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Taboo: The Sixth Sense (NES) artwork

Taboo: The Sixth Sense (NES) review

"In a nutshell, the premise of Rare's Taboo - The Sixth Sense: type in a well thought-out and insightful question and get mindless gibberish back. Taboo claims to be able to see your future via tarot card fortune telling. How drawing upon a machine with the processing capabilities of a peanut accomplishes this is beyond me. "

In a nutshell, the premise of Rare's Taboo - The Sixth Sense: type in a well thought-out and insightful question and get mindless gibberish back. Taboo claims to be able to see your future via tarot card fortune telling. How drawing upon a machine with the processing capabilities of a peanut accomplishes this is beyond me.

Taboo starts with a spooky introduction:

All that has been and all that will be is here for you to know[.] Dare you glimpse the future[?] Dare you even ask..? Taboo the time machine on Nintendo!

Man, that's creepy, don't you think? Sorry, apparently Rare ran out of punctuation so I had to add some. The manual furthers the haunting feeling with, ''USE TABOO AT YOUR OWN RISK.'' Maybe Rare was concerned about boredom-induced heart attacks.

The start of our exciting adventure begins with the input screen, where you enter your name, birth date, sex, and question you want the wise and all-knowing Taboo to answer. Input is done with the game-given keyboard so naturally ''typing'' characters one at a time takes a while. As you will soon see, none of this will matter, so feel free to name yourself ''cmeoyfve'' if you're in a hurry to end this experience as quickly as possible. A good birthday is 11/11/11, and who the hell cares what gender you are? I thought I'd test the game's artificial intelligence with a simple question like, ''What is my name?'' but that was entirely the wrong path to take.

At this point, the game shuffles the cards, which takes about seven hours. The manual claims you can influence the shuffling by moving the control pad, but that's a bunch of crap. After the game is done wowing you with its computerized card shuffling ability, it lays ten cards out in a tarot like fashion. Now Taboo, with excruciating slowness, reveals the cards' uselessly vague inscriptions with advice on areas of your life you don't care about. Even more disappointing is that a lot of the sayings are in strange sounding English, which doesn't say much for Rare, a British company.

If you haven't shut the game off in disgust by the time all ten cards are revealed, Taboo treats you to a screen where you can pick your state (if you live in the US) for some lucky, randomly generated, lotto numbers! Contain your excitement, for although the power of the NES is vast, it isn't good for winning lotteries. Sorry. Of course the numbers are different every time, but the manual attempts to explain this.

At the end of each TABOO reading you will be given the option to glimpse your very own exclusive lucky number as predicted by TABOO, THE SIXTH SENSE, using your own minute psychic vibration and stimulus.

Give me a break, the Gypsies do better than that, and I get more for my swindled fifty dollars than Taboo offers.

I'm not sure whether it's a blessing or an annoyance, but the game of Taboo lasts about three minutes. At that point it goes back to the title screen, at which point you eject the cartridge and use it in lieu of a clay pigeon. Rare didn't even think to include a way to replay with the previous information; you have to retype everything upon each new play.

Since there's not much to look at, Taboo better have some impressive graphics, and it does. The massive sun on the title screen and the title text itself are snazzy, and the fonts used in the game are of unusually high quality. The card faces are clear and it's understandable what most of the images are supposed to be. The cards themselves animate well when flipping back to front. There's even a trippy LSD-inspired background during the otherwise monotonous card shuffling scene. Groovy, man!

Taboo's best aspect is its pretty good music. While most of the pieces are only very few seconds in length, they add a bit of mood to this otherwise depressing game. There is nary a sound effect to be found, so the game rides on music alone.

It took me quite some time to figure out why, but the Taboo box carried a warning stating that it was not suitable for those under fourteen years of age. While I personally would not deem it suitable for anyone of any age, I could not fathom what could be so offensive in this game. At first I thought it was because of occult references, but any game title named Taboo should raise the brow of an over-protective parent. Then I thought it might have been the fact that you can enter any question you want and (gasp) lie about your gender. Of course that's up to the kid. Besides, little Johnny surely isn't crude enough to enter filth into the text box, and he sure as hell would never be as confused about himself to choose ''female'', not my little Johnny!

Anyway, after playing a while, I drew a card which featured a pixelated naked lady offering her bosom to the sky. The only thing I could tell about her is that she has a nice bosom. I stared at the card for a while. I have no idea why. Second hand nudity is the least of this game's problems; a more suitable disclaimer would have been, ''WARNING, THIS GAME CONTAINS EXTREME BOREDOM WHICH MAY BE HARMFUL TO MINORS.''

Taboo is terrible. It requires you to actually know how to use tarot cards to derive your fortune. If you knew how to use the cards, why on earth would you need this? I feel sorry for the people who dropped fifty dollars expecting to be at least mildly entertained. The manual is chock full 'o crap and is more fun to read than the game is to play. But, hell, Rare is somehow still in business, and if you want to have some fun, fire off an e-mail explaining how displeased you are with Taboo, then use the game to predict what response you'll get, if any. Feel warm inside when Taboo tells you, ''The culmination of the events revealed before, will be receipt of inspiration or insight.''

If you actually find this game in its original condition, buy it for the funky black cloth that's included. You're supposed to drape it over the cartridge to keep external influences out. Right.

whelkman's avatar
Community review by whelkman (March 02, 2003)

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