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Microsoft Pandora's Box - PC

by Microsoft
Windows 98 / 2000 / Me / 95 / NT
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

Price: $49.02
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Product Details

  • Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B00001LDC1
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.9 x 10.2 inches ; 9 ounces
  • Media: Video Game
  • Release Date: September 1, 1999
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,298 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes

Product Description

Seven mythical tricksters escape from Pandora's Box to wreak havoc on the world. Thus begins a journey that includes 10 designs and 350 puzzles. It's up to you to solve them, capture the tricksters, and save the world from chaos. Solve 3-D puzzles specially designed for the computer. The puzzles don't require a lot of time to learn, yet they are progressively challenging to master. An overall mission provides a purpose for completing the puzzles. Game-play options allow you to follow the game's story line or jump directly to your favorite puzzle.


Alexei Pajitnov's name will forever be linked to Tetris, arguably the best puzzle game of all time. Luckily, the accomplishment of designing what is probably the most addictive game ever overshadows his recent track record, which includes mediocre selections such as Microsoft Puzzle Collection and a string of mediocre games for MicroProse, including Knight Moves and Qwirks, a poor PC adaptation of the excellent Puyo Puyo.

Pajitnov's latest, Pandora's Box, is a welcome return to form. While not quite as mind-and-finger-numbingly addictive as the game he is famous for, it still makes for a fun diversion.

Pandora's Box isn't actually a single game, but rather a collection of ten different puzzle types. For the most part, each type is a variation on the jigsaw puzzle, and some are more fun than others. In each puzzle, you must arrange the pieces to complete a picture or an object. What the pieces are, and what you need to do to arrange them properly, differs from puzzle to puzzle.

The puzzle types themselves range from renovated versions of old favorites, such as Rotoscope, a circular slider puzzle, to innovative variations like Outer Layer, which requires you to place the textures on a 3D object such as a vase or a sculpture. Other puzzles types are a bit more typical. Overlap is a straightforward jigsaw puzzle; the only difference is that the pieces can, as the name suggests, overlap. Slices is simply a vertical jigsaw puzzle that requires you to stack pieces of a 3D object. And Focus Point, the best of the lot, requires you to assemble out-of-focus pieces of an image.

There are also two puzzle types that stray from the jigsaw formula. Image Hole, probably the least interesting puzzle in the game, involves a covered picture. Shapes move around the board, revealing the image as they pass over. Your goal is to line up the shape with its corresponding portion of the picture underneath. It sounds interesting, but the shapes are too vague to make it anything more than frustrating most of the time. The other non-jigsaw puzzle is Find and Fill. In this puzzle, you are presented with a picture with sections missing and a separate jumble of shapes. You must use a simple paint program to find and fill the shapes that are missing from the picture. It's fun, but the picture that's provided for reference is so tiny the puzzle often ends up being nothing more than a guessing game.

What makes Pandora's Box more interesting than just a puzzle anthology is its attempt to give meaning to the proceedings. The story follows the basics of the Greek myth from which the game takes its name. Pandora has unleashed chaos - in the form of seven trickster gods - into the world, and you must recapture them. To do this, you must solve puzzles. What's intriguing is that the jigsaw nature of the puzzles fits the theme somewhat - you must restore order to chaos by piecing together fragments of puzzles into a whole - and your overall sense of purpose, even if it's the most basic "find the stuff" premise, is rare for the genre.

You must capture the seven tricksters: mythological and religious figures such as Eris, Puck, and Coyote. You pursue each of them to several cities, each of which has ten puzzles. Under one of the puzzles is a piece of the box. There are four pieces associated with each of these mischievous spirits, and once you have obtained all four pieces from one, you then go after the trickster himself. Once you've captured him, you move on to the next trickster, the next set of cities, and the next set of puzzles. There's a lot to do and a lot of puzzles to solve. The escalating difficulty and the slow introduction of new puzzle types help to keep things interesting.

Pandora's Box isn't the Half-Life of puzzle games, but it is revolutionary in a sense. It's not only a great way to divert yourself for short periods of time, but the overall sense of accomplishment you'll feel when you complete a series of its puzzles makes it something you'll go back to time and time again. And while the individual pieces may be a bit weak on their own, the overall experience is satisfying and worthwhile.--Ron Dulin
--Copyright ©1998 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. -- GameSpot

