Here's a nifty little gumdrop of a game. It was released with virtually no fanfare--and by Interplay, a major company yet! Strange indeed.
It doesn't play like it's a game from a major publisher. It plays like a perky little garage game. This is not a complaint. One of my favorite games of the last eighteen months, Cracking the Conspiracy, was a superb garage game.
Y2K begins on December 31, 1999. It's a third-person game in which you play a nerdy guy who's just won the lottery and bought a mysterious old house. You and your computer programmer girlfriend are planning on bringing in the New Year together.
The interesting thing about this mansion is that, even though it's old, it's been retrofitted with an amazing array of digital devices. In fact, it's what you would call a "smart" house--everything computerized, and everything connected.
Your character drinks just a little too much champagne and passes out. When you wake up, alone, you quickly realize something is very, very wrong.
Oh-oh. Yep, that's right--the computer network that runs the house wasn't Y2K-compliant!
The goal of the game, then, is to work your way through the house, rescue your girlfriend, foil the screwed-up computer system, and install the Y2K compliance software.
Sounds simple right? Well ... actually it is.
This is a third-person game with a rather odd interface that has irritated some players. The main character isn't exactly speedy, and you do have to practice patience as he shuffles to and fro throughout the mansion. What made this bearable for me was the almost hyperactive floating camera. Reminiscent of the original Alone in the Dark, the camera is constantly moving and switching points of view. Since I generally find third-person games too static visually, this feature really helped me enjoy the proceedings more.
Like all stuck-in-a-peculiar-mansion games, the house in Y2K gradually opens up as you solve more puzzles. Most of these puzzles have to do with dealing with locked safes and unhappy computers. Some of them are pretty standard, but some are quite entertaining. My favorite involves a wall of amusingly vocal animatronic game trophies, who chat you up as you try to fix their circuits.
An area I constantly carp on in games is the quality of the acting. In this department, Y2K has an ace in the hole in Dan Castellaneta, one of the most talented voice men in showbiz (he is the voice of Homer Simpson and was one of the troupe of actors on the original Tracy Ullman Show). Having someone of Castellaneta's ability in the lead role is a great asset to the game.
Y2K is quite short, but I had a good time playing it. If there had been more to it, I would have given it a higher grade. As it is, I give it an overall C+.
Windows 95/98 with DirectX 6.1 or later (included)
16 MB RAM
100 MB minimum available hard drive space
DirectX certified sound and video card
8X or faster CD-ROM drive
100% Microsoft-compatible mouse