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From the Database of Home of the Underdogs




Copyright 1994, Virtual Views

One of the world’s first “multimedia novels,” Sinkha is a creative and very pretty CD-ROM title that is best described as “interactive comic book.” The story is sci-fi, a bit a slightly hackneyed one, based on the graphic novel of the same name. Sinkha tells about a girl named Hyleyn who is trapped in the slums of Thalissar, an enclosed city on an environmentally inhospitable planet. No one important remains in Thalissar — the rich and powerful leave, and those who cannot are relegated to a seedy, backwater existence amid the decaying megalopolis. From time to time the Corporation sends out a ship to ensure its interests are maintained, and even more rarely Thalissar is visited by the Sinkhas. The Sinkhas are immortal beings who maintain benign order in the net of aligned worlds. They travel aboard the living starship Darcon, and each has the guise of one of the races that inhabit the net worlds. Mortals fear to look upon them, but Hyleyn seeks them out, desperate to plead for her escape from Thalissar. She has also fallen in love with a Sinkha, the silver-haired Aker. Her wish is granted and she is shuttled to the Darcon, where she experiences virtual tableaux of beauty and peace, richly colored, clean and soothing. For the first time in her life she also hears quiet, finally away from the mysterious, maddening winds of Thalissar. Her newfound peace is shortlived however, as the Darcon moves to investigate unusual readings on the planet’s surface and the incomprehensible crash of a Corporation ship at the source of these signals…

Sinkha is essentially a graphic novel with very little interaction, albeit a visually stunning one. As you read the pages and admire the graphics on-screen, you will from time to time come across multimedia elements such as short movie clips or music. But although visually complex, the actual story is muddled and hackneyed, degrades quickly and the characters have about as much emotional depth as sock puppets. However, Sinkha is recommended because its artistic elements are so strong: the designer/artist Marco Patrito spent more than 4 years to produce the art for this CD, and it shows.

If you enjoy graphic novels and don’t mind spending roughly US$30 (including overseas shiping) for some pretty eyecandy and above-average sci-fi tale, check out Sinkha. I enjoyed the story while it lasted, although the writing could have been stronger and the plot more interesting. As a bonus, the CD-ROM also includes a songlist and play feature, and it is a very listenable score. The music is very unearthly and ethereal, and the sound effects are entirely appropriate. Recommended if you are curious about digital graphic novel — an art form that is still very much in its infancy. If you like the game, also check out the superior sequel called Hyleyn, now on sale at the official site.

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