Daria's Inferno

Review by Orb
March 2002

Daria is a modern-day heroine of the MTV vein, featured in her own 30-minute cartoon currently in its fifth season. An iconoclastic character, Daria is meant to represent the sardonic, nonidolatrized current crop of jaded youth, intelligent but not overly educated, wise with the street savvy now necessary to properly survive in the world.

None of this must necessarily be understood to be able to enjoy Daria's Inferno, but it does explain why she has become a successful enough character to have an ongoing series with a resultant game made from it.

The premise of Daria's Inferno is simple but effective for the type of gameplay involved. Daria Morgendorffer, the well-spoken, caustic heroine, has fallen asleep in English class while the teacher is reading Dante's Inferno. She dreams that she is now in her own Inferno, a hell taken from the distaste she finds in her own world. In her dream Inferno, she must find five items stolen from the school, or the entire student body will be put on detention.

The game consists of five levels, one for each item. The levels combine a goodly number of elements from several different gaming genres, which are put together cohesively in an entertaining package. The game is played in the third person, but there are no dialog trees or conversations to control. Characters may be spoken to, but only to get a simple one-time dialog from them that provides gameplay clues.

There are inventory-based puzzles in each level. Each level also has simple arcade sequences involving the avoidance of things Daria finds irritating, which are usually people. If Daria is irritated too many times in a gameplay area, you are bounced back to the main levels screen, a clever device by which you may jump to any area of the level you are on that you have previously explored. Being bounced back carries no real penalties in the game outside of having to rework that particular area of a level again. Many of the irritations can be eliminated by solving a puzzle to stop them.

Inventory management is a bit cumbersome, with a method whereby the player must scroll through all the items until the one she's looking for comes up. This was a bit redundant and time-consuming. Also, items that are no longer necessary do not disappear, making the scroll-through take just that much more time. On the plus side, inventory found prior to getting bounced back to the main levels screen stays in inventory, so there is very little redundancy in gameplay.

Outside of an initial point where a name is entered by the player at the start of the game, there is absolutely no saving at all in the game. The game actually remembers where you were last and returns you there automatically once the game is restarted, and it recalls what areas so far have been explored. This, coupled with the painless "irritation" failure process, helps make the game very immersive and a heck of a lot of fun to play.

The game is controlled either entirely with the mouse or a mouse and keyboard combo, which latter seems preferable to keep the character moving along smoothly and out of the way of the irritations.

The game itself is pure cartoon, drawn in a clean, attractive style. The design is Nancy and Sluggo crisp, with a Beavis and Butt-head attitude.

It should be highlighted that there is a maze in the game—but the maze is in no way repetitious, and it has shortcuts built into it that are actually a puzzle to complete. A really fun, unique way to implement a maze that should be emulated, repeated—whatever, I'd just like to see more like this.

All of the characters are played by the actors from the series. This makes the quality of voice acting very entertaining and consistent. Cutscenes are really just snippets with the same wry sarcasm of the series. Anyone familiar with the series will immediately recognize the characters and Daria's usual droll observations throughout. "Next time," she dryly observes after being kicked out to the main levels screen, "I won't treat this like school—I'll pay attention." Upon reaching an area of the game not yet accessible, she quips "Must be a good place if I can't get in."

This game scores pretty darned high on the fun meter. It is not so difficult that you will get bogged down or need a lot of hints to keep going. It is also not a terribly long game and can be completed in several evenings' sittings. It's around the net at some pretty cheap prices—if you see it, pick it up and give it a whirl. The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Hypnotix
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Interactive
Release Date: December 2000

Available for: Macintosh Windows

Four Fat Chicks Links

Player Feedback

Screenshots

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

System Requirements

PC:
Pentium 166 MHz or faster
Windows 95, 98, or 2000
32 MB RAM
4X CD-ROM drive
256-color or higher graphics capability

Macintosh:
132 MHz or higher
Power Mac or iMac
System 7.6 or later
16 MB RAM
4X CD-ROM drive
256-color or higher graphics capability

Where to Find It

Amazon.com 19.99



Prices/links current as of 11/18/02
Links provided for informational purposes only. FFC makes no warranty with regard to any transaction entered into by any party(ies).

 
   
Copyright © Electric Eye Productions. All rights reserved.
No reproduction in whole or in part without express written permission.