Burn: Cycle is a 1994 CD-i title that encompasses puzzle play and 3D graphics with live action footage. The game's star, Sol Cutter, is a small-time data thief whose latest steal at the beginning of the game comes with a nasty sting. The Burn:Cycle virus has been implanted in his head and has given him a two-hour realtime deadline to find a cure before his brain deteriorates completely. The player must guide Sol out of Softech and into the Televerse in order to find his cure. Various obstacles and games stand in his way, and there is the overarching realisation that Burn:Cycle has been planted by someone with malicious intent. Finding this within the time limit completes the game.
As an adventure puzzle game, the styles of skill tests in the game vary from rearranging wiring circuits to games of chance (such as Psychic Roulette) and games within games, as with the Pac-Man styled final level. Outside these puzzles, Sol is moved around in point and click style within certain direction constraints. There is one instance where this is coupled with a shooting gallery in the first level, but generally gameplay events only happen when Sol is not travelling. Items such as timers and keys can be collected at various points either to directly affect the levels or to barter. Overall, the game is played within the 2-hour limit (as long as Sol can receive an extension from backyard trader Zip), but it can be saved and time frozen should the player want a break.
The game, written and directed by Eitan Arussi for TripMedia, London, features live action characters like a handful of other CD-i titles. The FMVs and in-game graphics were shot on blue-screen as backgrounds are composed of 3D renders. The effect is that navigation through Burn:Cycle's environments cues a 3D walkthrough, while interaction with characters or the activation of scripted events prompts the loading of overlaid camera footage, sometimes even complete scene changes, as in the screenshot. The coupling of this with CD-i's technological limits have led some commentators to lament the fact that this was not a game made two years later, when arguably 3D had its true birth (given the rise of PlayStation and Saturn in that year).
The game's live action cast are credited as follows:
- Aaron Swartz as Cutter
- Viva Duce as Kris
- Abigail Canton as Gala
- Tanya Pohlkotte as Female Cutter
- Indra Sinha as the Golden Buddha
The CD-i version of Burn:Cycle has been viewed as one of the most prominent titles on its system, with Electronic Gaming Monthly awarding it "Best CD-i Game of 1994" in their Buyer's Guide, and GamePro calling it "just what the CD-i needed". The magazines lauded the game's audio and cinematics. GamePro gave it a 5/5 score for three categories (graphics, sound, and fun factor), rating control at 4.5. 1UP.com, impressed by its futuristic setting and storyline, referred to Burn:Cycle as "one of the best showcases of the console's strengths."
The PC release received a mixed response from critics. Allgame praised the variety of characters and locations, but stated that the game's graphics were "extremely crude looking and hurtful to the eyes". PC Gamer commented that "the blend of puzzles, arcade action, mysteries and cyberspace won't be too interesting"; the game's cyberpunk atmosphere and music were listed as positive aspects. In contrast, Game Revolution criticized the soundtrack for being "just bad industrial". The website nonetheless considered Burn:Cycle "well-balanced" and its environments "carefully-planned", giving the game an A- along with Entertainment Weekly.
- Savignano, Lisa Karen. allgame ((( Burn:Cycle > Review ))). Allgame. Retrieved on 2009-01-31
- Strauss, Bob (1994-12-09). Burn: Cycle | Digital Review. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-02-01
- Burn Cycle - PC Review. Game Revolution (2004-06-05). Retrieved on 2009-02-01
- Burn: Cycle for Windows. MobyGames. Retrieved on 2009-02-01
- Cowan, Danny (2006-04-25). CD-i Games: The Good. 1UP.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-31
- Information Page: Burn:Cycle. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2009-02-01
- Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1995.
- Scarry Larry (January 1995). "ProReview: CD-i". GamePro (IDG Communications) 66 (1): 96.
- "Burn Cycle". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Sendai Publishing) 60 (7): 174. July 1994.