is designed to unlock the hidden potential in your games. Think you've exhausted the fun of your favorite game? Can't get past that difficult level? Game Guru lets you get more of what you play for: more lives, more weapons, more armor, more power. Access secret levels or play scenarios/levels out of order. With Game Guru you can rewrite the rules of the game. Game Guru was originally released for the 3DO game system. While this PC version is markedly different from the 3DO version, it still gives you the power to expand the capabilities of your games -- in other words, Game Guru helps you cheat.
There are three sections in Game Guru: the Knowledge Base, the Code Library, and the Code Generator. The interface throughout all three modules is consistent and easy to us, and Game Guru is much more intuitive than other cheat utilities.
The Knowledge Base is a database of cheat codes already built into games. You've probably seen listings of cheat codes on the web and in various magazines. The idea behind the Knowledge Base is to make it easy to find the cheat codes without having to search all over for them. Unfortunately, the database included with Game Guru is woefully incomplete. For most games there are only a few cheat codes listed, and often the best cheats for a game are not included. In several cases, the listing of cheat codes provided in the manual for the game was more complete than _Game Guru's) list. You can edit the text file containing the cheats and add those that are missing, but the whole idea of the Knowledge Base is to make it so you don't have to track down the codes yourself.
The Code Library and Code Generator are the core of Game Guru. The Code Library provides cheats you can't find elsewhere. These codes are not the type put in by the game programmers; they were generated by Studio 3DO using the Code Generation tools described below. Game Guru codes hack into the game files (usually the save game files, but in some cases the actual program files for the game) and change attributes in ways that the game programmers never intended. The codes provided by Studio 3DO are reliable -- they do what they say they will, and I never had problems with a game becoming damaged to the point that it was unplayable. However, because these codes do modify game files in ways not intended by the developers, users should be cautious using them. The list of codes is somewhat incomplete, encompassing many older games but not newer releases (for example, cheats for Descent are included, but nothing for Descent II). The Code Library also allows you to import cheat codes created by other Game Guru users -- there are additional codes available on 3DO's web page and on the Official Unofficial Game Guru web page. Codes downloaded from these sites should be treated with extra caution, as they are usually not verified and in some cases scrambled my save game files so that they were no longer usable.
The Code Generator is the most useful part of Game Guru and the only part that makes it worth looking at. It provides utilities to analyze save game files to determine where game information (such as the number of lives, weapons, shields power, etc.) is stored. The search functions are very well done and make it relatively simple for a novice to use. Once you have analyzed your save games, Game Guru helps you build new cheat codes to change game settings, such as adding more lives. It can take some experimenting to find the right settings for the cheat you want, but once you have a working cheat code you can add it to your Code Library and share it with other Game Guru users.
One of the biggest complaints I have about Game Guru is its installation. The program ships on a protected floppy disk -- you cannot make a backup copy of the diskette before installing. You are also limited to a maximum of three installations from the diskette. If you need to install the software a fourth time (for whatever reason) or if the original disk is damaged, you must obtain a replacement disk from 3DO. This style of software protection was common 10 to 15 years ago, but is unacceptable today. You don't even have the option to uninstall the software and restore an install "count" to the floppy. 3DO would have better served its intent to limit copying by shipping Game Guru on CD-ROM and requiring the CD to run the program.
DOS 5.0 (or later) or Windows 95, 486/33 MHz or higher, 1 MB SVGA video card (640x480 or higher), 6 MB RAM minimum (8 MB recommended), 1.44 MB floppy drive
A small manual is included, covering the basics of using Game Guru as well as a section on creating codes using the advanced features. It also provides suggestions on searching for new codes and step-by-step instructions for preparing your codes to share with other users.
Game Guru PC has a much easier-to-learn interface than other game cheat utilities and its Code Generator is better than other utilities available. However, its incomplete cheat code database and restrictions on installation make it less useful than it could be. It is also hard to justify the purchase when most other cheat utilities are available for free. I give Game Guru 55 out of 100.