Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Carole Stewart McDonnell

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Microsoft
Learning curve time: 30 min.
Age level: 11+

Genre: Puzzle
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 3 of 5
Violence: 5 of 5
Adult Content: 4 of 5
   (barely present)

"Pandora's Box", from Microsoft, is reminiscent of several other puzzle games that have been on the market. Like Boffo's "Hodj & Podj", it is an anthology of puzzles. And like Activision's "Mission Code: Millenium", it is a puzzle in which the gameplayer searches for hidden artifacts. Like Centron Software's "Jigsaw Power", it is a collection of jigsaw puzzles.

“Pandora's Box” jigsaw collection takes jigsaws into cyber-realms and redefines the normal flat one-dimension game into a multimedia tour-de-force. So much can happen to a jigsaw when 3-D elements and computers are involved. The goal of the game is to capture 7 escaped Tricksters. The goal is divided into mini-missions which involves traveling around the world and playing with artifacts in the shape of varying jigsaw puzzles. There are 10 puzzle types and 35 cities and 350 puzzles that get harder as one progresses through the game. My favorite games were rotascope—a game in which pieces of the puzzles are seen and moved around in a rotascope. Another favorite was Focus point, another game which played with the idea of distance.

In Greek mythology, Pandora was a woman to whom the gods had given a box in which she was commanded to keep closed. When she opened the box, all the evils of the world flew out and oppressed mankind. The only thing left in the box was hope. (I've always wondered what such a wonderful thing as hope was doing in a box filled with such horrors as disease, famine, death, etc.) But Pandora' story—like Judeo-Christianity's Eve's—is one about troubles brought upon mankind by disobedience. “Pandora's Box” is beautiful, wistful, and romantic. It has a kind of attractive spiritual beauty to it. The paintings are lush and sensual drawings and reminds the player of old Asian, Greek, Indian, Polynesian, and Native-American art. Christians who are offended by the knowledge of myths or cultural legends from varying cultures, especially the idea of the trickster myths, will have a problem with this game. The words “myth” or “gods” (small g) seem to get a lot of kneejerk disdain from many Christians. For other Christians, myths only show that God has not left himself without witness in other lands. Christians have the last, the truest, and the greatest revelation of God, sin, and redemption. In addition, Christians do not have an admiring relationship with a "trickster-hero". Satan is evil and that's that. There is nothing cute or admiring about his “tricks.” But a discerning parent will want to help her child wade through this world of myths.

The game suffers only in comparison. The puzzles in "Hodj and Podj"—an older and harder to find game—are more varied. The gameplay in "Mission Code:" is more literary and educational. But the game does stand on its own and because it is the newest of the three, “Pandora's Box” will be easier to find and order. And notwithstanding my feeling that the game was derivative and almost an inferior copy of those titles, I highly recommend this game for those who like variations on the jigsaw puzzle theme.

Year of Release—2000

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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