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Qin: Tomb of the Middle Kingdom

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While Qin: Tomb of the Middle Kingdom is yet another CD-ROM that owes its existence to Myst, its high quality makes it more an affectionate tribute than a bald-faced rip-off. In this low-key, oddly soothing exploration game, players wander through a recently unearthed 2,200-year-old tomb in northern China, translating arcane inscriptions and solving devilishly complicated logic puzzles (and, along the way, learning about ancient Chinese ideograms). Qin‘s structure is nothing new — like its inspiration, the game unfolds as a series of lush still photos and doesn’t offer players much in the way of assistance, but its authentic-looking artifacts and ambient, atonal music make it as novel an experience as attending an archaeological exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A-