Playful Pets - without the Mess; CD- ROM Game Reviews

The Birmingham Post (England), December 15, 1998 | Go to article overview

Playful Pets - without the Mess; CD- ROM Game Reviews


Catz3

Some of us are old enough to remember the original collection of cyber-pets - it must be, what, a whole two years since the first of them ambled across our PC screens?

Now the third generation have arrived, and they turn out to be a great deal more sophisticated than their ancestors.

For example Catz3 , the companion of course to Dogz3, introduces no fewer than ten different breeds, ranging from playfully indulgent tabby to an aloof and rather bad-tempered Siamese.

But the great step forward is in their environments. Early pets simply roamed around a blank screen - these are housed in a variety of settings.

The Catz can laze in front of a blazing fire in a virtual living room, cause havoc in a kitchen, bound around a beach, explore a garden, and so forth.

And whereas their forbears possessed only a few rudimentary toys to keep them entertained, these have an entire cupboardful at their disposal, not to mention a selection of food to cater for their varied appetites.

Is that it, non-cyber-petowners are liable to ask? Is that all there is to them - you entertain them, feed them and groom them, and then what?

It is a fact that Catz3, just like the original, is more of a harmless amusement than a game with a purpose, a means of idling away inbetween more important matters - more or less the purpose which the real thing serves, of course. The advantages of cybe r-owning have been stated often enough: no hairs to vacuum from the furniture and no unexpected puddles on the carpet.

But while continuing to avoid the nastier realities, this new version has managed to incorporate some surprisingly life-like mannerisms and habits.

You know the way that a real cat has, of inspecting a paw, or of absent-mindedly twitching its tail? The cast of Catz3 will do that sort of thing as well, and begin to show signs of genuine irritation if meals don't arrive on time.

They also have that essential feline quality, the ability to impose themselves. Soon after Catz3 arrived on my PC, I found that they had installed themselves as a screen-saver as well, without even being invited.

(Mindscape, pounds 19.99)

Dennis Ellam

Cluedo

The beauty of computers is that they can entertain you in ways which are beyond the scope of most mere mortal pastimes. So when software designers take a boardgame and convert it into a digital format they are defeating the object somewhat.

For some, the transformation can actually work quite well. Unfortunately Cluedo is not within that select group. In fact the real mystery is why on earth you would want to play a computer version of this classic boardgame?

Even with a reasonably powerful PC the lush graphics which illustrate each guess at who killed who with what are hardly stunning. …

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