Mode Review

Mode is likely to gather dust on your shelf after only a couple of hours of gameplay.

Money can't buy everything, and mega-software company Corel's recent "interactive" movie, Mode, is the best proof. The game places you in the middle of an ultra-hipster fashion event to mingle with the natives. You interact with people by using a MoodBar (a multi-colored bar at the bottom of the screen). If you're feeling nice, go to the far right and click on the color green. If you're feeling downright pissy, go with red. In many situations, it doesn't even matter.

Since your only way of modifying the situation around you is to click on this bar, your conversations are completely one-sided, and to make matters worse, they're pretty boring as well. Sitting on your can while staring at talking heads gets old fast. And they truly are talking heads: to save space, only the character's head is video - the rest of them is just a still image. (So much for body language.) It's especially humorous when the character's head moves slightly, because it will actually go outside the border of the video frame. In other words, someone is rambling on, suddenly moves a little bit, and half of their head goes missing. Looking for more badness? Okay, there's also no way to stop a video clip unless you back completely out of the game. And to top it all off, you'll see better acting performances in the movie Showgirls. Rinky dink.

I don't want to bash til I'm blue in the face, and in all fairness I must admit that there is a tale to be told in this game. If you're patient enough, it's interesting to piece through the character's speeches to gather clues and figure out what's going on. The game's plot is unique - not many other games will let you troll around the underbelly of a make-believe fashion scene. And the more people you talk to, the more you can move around, and the more you learn. Some characters are interesting enough to at least keep one of your eyes open. And since the story isn't linear, you can explore any of the plots going on at once, although none of them is edge-of-the-seat riveting. The game's overall video quality is pretty good, too.

Unless you're a complete digital videophile, Mode is likely to gather dust on your shelf after only a couple of hours of gameplay. (And we use the term gameplay liberally.) If you're set on playing this, do yourself a favor: either invest in a jukebox CD-ROM player, or take juggling lessons. Spread out on three CD-ROMs, this game takes up more space than many of Corel's gigantic clip art collections. All in all, there's not much to do with this game except click and listen. It's interactivity at a bare minimum, and you'll probably get bored quickly.

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  • First Released Sep 30, 1996
    • PC
    Mode is likely to gather dust on your shelf after only a couple of hours of gameplay.
    Average Rating20 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    David Hiller/Jamie Nash
    Published by: