Afterlife (LucasArts) is a devilishly complicated simulation that mocks SimCity and other society-building sims while provoking laughter and headaches galore. The premise – ingenious and thoroughly sacrilegious – casts you as the Demiurge (defined as a local deity) of an Earth-like planet. The planet’s inhabitants, “Ethically Mature Biological Organisms” (EMBOs), all have different beliefs about the afterlife, and these beliefs comes true after they die. You’ve got your “No Afterlife At All” crowd (NAAAists), your “Only Cloud Realms Await” crowd (OCRAists), your “Souls Undergo Multiple Afterlifes” crowd (SUMAists), and many more, including combinations (the HOHOSUMARALFists, for example, believe that a soul travels to either heaven or hell, that the soul undergoes multiple rewards or punishments, and that after the come-uppance has finished there is reincarnation). Perhaps you’re beginning to understand how complicated this simulation is, and we’ve touched only the tip of this (metaphysical) iceberg. Maintain a working heaven and hell by building roads, gates, training centers, siphons, banks, love domes, omnibolges, limbo structures, karma stations, etc. There’s a lot of wit here: if you’ve received a sudden influx of gluttons, for example, you’d better have plenty of hell zoned for gluttony. The variations on SimCity‘s disasters may be the funniest part of all. “Bats Out Of Hell” coats your sinners with guano. “Hell Freezes Over” chills buildings for up to 75 years. “Disco Inferno” sends a Disco Demon across your landscape, wreaking havoc as he “gets down with his own bad self.” Stuff can happen in heaven, too, but it’s not quite as much fun (“Birds of Paradise,” “My Blue Heaven,” “Heaven Nose”). Our only complaint with Afterlife is its unbelievable complexity – the tutorial alone takes hours upon hours to complete. Veterans of SimCity and unemployed gamers with time on their hands should be able to handle this disc, but people who have a real life to lead might demand something at least fractionally less involved.
– September 1996
Previous | Index | Next