Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Deck 13 Interactive

Publisher:    dtp entertainment & Viva Media

Released:  December 2012 (NA)

PC Requirements:  See review below

Walkthrough   Additional screenshots



by Jenny100


Haunted is a 3rd person cartoon-style, point-and-click, humorous adventure game from German developer Deck 13 Interactive. If you enjoyed Deck 13's previous games (Jack Keane and the Ankh games) there's a good chance you'll enjoy this one as well. Haunted uses the same 3D game engine as Ankh and Jack Keane, and gameplay is very similar, though Haunted has the addition of the “ghost inventory” and a built-in hint system.


Your character is a teenaged girl named Mary, described in the game as a “street urchin”. Believing herself to be responsible for her sister's death, Mary ran away from home because she was ashamed to face her parents. In the opening cut scene, Mary hears what sounds like her sister's voice, calling her for help. Mary searches for the source of her sister's voice in what appears to be a deserted university complex. She hears dogs giving chase and begins to run. Looking behind her instead of where she's going, Mary trips and knocks herself unconscious. She revives on a dissection table at the moment the evil “professor” starts cutting into her. After this long introductory cut scene, you are given control of the game. Naturally your first order of business is to escape the evil “professor” and her ax-wielding henchman.

During Mary's escape, she accidentally releases her first ghost from a diabolical machine – a small ghost dressed as a pirate who from that point on serves as a hint feature. Mary learns that she's one of the few people who can actually see ghosts. Unfortunately, one of the other people is the evil “professor” who seeks to do away with Mary and use her sister Emily in her nefarious experiment – an experiment which requires Emily's spirit to be residing in her body – which it isn't at the moment.

None of this is terribly scary due to the goofiness of most of the characters. The ghosts are friendly and for the most part do what Mary asks, provided they are able. The ax-wielding henchman Ethan is a cowardly whiner. Even the evil Professor Ashford isn't really scary – she can only hobble around with a cane and bark orders at Ethan, who is selflessly devoted to her for reasons I don't fully understand.

Ghost Powers

As you progress through the game, Mary meets and “collects” more ghost friends/allies. Each of them has a “power” that can be used to help solve puzzles. Besides serving as a Hint feature, the pirate ghost can move hot or electrically charged objects that would fry Mary if she attempted to touch them herself. Another ghost has enormous physical strength, but can only touch objects that have been “touched by death”. A different ghost has water-based powers. Other “powers” include the ability to translate mysterious writing or speech and the ability to float. To use their abilities, you click on the appropriate ghost in your “ghost inventory” at the lower left of your screen, and then either on something in the environment or on an object in your regular inventory. There is one exception to this:  when you click on the werewolf ghost, you “control” the werewolf – for all practical purposes, you temporarily turn into the werewolf. The werewolf ghost can do pretty much anything a dog can do – dig stuff up, run around, eat stuff up... (No, not that other thing dogs do.) Unlikely as it seems, using the werewolf ghost is sometimes the only way you can solve a puzzle. When you decide you're finished being a werewolf, you can turn back into Mary again by clicking the Mary icon at the lower right of the screen.

Difficulty Levels and Hint Types

There are three difficulty levels that can be changed at any point in the game. There is no difference between the three levels other than the availability of hints and hotspot help. “Normal” mode allows both hotspot help and puzzle hints. “Hard” mode only allows hotspot help. “Very Hard” allows neither hotspot help nor puzzle hints. (Considering how difficult it was to spot small dark items in this mostly-dimly-lit game, I wouldn't recommend using the “Very Hard” mode.)

In “Normal” or “Hard” mode, you activate hotspot help by hovering your cursor over the eye icon in the lower left of the screen. “Hotspot” help takes the form of a small bronze/brown magnifying glass over the hotspots. There is a description of the hotspot item when you hover the cursor over the item itself. When playing in “Normal” mode, you get puzzle hints by clicking the light bulb icon in the lower left of the screen. This causes a conversation interface to pop up and you are able to ask questions of the pirate ghost – though not always the questions you'd like. For example, more than once I exhausted all the pirate ghost's hints only to find he was suggesting things I'd already done. The worst place for this was when I had to find a way to climb up a building – and all the pirate ghost could do was tell me to “use your surroundings”. At that point I resorted to that much beloved/reviled and time-tested solution – consulting a walkthrough – from which I learned there was a screen exit I'd missed. Yes, I'd already checked the hotspot hint, but apparently the hotspots for the screen exit and something I'd already looked at were very close together.

Graphics and Sound Settings

One of the advantages of 3D games over 2.5D games is that they usually offer a lot more in the way of settings options. The Settings Menu for Haunted is accessible from the Main Menu and has adjustments for resolution, anti-aliasing, general details, full screen effects, texture details, and brightness. Sound settings are simpler, with adjustments for master volume, music, volume, sound volume, and speech volume. There are also settings to turn subtitles on or off.  You can also enable or disable hotspot display (eye icon) and quest hint (light bulb) functionality from the Settings Menu.

Left-click and Escape

Nearly everything in the game is accomplished by left-clicking. Mary will walk toward the place where you click – or run if you double-click. The inventory displays all objects starting at the top left of the screen. I never accumulated enough items to reach all the way across the screen, so there was no scrolling inconvenience to contend with. The eye (hotspot locator), light bulb (pirate ghost hints), and gears (exit to save/load screen) are at the bottom left of the screen. You can also use the Escape key on your keyboard to access the save/load screen. The ghost inventory runs from the bottom left of the screen toward the right, with the exception of the werewolf ghost, who gets his own spot at the lower right side of the screen. Early in the game, before Mary finds the pirate ghost, there is no light bulb for his hints. There is a brief tutorial integrated into the beginning of the game that tells you how to click on things to interact with them.

