Myth II was due for release in December 1998. As CGW's policy was to review the same completed game that would be on store shelves, this meant that in theory I'd be receiving my copy around the same time as the stores. My instructions were simple - play the game from start to finish, and write a review. My plan was to play the game over my Christmas holiday after I had finished my exams, and write the review in January.
Then the strangeness began - not even my published opinion of the game would be immune from it.
The first copy of Myth II arrived right on time, shipped off to me on December 11, 1998. I received a full box, along with a promotional pack containing a press kit, a little comic book, a CD with screen shots and graphics, and a cover letter mentioning there was also supposed to be a pewter figurine that in my case seemed to have been accidentally left out. I felt like a kid in a candy store (although slightly sore that I hadn't gotten the figurine) - until about midway through installing the game, when the installer crapped out. The CD was faulty.
I called my editor to ask him to get Bungie to send a replacement CD, something any reviewer would have done. I'm fairly sure my next step - figuring out where each file had to go and manually moving them there from the CD - was unique to me. After about six hours of work (and not a small amount of muttering under my breath and flat-out cursing), the game was installed and playable, so I started playing, thrilled that I was being paid hundreds of dollars to play a computer game. At last. After. Six. ****ing. Hours.
It would be great if I could say that as I was playing I was thinking of how wonderful it was to be playing a game for money, or writing the review in my head, but it wasn't like that. It was fun, make no mistake, but by the end of the first hour it felt like a job, and I remember not forming any real opinion on the game until about halfway through it. I don't recall writing any of the review in my head until after I'd finished playing. I played, made mental notes for later, and counted myself lucky that there wasn't any more strangeness to come. Murphy's Law was apparently paying attention - more strangeness promptly showed up.