Review by Orb
Webmaster is not your run-of-the-mill kinda game. It's
built using its own rules and combines elements that are very
unusual, including a system of movement that's the first like
it I've seen, as well as arcade sequences to acquire inventory
items. Now, I hope that has not scared you off, because although
it is different, it's fun different, not "don't make
me eat that, mom" different.
The title of the game gives it much more of a utilitarian or
edutainment air than actually exists with the game. Although the
game is couched in terms from the Internet, the developers have
designed their own world using a few of the symbols and terminology
from the Internet, but that's about it. This is not something
that is a tool to teach children what the Internet is, or how
to use it, but rather it's a lighthearted fantasy game, built
in its own world.
The story is that there was once a place within the World Wide
Web called the Dream Wide Web (DWW). This place was an oasis until
one day a Hacker came and destroyed the tranquility. The residents
need a Webmaster (that's you, bub) to come and fight the Hacker
and restore peace to their land. The game is started at your Homepage,
a house inside a tree. The story is told in complete abstracts,
and for the gamer that thinks she has seen everything and is jaded
by it all, this is worth a whirl as it is very obviously designed
based on fresh and new ideas.
There are also characters called Getties, which are tiny, fuzzy
light creatures that fly around throughout the game and are used
to great effect in a variety of entertaining arcade games that
are found throughout.
The environments of the game are fun, and they are very cleverly
drawn in a whimsical style. The screens are staticthe player
cannot move about them and click on things, except in a very controlled
fashion. The movement is very unusual and actually quite frustrating
until you get the hang of it. The player must hold the mouse down,
and while holding it down, drag it forward to move to another
location, either within that game area or to move to another one.
There are no keyboard controls. It's the weirdest interface I've
ever seen. Not bad, just weird. One drawback to this is that the
game docs do not adequately explain this movement system, and
it really should be gone over, as it is singular to this game.
Another unfortunate aspect is that the graphics are a bit grainy
despite the quality of the style of design.
As for puzzles, the player collects cards, which are stored as
inventory in the bottom left of the game screen. There are four
separate levels that have areas to be explored, and these can
only be accessed by passing though a room called a "Firewall."
Cards must be used correctly here or the player cannot pass and
continue. Once through an area, all areas of the game the player
has passed through remain open to return to as she likes.
There is also a series of games that can be played to increase
the amount of cards or get a particular card that is needed to
complete a level. I found all of these, with the exception of
one, very entertaining. The exception was an arcade sequence where
the player must bat a Getty back through a series of screens to
a back wall, where the Gettie drops his card. This was next to
impossible to do on a laptop with a trackpad because of the click-hold-drag
style of the interface.
Another unusual aspect of the game, and really something that
is a design highlight, is that the player is given not only a
saving system with unlimited saves, but also a bank of screens
across his options screen (called a Navigator) that allow him
to save whichever game areas he likes, so he can quickly travel
back and forth among them. This is an extremely useful tool, as
there are multiple locations to travel between while collecting
The music is very lighthearted and fun, and the sound effects
used with the Getties are a hoot. Other sound effects are appropriate
There are three different levels of gameplay, and the increase
in difficulties includes getting attacked by viruses and using
the correct set of collected cards to handle them. There are three
of these throughout the game.
The endgame is a small cutscene that is a nice bit of animation
as a reward for successfully completing the game. The player is
also given the opportunity to continue the game online once the
game is completed successfully and is given a password to access
Webmaster is a clever and different game, offering a bright design
and entertaining gameplay. If you're looking for something new
and different, definitely give it a whirl.
Release Date: 1999
Photosensitive Seizure Factor: medium
Four Fat Chicks Links
Pentium 150 MHz
32 MB RAM
Graphics card with 256 colors
12X CD-ROM drive
Power PC 150 MHz
32 MB RAM
12X CD-ROM drive
Where to Find It