Definitely the best cyberpunk game I've ever played, Neuromancer is an excellent adaptation of the classic book of the same name. You play a hacker who is struggling to make ends meet, discovering that all is not well in cyberspace. |
Although initially there are not many locations for you to visit in the game, there is a great deal to find out and cyberspace locations ("WELLs") you can visit. For instance, you have a special connector attached to your head that allows you to insert silicon chips. These chips contain various "skills" which will enable you to achieve certain objectives. The skills, which include subjects like Psychoanalysis, Sophistry, Evasion and even Cop talk, can also be upgraded, so while you might have the Cryptology skill chip, it may not decipher an encrypted code word until you find a way of upgrading it to version 2.0 or even 3.0. You will generally acquire skills and upgrades by talking to other characters within the game, and this brings us to the game's weakness: the specificity of its parser. Neuromancer unfortunately falls into the guess-the-word category, particularly when you're presented with the option to ask a character, "WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT .................". The word you type in may be one of several descriptions for a particular person or organization, and the parser will not accept anything less than the exact word the designer had in mind. It can be misleading because if your word isn't exactly what is required, you'll get a default reply throwing you off the trail when in fact you need to keep hammering away with every variation of the name you can think of.
A notepad is absolutely essential for playing Neuromancer, as there is a lot of information and WELL addresses to keep track of. Neuromancer is undoubtedly the best "hacking" game in existence, as the thrill of hacking into forbidden sites, editing databases to further your cause, and generally finding things out is exhilarating (and harmless, as opposed to real life). Overall, no cyberpunk fan should pass up this overlooked classic that may in its part have inspired the seminal System Shock. Two thumbs up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs