Did you know that Neil Armstrong saw two UFO's near a crater on the moon but that the CIA covered it up? Or that there is a kitchen floor in Spain in which the face of the dead appear? And have you heard of the East Indian tribe who have no mouths so they live off the scent of roots and flowers?
I didn't know any of that, but I do now, thanks to Weird.
By exploring the various areas, and solving puzzles to gain access to others, you too can find out all this and more. Find it all, and according to the manual you will have visited 15 virtual environments, seen over 45 minutes of video, viewed more than 3000 images and listened to over an hour of sound.
You will have done so through the tried and true method of point and click. An eyeball icon will tell you which way to go and a magnifying glass will indicate there is something to look at. If you decide to take a look, a media event of some sort (perhaps a book to read, a video to watch, or a narrated slide show) will tell you something about the weirdness that is all around us.
Some of the weirdness is your common garden-variety type - the Yeti, crop circles, UFO abductions and (my favourite) spontaneous human combustion. Yet the less common and virtually unknown weirdness gets a look in too - the Ogopogo, fish inside tree logs, the Oak Island Pit and the fact that James Dean's death was foretold by Alec Guinness (the force was clearly with him even then). The pick of them all though must be the Berbalangs of Cagayan Sulu, winged men who feed on human flesh, usually dragged from fresh graves, but whom can be kept at bay by the liberal use of lime juice.
I can't think of a weirdness that was left out. Telekinesis, Rat Kings, raining frogs, poltergeists, fanged rabbits (stay out of Mr Potters Museum of Curiosities if you are a bit squeamish), the Jersey Devil, flesh eating sponges, mermaids, see-through people and ESP experiments by the Grateful Dead - it's all here. Of particular interest to adventure gamers is a treatise on the sudden appearance around the world of the much-loved maze.
Most of it is serious stuff. The man from Reincarnation International was very serious indeed, as was the man from MUFON. Occasionally the tongue is very firmly planted in the cheek; I was able to find out all about the Wild Beast of Barriesdale, which has been seen cavorting on the shores of Loch Hourn in Scotland, by using my magnifying glass on a large whisky bottle.
As a game it's a bit of a dud. Six puzzles (two of them sound and one a maze) are the only game elements. You don't really search for the interactions either; they are just out in the open waiting to be clicked on. Once activated, just click where indicated and away they go. Once you have visited one of the environments you can access it at will via a map, which also shows the interactions in that place, just in case you missed any.
The game world is fairly flat and non-dimensional but some of the media presentations are rather good. They are many and varied, from the basic to the more complex. Much of it includes documented evidence, including photos and published accounts. I particularly liked the video shot by the space shuttle Discovery in 1991 showing erratically moving lights above the earth, suddenly streaking off into space.
The main appeal of Weird will be to those who like the subject matter rather than those looking for some gameplay. Plus all those who simply must play everything.
A pull down menu will indicate which interactions you have found in the game and which ones (like the truth) are still out there. Just move your cursor to the top of the screen. There is a menu also for saving and loading, but not for subtitles, although you read a lot of it anyway. In Windows 95 or above, the game plays entirely from the single cd. You have to load it in Windows 3.1.
Copyright © Steve Ramsey 2002.
All rights reserved.
Windows 3.1 or higher, 486-66 Mhz processor, 8MB RAM (12 recommended), 2x CD ROM, 640 x 480 resolution, 256 colours, 16 bit Windows soundcard