Playing A Fork in the Tale is a little like being tied to the railroad tracks with a runaway train approaching at breakneck speed - as you twist and turn trying to escape from the track, the ropes tighten around your wrists. Then seconds before the engine crushes your body, you hope it's just a nightmare. Unfortunately, this agonizing experience is real. From the first sequence to the last, it's a constant barrage of fast-paced frustration.
Featuring the voice of Rob Schneider (Saturday Night Live's "Richmeister" and star of Men Behaving Badly), A Fork in the Tale is the story of a guy who blindly stumbles into an accident that transports him to an island located in a parallel world. The goal of the game is to return the hero to his own dimension by battling, evading, and outwitting bad guys and scantily clad warrior women on the island while gathering items and information. While the plot is interesting and many of Schneider's testosterone-laden lines score with the funny bone (although not with the women), playing the game quickly grows into a tedious chore instead of an entertaining experience.
The most annoying aspect of the game is the burden placed on the player in almost every episode. This first-person quest demands that countless split-second decisions be made in order to complete a task or objective, and the majority of these decisions are completely illogical. Once is usually never enough - the player is required to complete the same action over and over before moving ahead. In addition, if a certain task isn't completed successfully, the player is sent back several frustrating steps in the story.
To AnyRiver's credit, it tried to bring some creativity and innovation to interactive movies by giving players a barrage of non-stop FMV action. For that, it deserves a pat on the back. However, it also deserves a lashing for stifling the same action with taxing gameplay in a five CD-ROM game. What a shame it missed the mark, because it had the makings of a fairly decent game.
Is that a train whistle I hear?