This review first appeared in WindoWatch.
The opening movie of the game shows entomologist Roger Samms packing a suitcase and getting ready to leave. He's interrupted by his landlord who demands the rent for the month. After the interruption, Roger suddenly remembers this odd necklace, and searches for it. But when he looks at it, a strange metamorphesis takes place. After that, you have control.
You have a roach's view on the world. There are many dangers and obstacles in your path, which may prevent you from easily traveling around. As you explore, you reveal parts of the story by triggering events when you've solved puzzles. Other times, just stepping on or behind an item will reveal something.
The story is entertaining, some of the music is very good, and the acting is quite credible. The game does have some places where the next action may not be obvious, but the puzzles are fair enough. Exploration is necessary, and you have to take much more care in this game than a typical adventure game. Cockroaches are much easier to kill than most characters in an adventure game.
This is definitely a save often game. The roach gets several lives, but they are quite easy to lose. Watch other roaches if they happen to be around. They may lead you to an important spot. They may also show you something to avoid, by dying in front of you.
Watch out for stepping on anything potentially sticky. It's an easy and fast way to die. Water is merely a barrier, but there are a number of other fluids that block your path. A body of a roach is a good indication that the fluid is fatal, but there may not be a body for every deadly liquid.
Hints in the game are given by a series of video sequences. Some of them are triggered if you step on a certain pattern when exploring your new world. Others are given after you've solved one puzzle to let you know where to go from there.
When you are a roach, there are many hazards in your world. Fluids, in general, block your progress. Some are very hazardous to your health, if you get stuck in those, you die quickly. Others are just a barrier. You may be unable to go forward, but you can retreat.
Other hazards include some pipes that are too hot for you to survive, the pet cat and the rat king. You will be warned about the cat, you hear the low growl just before the paw reaches out for you. To avoid the rat king, you have to be observant.
Very minor really. I dislike games that demand 256 colour mode. I like to run at higher colour resolution, and my Win95 system must be rebooted to change colour modes. And sometimes it can be difficult to work out where you are on the screen.
Navigation can be very tricky. There are times when the path you must follow to survive is quite precise. There are other times when you may think you can go over or under some obstacle but can't.
One clue that you get is for an action much later in the game. It isn't obvious that the problem is simply one of time, so you may well spend a long time trying to solve something that is unsolvable at the time. Frustrating and a bit unnecessary.
Overall, the game is very good. Well presented, nice music, reasonable acting, and good game play. No hunting for pixels on the screen, you use the arrows keys and not the mouse to navigate. Timing puzzles aren't a real problem, but there was one puzzle that I thought could have used better hints on the solution. The place that you stuck in is a bit on the disgusting side, the game wouldn't be suitable for children or those with a weak stomach.
The game does have at least two endings, you can either win or lose. By the time you reach this point, how to win is quite apparent. However, I like to try losing games also to see if that's entertaining. This one does have an entertaining and different end for two different things that you can do.
It's an interesting premise, and the way it is done is excellent.