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LSD

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Released: 1998

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: PlayStation

Publisher: Asmik Ace Entertainment, Inc

Developer: OutSide Directors Company

Submitted by: Craig Hawkins

The Tetris Effect, where those famous falling shapes begin to occupy dreams, is a condition which has filtered through to many games. What we have here is one title for which you absolutely do not want to develop The Tetris Effect.

LSD describes itself as a 'dream emulator' based on the dream diaries kept by a member of the development team, so it's no surprise to look up at certain points to see what appear to be Tetrominoes suspended in the sky. As the title's drug reference implies, these trips are often of the bad acid variety. You will witness disturbing sights, you will hear pulsating noises that leave you close to a head buzz – and on occasion you'll decide the best option is to leap off a cliff to wake yourself up.

With no goal to speak of, you're placed within a sequence of arbitrarily generated environments and simply explore them from a first-person perspective. Dreams are daily and can last up to ten minutes. To progress from one vivid environment to the next, you walk towards any object and touch it.

Dreams normally begin in a place you might call home, a basic apartment, empty apart from some chirruping birds and a book case. 'Home' transforms slightly with each new dream. One time the colour scheme had changed and Kanji was scrawled everywhere. I searched the rooms to be confronted by a giant baby wearing a stone mask. Without warning, the face jumped for me. I p*ssed myself.

But what does it all mean? A recurring theme is of a mysterious figure in a trilby hat and trench coat. And what of the floating elephants, the sumo wrestlers, winged beasts, headless women and copies of famous landmarks? What would Freud make of the dream where I entered a labyrinthine womb and discovered bouncing children in the centre? (Perhaps I shouldn't have bumped into that giant geisha that one time.)

When you wake up, a graph displays whether your dream was an upper or downer, static or dynamic. Not that it particularly makes much sense. LSD is a remarkable experience unlike any other. For many that may translate to it being a ridiculous and tedious one. Like dreams themselves, it is whatever you choose to make of it.