Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I wrote about this book last week, but forgot to post my draft copy.

I finished reading another bargain bin acquisition, Millennium Rising. It caught my eye only because it's penned by Jane Jensen, who authored the Gabriel Knight series of video games.

Gabriel Knight III was one of the first PC games I ever purchased and played by myself, for my own enjoyment (not like Quake and Tomb Raider, which I'd enjoyed on some level, but were really the boyfriend's games). It proved what I'd suspected games could be. Well plotted narrative, complex characters, puzzles with creative solutions. Not a shoot-em-up, or automated D&D. And it had substance beyond the lush visuals of such "adventure" (and the industry uses that term very loosely) games as Myst, or the crap Dreamcatcher Interactive produces, whose games if they were books although packed with stunning illustrations would be missing every other page and stop abruptly in the middle of chapter two, just when you realize the pictures obviously belong to a completely different book.

Gabriel Knight was drenched in mood. A couple inventory item combinations necessary to move the game forward made no sense whatsoever, but all is forgiven. Access to an in-game computer allows the player to organize information and notes as well as to research key story concepts on the in-game intranet. No game in this genre beats it.

So, Millennium Rising. Very entertaining, in an over-the-top conspiracy kind of way. Once I got past the overly dramatic, pretentious, stupid title, and once I was reconciled to calling the French priest "Michele" (not Michel; perhaps it was intended to be styled in the Italian fashion), I really enjoyed the play of religious prophecies. And underneath it all is the very believable concept that people want to believe, in the process imbuing traditions, prophecies, perceptions with all sorts of energy and power.

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