out efficiently and the peoples vibes remain good (or
enter your Afterlife via gates; you zone and develop your Great Beyonds
unreal estate according to the seven deadly sins or their opposite virtues
(gluttony vs. temperance, etc.). In typical sim tradition, you build roads
to connect buildings and zones and once youve done that (assuming
youve done it correctly), the dearly and recently departed start
showing up in great numbers.
some of these dead folk dont think theyll stay dead for long,
and to accommodate them you need to set up reincarnation stations to facilitate
their trip back to the land of the living. Holy Cow!
successful in balancing all that needs to be done, youll be showered
with "Pennies from Heaven," but be careful: you also have to make sure
your netherworlds dont succumb to several unnatural disasters, like
"Hell Freezes Over" or "Heaven Nose," the latter of which sees a huge
proboscis hovering over the landscape, sniffing things from existence.
It snot bad.
tutorial gives you quite a bit of help, via the animated characters Jasper
and Aria, your demonic and angelic guides. Theyll not only teach
you the fundamentals, theyll keep track of your progress and give
you advice - or warnings. They both have cute, Disneyesque ersonalities,
but they tend to go on at length sometimes and you cant shut off
their diatribes once youve started them. Still, theyre entertaining
Unfortunately, its easy to lose track of your Afterlife.
With billions of souls to punish and reward, and the games extensive
graphing and statistical tools, it can be tempting to say "to Hell with
it," and go back to the aimless thrills of Duke Nukem. And that would
be a shame, because Afterlife really is quite a lot of fun.
Its hilarious, too. The tone is set in the opening sequence,
which uses clever writing rather than multimedia glitz to make its point,
and continues through just about every point and click youll make
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think