Burn Cycle

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Burn Cycle
Burn Cycle cover.png
CD-i cover art
Publisher(s)Philips Interactive Media
Platform(s)CD-i, Mac OS, Windows
Genre(s)Interactive movie
Point-and-click adventure

Burn Cycle (stylized as Burn:Cycle) is a 1994 adventure video game for the CD-i that incorporates full motion video. The game's star, Sol Cutter, is a computer hacker and small-time data thief whose latest steal at the beginning of the game comes with a nasty sting. The Burn Cycle virus has been implanted in his head and has given him a two-hour realtime deadline to find a cure before his brain deteriorates completely. The player must guide Sol out of Softech and into the Televerse in order to find his cure. Various obstacles and games stand in his way, and there is the overarching realisation that Burn Cycle has been planted by someone with malicious intent. Finding this within the time limit completes the game.

The game was re-released for personal computers in 1995. In 1996 Philips Interactive Media announced that all of their CD-i games would be ported to the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation during the third quarter of 1996, starting with Burn Cycle.[1] However, these ports were never released.


As an adventure puzzle game, the styles of skill tests in the game vary from rearranging wiring circuits to games of chance (such as Psychic Roulette) and games within games, as with the Pac-Man-styled final level. Outside these puzzles, Sol is moved around in point and click style within certain direction constraints. There is one instance where this is coupled with a shooting gallery in the first level, but generally gameplay events only happen when Sol is not travelling. Items such as timers and keys can be collected at various points either to directly affect the levels or to barter. Overall, the game is played within the 2-hour limit (as long as Sol can receive an extension from backyard trader Zip), but it can be saved and time is frozen if the game is paused.

Development and promotion[edit]

The game, written by Eitan Arrusi for TripMedia, London, features live action characters. Arrusi and Darius Fisher were the director and assistant director, respectively. The FMVs and in-game graphics were shot on blue-screen, as backgrounds are composed of 3D renders. The effect is that navigation through Burn:Cycle's environments cues a 3D walkthrough, while interaction with characters or the activation of scripted events prompts the loading of overlaid camera footage, sometimes even with complete scene changes.

The game's live action cast are credited as follows:

  • Aaron Swartz as Cutter
  • Viva Duce as Kris
  • Abigail Canton as Gala
  • Tanya Pohlkotte as Female Cutter
  • Indra Sinha as the Golden Buddha

The 1995 re-release for personal computers was preceded by an early use of marketing a video game through the Internet. The official Burn Cycle website featured original content set in the game's world that was intended to serve as a precursor to the events depicted in the game. The site also featured various promotions and allowed visitors to sign up for an e-mail list that sent out hints for the game.[2]


Burn Cycle features a largely techno soundtrack, composed and performed by the partnership of Simon Boswell and Chris Whitten. The game came packaged with a soundtrack CD that could be played on the CD-i or on any conventional CD player. Some of the songs on the soundtrack are remixed with dialogue from the game's voice actors.


Review scores
AllGame2.5/5 stars[3]
Game RevolutionA-[4]
PC Gamer (UK)71%[5]
Entertainment WeeklyA-[6]

The CD-i version of Burn Cycle has been viewed as one of the most prominent titles on its system,[7][8] with Electronic Gaming Monthly awarding it "Best CD-i Game of 1994" in their Buyer's Guide,[9] and GamePro calling it "just what the CD-i needed".[10] The magazines lauded the game's audio and cinematics.[10][11] GamePro gave it a 5/5 score for three categories (graphics, sound, and fun factor), rating control at 4.5.[10] 1UP.com, impressed by its futuristic setting and storyline, referred to Burn Cycle as "one of the best showcases of the console's strengths."[7]

The PC release received a mixed response from critics. Allgame praised the variety of characters and locations, but stated that the game's graphics were "extremely crude looking and hurtful to the eyes".[3] PC Gamer commented that "the blend of puzzles, arcade action, mysteries and cyberspace won't be too interesting"; the game's cyberpunk atmosphere and music were listed as positive aspects.[5] In contrast, Game Revolution criticized the soundtrack for being "just bad industrial". The website nonetheless considered Burn Cycle "well-balanced" and its environments "carefully planned", giving the game an A- along with Entertainment Weekly.[6][4]

Next Generation reviewed the CD-i version of the game, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "Newcomers to gaming will be amazed at Burn:Cycle's beauty. Experienced arcade thrashers will wonder what the fuss is about."[12]


  1. ^ "Burn Cycle". Sega Saturn Magazine (7). Emap International Limited. May 1996. p. 14.
  2. ^ Gillen, Marilyn A. (August 26, 1995). "Vid Game Promos As Entertaining As Game". Billboard: 98.
  3. ^ a b Savignano, Lisa Karen. "allgame ((( Burn:Cycle > Review )))". Allgame. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  4. ^ a b "Burn Cycle - PC Review". Game Revolution. 2004-06-05. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  5. ^ a b "Burn: Cycle for Windows". MobyGames. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  6. ^ a b Strauss, Bob (1994-12-09). "Burn: Cycle | Digital Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  7. ^ a b Cowan, Danny (2006-04-25). "CD-i Games: The Good". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  8. ^ "Information Page: Burn:Cycle". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  9. ^ "Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide". 1995.
  10. ^ a b c Scarry Larry (January 1995). "ProReview: CD-i". GamePro. IDG Communications. 66 (1): 96.
  11. ^ "Burn Cycle". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Sendai Publishing. 60 (7): 174. July 1994.
  12. ^ "Finals". Next Generation. No. 1. Imagine Media. January 1995. p. 94.

External links[edit]