From time to time your investigation is interrupted by a cut scene which is triggered by discovery or use of an inventory item or a change in location. You are supposed to be able to skip speech, but it didn't always work (unless the problem was due to my mouse button being temperamental).

Puzzles and Locations

The puzzles are mostly inventory (and ghost inventory) puzzles. There are no door puzzles, sliders, mechanical puzzles, or any of those types of puzzles that are now referred to in casual game parlance as “mini games”. You explore, talk to other characters, and look for and use inventory. Occasionally you must find your way into or out of places, or to get past a character who is preventing your progress. Among the places you explore are the “professor's” unusual office/lab at the university, a clocktower, a Romanian gypsy camp, a dock, a train, an old theatre, an underwater temple, and a Scottish church. The puzzles make use of the differing characteristics of these environments and some are quite creative. They aren't always “logical” in terms of real life logic, but instead fit the comical theme of the game.

Bonus Game

Like many “Collector's Editions” of casual games, Haunted has a “Bonus game” you can play after finishing the main game. There is a sort of “treasure hunt” part that can be played either earlier in the game or after the credits. But after finishing the treasure hunt you can proceed with the bonus game. Besides offering a few sight gags, the bonus game sets the stage for a continuation of the story in a possible Haunted 2.

Story, Characters, Voice Acting, Humor, and Music

The story was OK, though it tended to hop around sometimes. For example, the cut scenes that played between locations and were supposed to expand on the story sometimes left me confused and wondering if something had been left out. And then there were those times when out of the blue a character would lose heart and want to give up the quest to find Emily. For example, at one point Mary, after overcoming several obstacles and finding a solid lead toward locating her sister, suddenly and inexplicably decides it's all too much and doesn't want to continue. It seemed like a very forced way to create a situation where the ghosts have to get her going again. The same thing happens when one of the ghosts decides he's useless after having done some very useful things for the group that none of the others could have accomplished.

Voice acting was professional, even by most of the minor characters. Of course, the most important feature of a humorous game is the humor. I'm sorry to say it, but this was not the funniest game I ever played. I remember laughing once, but I did more groaning and eye-rolling than smiling. Humor is a tricky thing though, and I can't say that other gamers wouldn't find it funnier than I did. The voice actors did what they could with their lines, but I think the script could have used a little work.

Once you find more than one ghost, they start having conversations in the background while you play. The conversation loops, just in case you weren't paying attention the first time. In some areas this gets annoying, though they do seem to go quiet when you need to hear something as a clue in the game. I still would have appreciated a “shut up you great bags of wind so I can think” button.

The music seemed very good at first, but the quality varied later in the game – especially during the bonus game where it sounded particularly canned. Background sound was better in some places than in others, but generally good (when it wasn't drowned out by the great bags of wind).

Miscellaneous Observations

You can't die in the game.

Haunted makes several references to adventure games from the past – mostly LucasArts adventures but also Simon the Sorcerer and Syberia (no, not just the name – you'll know what I mean when you get there) and possibly some other adventure games where I didn't recognize the reference. I hope in their future games that Deck 13 doesn't reuse the same Indiana Jones sight gag that I've seen about six times before (in casual games, no less!)

Even with hotspot display enabled, hotspots could be hard to find. It can be difficult to spot a dark bronze hotspot icon over a dark background with similar bronzy coloration – still harder to see the item I was clicking on. 

Although the game is a 3rd person point-and-click, the background doesn't stay still. Instead it pans around as you move your character. It doesn't move fast enough to induce motion sickness (at least not in my case), but it still causes a certain problem. Often I'd try to click on an object and would miss it by just enough that the game interpreted my click as if I meant to move Mary. So Mary would start walking around and the screen would pan around with her and I'd be trying to play tag with the hotspot that was now a moving target and harder to click on than ever. Arrrrh...

I noticed a couple of grammatical errors. The word “wagon” was spelled with two G's in one of the descriptions – they spelled it “waggon”, which might have been OK if it had had a moving tail, but it didn't. A male chicken was described as a “nymphomaniac cock” – doesn't a nymphomaniac have to be female?

The only technical problems I had were graphical artifacts and irregularities produced by the 3D game engine. For example, as Mary was walking across the screen, she would often abruptly teleport a few feet to the left or right, sometimes even changing direction at the same time. During one conversation she suddenly teleported up in the air so she appeared to be standing on the shoulders of a man several feet behind her. Of course these types of problems don't prevent you from completing the game – they just look bad.

I played the Adventure Shop version of the game on an older computer (about 5 years old) with the following specs:

Windows XP SP3

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ dual core @ 2.5GHz

2GB system RAM

Nvidia 8800 GTS with 320MB of video memory

Realtek HD audio

These are the system requirements from the Viva Media website:

Operating System: Windows 8/7/Vista/XP

Processor: 1.4 GHz or better

Memory: 2 GB RAM

Hard Drive Space: 6 GB free hard drive space

Video Card: 128 MB graphics card, DirectX 9

The system requirements from The Adventure Shop are a little different, especially for processor and system memory.

Operating System: Windows 7/Vista/XP

Processor: 2.4 GHz or better

Memory: 512 MB RAM

Hard Drive Space: 5 GB free hard drive space

Video Card: 128 MB graphics card, Shader 2, Nvidia Geforce 6800/ATI Radeon X1600, DirectX 9.0c


Shortcomings in the story, characterizations, and humor prevent Haunted from being an A-list game. But there is a lot of creativity in the design of the puzzles and environment and for fans of comedy adventure games, Haunted is certainly worth a look.

Grade: B

The game can be purchased from The Adventure Shop or Viva Media.


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