Circuit's Edge Westwood Associates / Infocom 1990

Play through the science fiction of George Alec Effinger's "When Gravity Fails" series; chip personalities and skills into your brain, take drugs and beat up thugs as you try to solve a murder mystery in the Middle East-meets-New Orleans "Budayeen." Many unusual characters populate this game and there is some adult content - hookers, drugs and sex changes, albeit in chunky EGA. The interface is similar to Crescent Hawk's Inception, and particularly Mines of Titan - all made by Westwood in the late '80s. It's an atmospheric, well-written game. The game's strength lies in the outstanding and rich depiction of the world that Effinger envisioned. You play Marid, a down-on-his-luck two-bit courier looking for a job. The game play - walking city streets, visiting bars and talking to sexchanges, using a cellphone, taking drugs, fighting punks, putting chips in your head - it was like few games in terms of grit and well-realized gameworld. The game also features an ingenious CHIP IN/OUT feature that is reminiscent of Interplay's Neuromancer: you can buy or obtain skill chips that can be activated to solve puzzles and increase your aptitude. Despite the seemlingly endless freedom in exploring the city and partaking its many vices, however, the gameplay is linear - one event after another, with lax time constraints, and endless wandering will be cut short by messages from your wristwatch reminding you of your current task. The interface and encounters are exciting enough, but the characters you encounter, while gritty, are limited in their variance (but then again, few designers care about the sexual history of characters in computer games back in 1990, or even now). Though the game's story and prose are very violent, the story is very interesting, and ranks among the best-developed in adventure games. There are also fighting sequences in the game, most of which doesn't further the plotline but add action and atmosphere. Overall, Circuit's Edge is a must-play for all cyberpunk fans.
Screenshots
Full Demo ~631kb (uploaded by MyAbandonware)
Reviews
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