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pandora's Pentagon February 22, 2000
Pandora's Box is a engrossing, entertaining puzzle game. It kept me occupied for hours, and made time flow at twice the regular rate (or so it seemed). The puzzle types were unique, original, and for the most part fun. Here are some pros and cons:
* Puzzles are presented in a game format. There is always a larger reason to finish a puzzle - to progress through the levels.
* Levels become more challenging. It took me almost three hours to finish the final level.
* Hints and Free Puzzles are plentiful. If you don't like a puzzle type, you don't have to do it. If your stuck, you can use a hint.
* The 3D aspect of the puzzles was really neat-o.
* When you are done, there are still puzzles left to do. The game includes 350 puzzles, and I still had 125 left when I was done. The fun continues.
* Perhaps this was just my video card, but some of the puzzles seemed dark - so dark that I couldn't see where I was placing puzzle pieces.
* Some of the puzzles rotate, and require fine mouse movements to complete. If you have a physical impairment, you may have trouble.
* I thought a few (2) of the ten puzzle types were rather lame. All luck and little thought. But that may be just me.
All in all, this is a great game for all puzzle fans. I definitely recommend it - if you have time you want to lose.
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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challanging, non-violent, and addicting! November 27, 1999
Yesterday, I visited some friends who were in the midst of a four-day gaming party. A laptop was open and it had Pandora's Box on it (one of the gamers, Lee, was an artist on the 3-D puzzles). Not being a part of the on-going D&D game, I spent the next three hours (or was it four) unravelling the first level. It was midnight before I could be torn away from it! I haven't liked a computer game since Tetris. I hate the blow-it-up stuff, and Myst just takes too long. Pandora's Box has the beauty of Myst, the immediate gratification of Tetris, and an appreciate lack of bombs and body parts. Now I have to get a PC emulater for my Mac. Drat!
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105 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, great challanges! November 28, 1999
By A Customer
I've read reviews saying Pandora's Box wasn't aimed at young children, but my 7 YO twins can't get enough of the challanging puzzles in this game. For visual learners, this is a real delight. I wonder sometimes WHOSE young kids reviews are aimed at, because this is definately the best software purchase I've made in years. Most kids software is fun for a few hours, and then is tossed aside. My kids have been playing Pandora's Box for more than a month now, and are nowhere near the end, nor are they bored. They fight over who gets to solve the next puzzle! This is a real winner in our house!
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93 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A puzzle-lover's dream November 17, 1999
The ultimate puzzle program. If you can work a jigsaw puzzle for hours, you'll be captivated by this game. To try out a couple sample puzzles, download the demo from Cnet (it's about 16 Megs): this is great for a high school or adult puzzle lover. Younger kids would lose interest fast.
Fascinating puzzles at a great price!
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Puzzler January 15, 2000
This is a must buy for anyone who enjoys jigsaw puzzles, slide puzzles, 3d puzzles, etc. without the mess or worry of lost pieces. The picture and art are beautifully rendered and the puzzle challenge progresses at a satisfying pace. The best game is the focus game which could only happen on a pc. My only complaint (and it's a minor one) is that "image hole" is nothing more than annoying and that the game with the many magnifying glasses (can't remember the name) can be beat in about 2 minutes even at the toughest level making it quite boring. Luckily thats only 2 of the 10 puzzle types. The rest are great. I finally completed the quest by solving only 180 of the puzzles but look forward to working the others and to reworking the old puzzles trying to improve my best times. Highly recommended
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You can't solve just one December 28, 1999
My sister gave me Pandora's Box for Christmas, and I find solving the puzzles just like a bag of potato chips-- you can't solve just one and stop. The puzzles are nicely varied (although they are all spatial-relationship puzzles), so you don't feel stuck doing the same things over and over. I'm not so good at puzzles, so I may never get past Level 3, but even that will have provided hours of entertainment. My only gripe? The HINTS are not well done. When you need a hint, you want some strategic advice, not to slide piece A to the left.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Slow Gamers with limited hand movement! January 7, 2000
This game is excellant for gamers like myself who have limited hand movement for whatever reason. For those who's brains work fine but hands don't, then fast games are not usable ......but this game is very challenging without requiring hand speed. It is very addicting and holds your interest well from level to level with difficulty increasing as you step up in levels. It is very satisfying mentally and is great excercise for the brain. You can walk away and come back without having to relearn anything due to the great save features that keep you right on track. Recommend it as a "must have" for your collection!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive December 28, 1999
By Gleyn
Verified Purchase
I bought this game because of other positive reviews and I am so glad I did. It's an excellent game if you like to be challenged. Time flies and it's refreshing not to be shooting at someone. I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes to put their brain to the test.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great game.
Arrived on time and in tact as described. Great game.
Published 3 months ago by R. Baughman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Too bad it's not compatible with windows 7.
Published 5 months ago by kim
5.0 out of 5 stars No error just OLD programming.
I love this game! However, the game is so OLD that it is not compatible with any updated PC of the 2000's.
Published 6 months ago by Yarny
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
game wouldnot loadin computer
Published 7 months ago by Faith Kirby
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love this PC game. All my friends love it. Time flies when I play this game.
Published 8 months ago by De'Anna
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
This was not compatible with my pc. So sorry I bought it.
Published 8 months ago by Lucretia Rugala
5.0 out of 5 stars SWEET!
I have been looking for this game ever since I was a kid and it works fabulously! if you have the right programs it works like a charm! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars Childhood Game
I have been looking for this for years and am so happy to finally own it again. My siblings and I constantly played it when we were younger. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sara Anson
1.0 out of 5 stars I got this game cause it was my favorite game years ago...but I'm...
I got this game for me cause it was my flavorest game a few years ago.. But I am very upset it won't work on my computer
Published 13 months ago by Geralyn M. Beard
1.0 out of 5 stars Incompatibility problems!
Would like to have been informed that this game does not play on my computer. As I lived in a remote area, I have to wait until I can get to town to see if someone can help me. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Helen Grundy
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