August 8, 2007


Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 1994

Developed by: Trip Media

Produced by: Phillips Media, Inc.

Platforms: CD-i, DOS\Windows, Macintosh

Key Cast Members:

  • Sol Cutter: Aaron Schwartz
  • Kris: Viva Duce
  • Gala: Abigail Canton
  • Female Cutter: Tanya Pohlkotte
  • Golden Buddha: Indra Sinha
  • Bonus CD Track Listing:

    1. Burn:Cycle (Theme)
    2. Karmic Church
    3. Flying
    4. System Software
    5. Buddha’s Voice
    6. Into The Televerse
    7. Psychic Roulette
    8. Zip
    9. Kris VR
    10. A Beautiful Relationship
    11. Meltdown

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very High

    Rating: 9 out of 10


    Data thief Sol Cutter has something on his mind. In two hours, it will reformat his cortex into pudding.

    Overview: Originally released by Phillips for their CD-i CD interactive system, Burn:Cycle is a live-action interactive movie, a mash-up of Blade Runner and Johnny Menmonic, with some mini-games and puzzles thrown in. The movie/game follows Sol Cutter as he tries to remove a computer virus from his implant while the player controls some of his actions.

    If you’re lucky enough to find a version with a bonus CD, you’ll have the extra treat of listening to the music of Simon Boswell, who not only does the soundtrack for Burn:Cycle but also Hardware and Hackers.


    The Story: Sol Cutter is a small time data thief who gets his big chance. All he has to do is infiltrate Softech, download some files, sneak out, and get paid for his efforts. Piece of cake…
    … except someone put arsenic-flavored icing on that cake. A sudden surge of data hits Sol upside his head like a brick, and left a nasty little going away present. A virus called Burn:Cycle is now in his neural implant. It’s dormant for now, but if Sol doesn’t get that virus out before the clock hits zero, he’ll get a headache no amount of aspirin or ibuprofen will ever cure. That’s assuming Sol manages to get out of Softech in one piece…

    The countdown to Sol’s destruction begins from the word go, and all you have to save him is your mouse… and some stuff in your inventory, plus whatever stuff you can find along the way. The mouse cursor will change whenever a certain action is possible, and clicking will make Sol perform that action from moving around to shooting to using objects. Point-and-click action is also used in the mini-games you’ll play along the way.


    Sometimes, a man just wants to get in touch with his feminine side.


    Televerse, not cyberspace: Sooner or later, you’ll be jacked into the Televerse to find something to get the Burn:Cycle virus out. It operates much like real time in the game, except there’s a central location called The Pulse that you can instantly jump to since some locations in the Televerse don’t have exits.



    “It ain’t easy bein’ a two-bit thug in an eight-bit town.” (Sol Cutter)

    Bad Graphics, Good Music: PC users may be in for a bit of a system shock when they first play Burn:Cycle, especially if they’re used the accelerated graphic capabilities of their nVidia or ATI Radeon cards. Burn:Cycle was originally ported to the PC during the twilight of DOS/Windows 3.1x. Had Phillips waited, they could have taken advantage of Windows 95’s Direct X drivers, giving them better graphics.

    While the graphics leaves much to improve on, the music from the bonus CD gives those who can’t play the game on their NT-based systems an opportunity to experience the game’s environment from the audio side. The music, composed mostly by Simon Boswell, comes straight from the game and even features some dialog for good measure. My favorite track is number 10, “A Beautiful Relationship,” sounding like an electronic version of the saxophone-background music of private-eye fare while a woman who sounds like a prostitute speaks her mind (“Normally I’d like to keep my knees below my ears on a first date.”).

    Conclusion: Burn:Cycle is a classic game that has earned its place along side the likes of Syndicate and Blade Runner for good reason. It would have easily been a ten-star game had the graphics been up to snuff. Still, having Burn:Cycle in your collection (as opposed to your neural implant) is a big win. And having the music CD with the game is a major find.

    This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Music, Cyberpunk Games by Mr. Roboto.

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