It's definitely a frightening thing when you look forward more to the grainy FMVs that break up the segments of a game than the game itself, but I found myself doing just that with Survivor: The Interactive Game
. Quite possibly one of the worst game experiences I've had in a long time, this title only barely fits the 'interactive' moniker it gives itself, and should not be inflicted on anyone but your worst enemies.
Ostensibly, Survivor: The Interactive Game allows you to experience first-hand the grueling challenges that faced the folks in the first two seasons of the show (although the game itself is set solely on the Australian outback). I never saw the show myself, but I know that it has to be orders of magnitude better than what's presented here to have captured the hearts of America like it has. At least, I hope so. The experience of playing Survivor: The Interactive Game is grueling, but for entirely the wrong reasons.
The game is broken up into two major sections. The first, and by far the most mind-numbing, is the survival periods. These last three minutes, and during them you'll be watching your virtual avatar (which you can either create to your personal specifications or simply pick from cast members from the first two seasons) move around and executing whatever actions you told them to do. If they're the water collector, they go to the glowing-green water, dip their little polygonal cup-thing into it, and bring it to the nonpotable water jug. They can then boil water to make it potable. Note that the computer is doing all of this for you; there's nothing that you can do to influence your character's actions here other than watching. During this time, you're supposed to carry on conversations with other people in your tribe; this is done by clicking on them, and going through a series of menu-based conversation lines.
This isn't that bad of an idea, until you see how the conversations are done. They're extremely repetitive, often contradictory, and downright silly. You'll have people say the same things over and over in the same breath, and then run off on some bizarre tangent. It feels like you're talking to a less-evolved version of Eliza, one that doesn't even pretend to make sense.
Once you get past this grueling section of the game, you're brought to the challenge rounds. Here you compete for a useful item or for immunity from the Tribal Council. The challenges are usually pretty inane, ranging from firing arrows from a moving boat to various 'endurance' challenges that require you to balance speed and fatigue (which takes all of two seconds to master). None of them are particularly entertaining, and most of them drag on for entirely too much time, making them even more of a drag. They're still better than the survival sections.
If you find yourself not immune from the Council, you'll be going up to get rid of one of your tribe members. This seems to be fairly random, which is unsurprising.
If you don't want to experience the whole season, you can play shortened games, starting where the tribes combine or when it's down to the final small group. You can also attempt a multiplayer session, although there's no convenient way to arrange games and you're given a massive sixty seconds to decide just what's going to go on in the council. Whee!
The intelligent gamer will just turn the stupid thing off.