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Video Game / Burn:Cycle

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"It ain’t easy bein’ a two-bit thug in an eight-bit town."

A 1994 first-person Cyberpunk Adventure Game which incorporates puzzles and Full Motion Video, similar to that of The 7th Guest. Regarded by retro gamers as a Cult Classic and one of the best games on the Philips CD-i.

You play Sol Cutter, a small-time thief who ferries stolen data inside of his brain (à la Johnny Mnemonic). While he's robbing Softech Industries, a deadly Computer Virus known as Burn:Cycle is downloaded into Sol's mind. It's dormant now, but if Sol doesn't get that virus out of his head within two hours, his brain is yogurt. This countdown occurs in real time, essentially boiling down the game to one big Timed Mission, but there are enough save opportunities to see gamers through.

Despite having decent graphics for the time and comparably-good acting, Burn:Cycle is infamous for both its kitschy aesthetic and nutty (yet oddly straight-faced) storyline. Sol's hard-boiled narration riffs on Blade Runner, and the colorful characters he meets along the way are arguably the game's biggest strength.


Burn:Cycle contains examples of:

  • Ambiguous Robots: ASCII is either a hive-mind collective of data miners, an AI, or something in between, and nobody knows which.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Doc. He's also an ex-employee of SofTech, having developed the brain-uploading tech Vielli used in the first place.
  • Badass Native: Gala belongs to an entire gang of these. Take Sol's word for it; Native Americans don't fuck around in the future.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Kris's outfit in the Televerse.
    • After Sol's brain gets transferred into a woman, he wakes up in a spandex outfit with a navel-baring window.
  • Batman Gambit: Everything Sol does in the game is according to Vielli's design — even his failures!
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The Rail Shooter segment versus Sol's Rage.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Dealey turning his back on Sol. This mere moments after gloating over how he killed Sol's partner. True, Dealey's men were just about to burst in, but Sol had literally nothing to lose in shooting him.
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  • Brain Uploading: Halfway through the game, Sol's friend Doc uploads his mind into the Televerse as a virtual construct.
  • Camera Abuse: Dealey shoots out the camera after delivering his final ultimatum to Sol.
  • Casual Kink: When Gala and Sol arrive at his old hotel room, she peeks into the minibar to look for drinks. Instead, she finds a chainmail harness. Sol's nonchalant response is priceless.
    "Don't touch those! I get charged for what I use."
  • Coolest Club Ever: Sum Zero.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Dealey.
  • The Cracker: Sol himself.
  • Credit Chip: Sol's credit card, which can be loaded with credits from the First Karmic Bank of Consciousness Credit. The card even has a fingerprint scanner that lets you view its balance at will.
  • Cyberpunk Is Techno: All throughout the game, from frantic dance tracks in the Sum Zero bar, to new-age electronic themes in the Televerse.
  • Cyberspace: Referred to as the "Televerse".
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Sol Cutter.
  • Diegetic Interface: Most of Cutter's HUD comes from a set of camera goggles he uses. Averted with the inventory and save screen, though.
  • Easy Listening: The obnoxious hotel theme.
  • Enemy Without: While exploring the depths of his mind, Sol is confronted by a personification of his own rage.
  • Evil Laugh: Dealey's distinctive snicker. "Eheh heh heh heh!" This forms part of a puzzle later on
  • Faking the Dead: Vielli is believed to be dead in the live world. Actually, he uploaded his consciousness into the Televerse.
  • Fantastic Drug: Zip loves to trip out on electronic "Rushes", to the point that you have to talk to him in the Televerse to get his attention in the real world.
  • The Future: Circa 2043.
  • Flying Car: How you get to various locations in the game.
  • Freudian Trio: The three pieces of Sol's personality code.
    • Id: His Rage
    • Ego: Virtual Kris
    • Superego: The gold buddha
  • Gender Bender: Under duress, Sol agrees to be downloaded into one of Vielli's spare bodies: a "pleasure model". Ick.
  • Generic Ethnic Crime Gang: Puerto-Rican pharmaceutical smugglers.
  • Gunpoint Banter: "When God was crapping stupidity, he dropped a shitload on you!"
  • Heel–Face Mole: Doc.
  • History Repeats: Sol and Dealey find themselves in a pistol standoff twice during the game — once in a flashback, and again at the end of the game.
  • Immortality Immorality: Vielli's aim is to preserve the minds of Earth's greatest thinkers by uploading their brains into the televerse, whereupon they can Body Surf between artificial bodies in perpetuity. Softech seeks to sell his technology to the highest bidder.
  • In-Game TV: Sum Zero has these, which also double as a public Televerse interface.