Software Review: The Witcher

If you're timid, don't be witched.

video game 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
video game 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Witcher, a DVD-ROM in English by CDProjekt in Poland for Atari,distributed by Atari-Israel, requires Windows XP or higher and a 2.4 Ghz Pentium 4 PC or above, for adults, NIS 230. Technical rating: 4 stars Moral rating: 0 stars Freed from the shackles of communism, Polish software developers feel at liberty to go as far as they want, with unrestrained violence and sex in the videogames they export to Britain and other Western countries. This adult-only role-playing game, based on a series of fantasy stories by best-selling Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, is an example of high technical skill and low morals that can nevertheless legally be purchased by youngsters. The protagonist of the story is Geralt of Rivia, a mercenary killer ("witcher") of monsters who lives in Vizima, a cursed, gloomy and impoverished city (except for a few filthy rich who enjoy themselves). With long gray tresses and a scarred face that becomes even more bloodcurdling when he periodically swallows the contents of little bottles of potions, Geralt (nicknamed White Wolf) is a killing machine who can hardly be called a "good guy." Geralt initially arrives at the Witchers' fortress suffering from amnesia. This forgetfulness allows the narrator to retell some of what the Witcher has been through in the past and forces the protagonist to roam the world and encounter people he previously met so he can regain his memories. The game is offered at three levels of difficulty, with the option of using your mouse only or it and the keyboard. But you must have a strong computer to use it, and even if you do, the load time from one scene to another is very long, and frequent crashes are nearly inevitable. If you get through it all, it will take you about 45, 50 or even 60 hours to finish. The background music is stirring, voice acting believable, graphics impressive and sound effects authentic. But while there is an interesting story line, the game reeks of perversion. As Geralt is a genetically altered human, he is sterile, but he can still seduce young women who offer to be ravished, and he takes advantage of their offer. After each sexual escapade, he earns cards showing the semi-nude image of the woman he had sex with and that he collects as a kind of trophy. The dialogue also includes plenty of filthy language.