Just finished this little gem, and had to tell you about it - like a good book I couldn’t put it down.
And it is like a book, more a point-and-click interactive story (4 stories actually) than a true adventure game. No puzzle solving, no inventory (though you do pick up objects from time to time). Rather, you interact with the characters, and find the hotspots to trigger the next part of the story.
Its based on 3 short stories of Edgar Allan Poe, and does a truly excellent job of establishing the black and sinister mood that is Poe. From the opening credit with its ponderous creepy music, you will be aware you are in for something different.
You start in your Uncle’s house, seemingly innocent enough. However some minimal exploration will reveal you are in for a somewhat surreal visit. Sure enough, you will soon enter your first “nightmare”.
The Poe stories are told through these nightmares. Anyone who has read Poe will know that nightmares are an excellent way to deliver his stories. They deal with madness, murder, revenge, tragedy - all the best bits of the human condition. Each nightmare has two parts, one in which you play the villain, the other the victim. Interestingly, you can jump between the two characters at certain times in the story. You don’t have to, but it provides further variation to the way the story unfolds.
You will jump into and out of these nightmares as the 4th “real life” story, the one involving you, your uncle, and certain other persons in the house, is played out. Needless to say, this story as well is twisted and bleak, in keeping with the Poe tales.
You also get two readings of Poe’s writings, narrated by William S Burroughs. One was a bit too long, but the images that accompanied it were engrossing.
The characters deserve special mention. They look like plasticine figures, complete with a lumpy look to the features. This panorama of misshapen visages is wonderful at evoking the emotional affliction that lurks within. Play it if for no other reason than to look at it.
You can do the nightmares in any order, and can leave them and come back to where you left them. The game autosaves where you leave of, and your progress is charted by a phrenology head which fills up as you go (everything about this game is interesting). Complete them all, and you will able to finish your “real life” story.
Its only short, and should be on everyone’s “must play” list.
ps - I forgot to mention that some of the less sane characters have some eerie visions of their own, and you can elicit images and other flashes of insight by "rubbing" certain items. Some very different elements.
[This message has been edited by flotsam (edited 05-29-2001).]
Quantity has a quality all of its own