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I have had a less than happy experience with full-motion-video / interactive-movie games in the past. But A Fork In The Tale was a pleasant surprise. Unlike Psychic Defective there was actually a comprehensible plot. But there were several drawbacks. Full-motion-video games are inherently non-conducive to thoughtful gameplay as decisions must be made almost immediately. Mercifully one never faces more than three options at a time. The game can also become repetitive and is somewhat confusing until one gets further into the plot. Another problem is that the correct options are not always the most logical.
Any River Entertainment, the game's developer, does allow for three difficulty settings and it is almost impossible to "die" since players must repeat scenes until they get them right. Of course the highlight of the entire game is the narration by Rob Schneider of Saturday Night Live fame. His running commentary throughout the game is hilarious. The video quality is about what one would expect from FMV, a little grainy but clear enough. The acting is not great or believable, but hey, it is a fantasy game. Since Any River has gone under, having only produced this one game, one should be able to find A Fork In The Tale at a significant savings, which definitely makes it worthwhile.
By Jorge Amselle [POSTED: 09/05/97]
A Fork in the Tale CD-ROM (DVD on hold)
A Fork in the Tale is a five CD live-action adventure game shot with a first-person perspective. Fork offers lightning fast action, a whole cast of characters with whom the player will interact, and a variety of challenging game-play elements. Adventure gamers are right at home with Fork's inventive puzzles, plus new game elements including magical gestures, defensive weapons, chase scenes, and an interactive fist fight add a new dimension to the category.
Fork was shot over a period of 28 days across 8 locations in Marin County, California. A total of fifty actors and extras were involved.
Fork features a technological breakthrough called the "Immersion Engine." The result allows "A Fork in the Tale" to feature seamless branching video with spontaneous interactivity. The system takes video clips, mixes them with sound, allows graphics to be overlaid, and creates complex scripts in which multiple paths move the player from video clip to clip -- and makes it all flow like a movie, except that it is interactive as well. Another feature is that the engine remembers what the player has already seen, and presents only new materials based upon the story development. Normally, a computer will proceed in a linear fashion, finishing one task before begining the next -- and on a CD, this can mean a delay of up to a half-second with no action while the read-head repositions itself. The Immersion Engine takes a different approach utilizing asynchronous searches. When the game player clicks on a desired action, the program initiates an immediate search to the new clip while it continues to play buffered data of the current clip. By the time the current clip has finished playing, the next clip is ready to go--creating some of the smoothest audio/video ever captured on a CD ROM.
Comments from a recent purchaser:
I simply HAD to write to you about your product, "A Fork in the Tale." I just got this game yesterday. I had avoided it due to reviews it had gotten when it came out. I regret the fact that I listened to "the media," once again. I've played a lot of games over the years, (A LOT OF GAMES.) and this is the first one in a long time to REALLY impress me. The seamless play is simply incredible. I am only on CD2 right now, but I have been playing for the better part of the afternoon/evening. I have found the comedy and fast pace quite enjoyable. Thank you for making this game. I will pass on the word to my friends that they should give the title a try. (Not many of my friends have even heard of it.)
Category Full Motion Video
Review Date 6/97
Publisher Any River Entertainment Minimum System Requirements
8 MB RAM
SVGA with Sound Card
Death. Forget about it.
AAAAAAAHHHH! I've been stabbed. Wait, what's this? I'm being operated on. Why am I in the water again? Oh, look at the pretty fishes. Oh no, it's a shark trying to kill me too. Welcome to A Fork in the Tale, the game that, reminiscent of Dragon's Lair, continuously kills you, over and over and over . . . I've never died so many times in my life!
A Fork in the Tale is a first person action adventure in full motion video. The video is smooth and the action is fast paced. There's never a dull moment in this adventure. Though you do see the dying sequence an awful lot, death isn't permanent In fact, you come to accept dying as similar to the concept of breaking eggs to make an omelet. It just happens, you get over it, you move on. Unfortunately, in order to move on, you have to pass the area where you died, leading to some very redundant gameplay.
