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Ring: See the opera instead

August 23, 1999
Web posted at: 4:57 PM EDT (2057 GMT)

by Barry Brenesal, PC GamePro


(IDG) -- I have a confession: I am an opera fanatic. I am just as likely to be listening to Verdi, Rameau or Wagner as I am to Charlie Parker, Clannad or Nine Inch Nails.

So when my editors heard about a new graphical adventure based on Wagner's four-opera cycle, The Ring, they naturally threw it my way.

Would that I could throw it back at them, for Cryo's Ring is beautiful but oh-so boring.

It's set in the far future, when a single representative of the human race has to recall the distant mythic memories of the human species by reliving four of the starring character's lives in a re-staging of Wagner's Ring Cycle -- each life on a separate world and each with its own goals. Then, you'll be able to free humanity.

Makes sense, right?
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Like Riven, Ring has an attractive but sterile feeling. Its exotic worlds are devoid of life. You have a 360-degree 3D view, but almost nowhere to travel. While you can switch among your four characters anytime, gameplay remains unimaginatively linear. Each puzzle has one solution and most have to be solved in a particular order. It's a lackluster get-object-use-object graphic adventure with a Wagnerian soundtrack and imaginative graphics.

Unlike Riven, it's possible to die in Ring. Now, I don't mind my character dying through some stupid action on my part -- but I take exception when I click on a passageway like any other, only to be told that my character's rushed headlong into a locked door and died. The End. The fun in graphical adventures derives from the results of responsible actions. If the game takes away the responsibility, the results cease to amuse.

Elegant artwork, good animation sequences and orchestral passages from Wagner do not make up for poor gameplay and interminable non-interactive dialog in Ring. If you want a good, non-linear adventure, check out Dark Side of the Moon.


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As Alberich, answer the need for Generosity with Brutality.

Use Siegmund's Wolf Instinct on the bush, to get the berries.

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