by Hans ten Cate
Tuesday, 16 January 1996

In early fall 1995, 7th Level, Inc. officially released the Macintosh version of its very popular CD-ROM title, Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time. Apparently, the success of the PC-version and pressure by Python fans and Macintosh-owners prompted the predominantly PC-oriented firm to develop a Macintosh version last year.

"Mac users are among the biggest Python fans in the world," stated 7th Level CEO and President George Grayson in an August 23rd press release. "It took me a long time to break down and develop a Mac version, please forgive me. But now that we've done it, I begrudgingly admit I like it. In fact, I like it so much that from now on 7th Level will offer all our best material for both systems."

As with the PC rendition, the Macintosh CD-ROM is made up of two parts: a desktop editing program (the "Desktop Pythonizer") and a series of games, interactive screens, and puzzles which, when played in the correct sequence, actually become parts of a much larger game called "The Secret to Intergallactic Success."

The Desktop Pythonizer is a desktop editing program by which one can add more than 150 Python sounds, 45 graphic icons, 45 desktop backgrounds, and 25 screen savers to your, otherwise, dreary Macintosh desktop. These sights and sounds are guaranteed to both amuse and annoy your friends. The Macintosh version of the Pythonizer, however, does not include the 17 Megabytes worth of hilarious phone messages originally part of the PC version. These were specially recorded by Eric Idle for 7th Level and their ommission is an unfortunate loss, but not a disaster - there is enough Python on this disc to assure that fans will waste their time for weeks on end...

The Secret to Intergalactic Success, at first sight, seems like a loose collection of Monty Python skits, games, and interactive screens, each located in different "lobes" of Mrs. Zambezi's brain, which you must explore. However, while you are exhaustively navigating through these lobes (clicking on anything that may or may not move), the Pythons themselves begin to provide you with clues which will, if interpreted correctly, lead you to intergalactic success and ever-lasting happiness (or at least a splitting headache). Last year, 7th Level gave away several Pentium computers to game-owners who had successfully completed the game and had, therefore, wasted the most amount of time.

During your quest, you will encounter over thirty hilariously haughty skits from the long-running BBC-TV series, including The Cheese Shop, Blackmail, Nudge Nudge, The Dead Parrot, The Argument Clinic and more! In addition, you can also play a number of hilarious arcade games involving interactive versions of Terry Gilliam's animations. Also, you can sing along with some of the more popular Python tunes such as the Lumberjack Song, the Money Song and, the gourmet's delight, Spam!

Admittedly, this is one of the most challenging games I've ever played. The best strategy sometimes, it seems, is to click on everything you see... what is worse, there are also instances when you're NOT supposed to click on something. If you get stuck somewhere in the game or if the Pythons torment you too much, there is a hintbook available from Prima Publishing. Hints and additional product information is also available at the 7th Level website.

The Pythons themselves were actively involved in the creation of this multimedia title. Terry Gilliam was one of the Executive Producers and four of the troupe members (Mssrs. Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin) provided and performed totally new material! The boys provide voice-overs for some of the action as well as instructions to the player. Other times, they taunt you in ways that only the Pythons can... try pushing F1 (Help) repeatedly, arrrrghh!

"Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time" continues to receive accolades from the computer community. PC Magazine's recent "Best Products of 1994" included Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time as did PC World with their "Best CDs of 1994." Multimedia World, Computer Life, PC Computing, New Media also gave this title the highest ratings. Dennis Michael of CNN called it "maybe the best CD ROM ever." In March 1995, the CD-ROM won a prestigious Codie Award in the "Best Strategy Program" category at the Software Publisher's Association (SPA) Tenth Annual Excellence in Software Awards ceremony. Chief Executive Officer George Grayson commented, "Monty Python continues to exceed our expectations. The reviews have been wonderful, and the response from customers has been great. We are strongly penetrating the distribution channel. All indications are that the product is selling well at retail."

The Macintosh version of "Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time" is priced at about $49.99 (U.S.), and has been available at computer stores since October.