It's set in the quaint little world of Eseveron where all the happy inhabitants all want to kill you. That's right, everyone whose anyone wants you dead, even scantly clad jungle women. You meet a girl, who tries to help you by making you chase her around a forest, all the while trying to escape from, you guessed it, people who want to kill you. Am I making my point? If not, allow me to be blunt. The plot is as thin as say your average bouillon broth. You spend the whole game running away from things. This really wouldn't have been bad if it weren't for the fact that you do it over and over in the same places. I mean come on, couldn't they have at least come up with some neat little twists or something.
Fortunately, the plot is just about the only weak link in this game's chain. In fact, the feeble plot hardly hinders the game at all. Because the game is highly immersive, you barely notice that there is no plot. (Kinda like the movie Independance Day) I almost couldn't stop playing until I had beaten it. To put it simply, it's just plain fun.
A Fork in the Tale is one of the best fast paced full motion video game out on the market to date, second only to Hardline. The amazing thing is that the game's video actually runs well. The game never seemed choppy as I would have expected, in fact the frame rate never seemed low at all (about 15 frames per second on a 2x CD-ROM according to Any River Entertainment). Of course, this came at a small price in graphics quality (the resolution was not very high).
As you run away from your pursuers, you constantly have to make decisions on the fly. Most of which have to do with what you say or do. Most of the games puzzles are in the form of completing a number of tasks that allow you to move on. These tasks are often completed by clicking on the right icons before they disappear. This takes a little time to get used to, but after a while you get the hang of it, and it becomes only a matter of quick thinking to determine the right icon to click before it disappears of screen.
Also, this game features the voice of the Saturday Night Live star, Rob Schneider. His comic interludes are what give this game its flesh. Some of the scenes were so hilarious I actually played them over just to hear him again. In fact they even made up for having to go to the same places over and over because he always had new funny thing to say.
In conclusion, this game is good one. The saddest thing about the game was that it wasn't longer. The game took me under 10 hours to finish on medium difficulty and I really wanted more. (There are 5 CD's! I expected it to last a little longer.) The average two year-old could beat the game on easy, and the average eight year old would have little trouble dealing with the game on medium. So, unless you're a little slow with the mouse, play on hard because otherwise you really won't get much play time out of the game. I should mention of course that this game is rated at 13+ so you two year olds please stay away unless your parents give you permission (thank you!). This game is not a must buy, but between the fast paced action sequences and the witty remarks made by Rob Schneider, A Fork in the Tale offers an appealing package. Though this game gives the word redundant a bad name. Though this game gives the word redundant a bad name. Though this game gives the word redundant a bad name, I just fell in love with it. It's not very long, it's not very hard, but it is very fun.
Revolution Report Card
Too Short and Easy.
I am really glad that I won A Fork In The Tale in the GameSpot contest in April. I have seen so many bad reviews on the game, that I never would have bought it on my own. I would have missed out on one of the most fun games that I have played in a long time.
The game takes just a short amount of time to get the hang of playing. From the minute you start to the time you finish, you must constantly make decisions about what you will say, or what direction you will go by clicking on icons that appear on the screen. By clicking on these icons, you control how the movie you are watching plays out.
I thought the graphics were pretty good, and the voice of Rob Schneider was hilarious. I especially liked the game because it was pretty much a no-brainer and very easy to get through. Playing a couple of hours a night, it took me a week to complete the game. Then I gave it to a friend and he completed it in four days.
There were also some bad points to the game. The storyline was not that great, and if you are offended by sexist remarks, then you probably won't like the game. There is nothing said that is really raunchy, and if you take it all in fun, you will not have a problem with the comments. The game can get a little repetitive when you die. You must restart where you left off (sometimes a little farther back in the story) and complete the task you are working on before you can move on. I figured out that if you save the game before entering a new situation, you could avoid going backwards in the story and just continue where you left off.
Overall, I had a great time playing the game, and I felt the gameplay itself was pretty innovative. I have not seen an interactive movie game with this type of interface before, and I think it has a lot going for it. I have seen the game at my local computer store for $19.99, and for that price, I would not pass it up.
By Dave Gibson [POSTED: 09/05/97]