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GamesFirst! Magazine

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by Simon & Schuster

I can feel a voice inside me, a small piping sound down around my spleen that asks me not to give Daria’s Inferno from MTV a bad review.  This voice squeaks like an adenoidal teen and claims this game is harmless.  That it’s good hearted and, while not up to par with other titles, still provides enough good times to warrant kindness on the part of the critic.  Instead, I’m going to channel my inner Harold Bloom and decry Daria’s Inferno as shameless shlock and an insult to anybody willing to shell out their allowance because kindness, in this case, would be tantamount to marketing a product in bad faith.  There is enough advertising in this game already. 

The game’s winning features depend on your interest in MTV’s animated show “Daria” about an angsty teen with a monotone wit.  The television program itself is funny, and I get the impression that Daria is the outsider wise-ass who older, trying-to-be-trendy folk wish they had been in high school.  While MTV does good work on the series, the computer game spinoff is a disaster.

Daria’s Inferno begins with Daria in English class.  Her principal bursts into the room and announces a variety of items have been stolen and, until they are returned, everybody is in big trouble.  Daria then falls asleep as Mr. O’Neill drones about Dante’s Inferno (get the pun) and has a dream in which she must travel through the five levels of teenage hell – the high school, the mall, etc – looking for the principal’s missing goods in order to ascend into paradise. 

The game consists entirely of navigating hellish zones and solving puzzles while trying not to be bumped by hordes of Daria’s pimply enemies.  Touched too often and Daria’s irritation meter goes off, which puts you back at the start of the level.  Sound simple?  It is.  The whole shebang can be completed in about two hours.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the controls were decent.  Instead, the super-mouse, which both uses items and moves Daria, is shoddy and unpredictable.  Sometimes you’ll use an object designed to ward off a personal space intruder and sometimes you’ll just walk right into them.  Since the puzzles are easy to solve, the only challenge in the game comes from avoiding the wandering souls who annoy Daria, and, as these encounters are frustrating and unfun, the game itself rapidly skates downhill.

The graphics are not-bad in that they they’ve come straight from television.  The show’s stars do all of the voice acting as well.  If everything in the game is like its television counterpart, I have to ask myself why I’m simply not watching the cartoon?  Daria’s Inferno amounts to little more than an advertisement for MTV and its programming.  The game, while containing the charm of the original (although listening to Daria’s quips for more than a half hour got annoying), has only the most basic game elements.  In other words, it’s not a game but a lame product tie-in.  I can’t recommend Daria’s Inferno to anybody as you’d be wasting your money as well as your time and your patience.  A game ought to be more than a two-hour attempt by a company to flood you with its other merchandise.  Some type of challenge ought to be involved and Daria’s Inferno offers nothing to stimulate the motor and mental skills of anybody above four.  If you like Daria that much, watch her in reruns.

Matt Blackburn


Ups: Graphics not bad.

Downs: Terrible gameplay and controls,  more an advertisement than a game.

System Reqs: P166, 32MB RAM (That’s really it.)


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