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Keeping Up With ‘Jones’ From Realistic Point of View

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Picture this. Get up, go to school, find a job, go to work, ask for a raise, work some more. And if you’re not having fun yet, go home and try to relax. Is this real or is it Sierra’s “Jones In the Fast Lane?” No, really, it’s just a computer game. Really.

Designed to resemble a board game, “Jones” is a humorous romp through modern life. Although Jones himself is always available for the solitaire player, up to four human players can play the game. Sierra recruited some very real-looking characters to join Jones on the board. As reviewed on our VGA system, the actors were a little bit fuzzy, but they certainly added a level of realism.

At the beginning of each game, the players define levels of personal satisfaction for each of four categories: money, happiness, education and career. They then spend the rest of the game frantically racing around the board trying to achieve their goals. For some reason, while you (the player) are pictured strolling down the middle of the screen, movement around the board is demonstrated by a rolling ball.

Beware: Life experience does not automatically assure success. Gloating over a job promotion is meaningless when you are sent away because your wardrobe is unsuitable and you have no money for new clothes--and when your old clothes are worn out, they fall off.

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Documentation, not really necessary after the first 10 minutes of play, is kept to a minimum.

Also, Sierra has taken a leap of faith and is offering the game with no copy protection. But the game is also priced a bit lower than usual, presumably so buyers will encourage friends to buy rather than pirate their own copies.

JONES IN THE FAST LANE

Rating: ****

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IBM & compatibles; EGA (512K) or VGA/MCGA (640K). List: $39.95.

Computer games are rated on a five-star system, from one star for poor to five for excellent.


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