Inherent Evil 2005



Genre:   Adventure (Psychological Horror)

Developer & Publisher:    Big Time Games

Released:  October 2005

PC Requirements:   See review








…a review by Inferno


         Before we begin to take a look at the reworked offering Inherent Evil 2005, which was designed by the talented Bryan Wiegele, let us first examine the original adventure. Ok, so here we go: mouse driven point-and-click, slide show pre-rendered graphics, first person venue, inventory based puzzles, FMV (full motion video) cut scenes, verbal interaction with the various ghosts in the form of multiple choice questioning. There are a number of animated cut scenes as well, a beautiful maze, some whimsical references to a few other “horror” games of the day, original midi music and a haunting underscore.

Bryan’s development team (then known as Eclipse) began work on the original game in 1995 – the game was published in 1998 by Head Games/Activision. The adventure itself was subdivided into eight chapters. It is important to realize that while this sounds like the typical horror genre fare such as 7th Guest … there was one interesting twist. Inherent Evil was presented as a “contest” when the game was first revealed to the gaming community at large. While the chapters really only run about one hour in duration (provided no mistakes are made), the contest rules dictated that each chapter would be unlocked over an eight week period.  Because of the idea of the contest, the save feature only existed at the end of each completed chapter. Don’t finish the chapter correctly, and it’s “no soup for you.” The gamer was promptly kicked out of the game and would have to restart the chapter over -- adding the element of frustration to the contest. The prize? $10,000.00; a seemingly intriguing and novel idea to be sure.

 However, (there’s always a “however” in the real world as well as in our gaming community) as luck would have it, the powers that held the purse strings -- for whatever reasons, now lost to time immemorial -- pulled out at the 11th Hour (sorry, couldn’t resist, heehee). Sadly, the contest was disbanded literally on the eve of Inherent Evil’s release. So apparently Activision decided to go ahead with the release of the adventure as a game in its own right … I guess they assumed that the gaming public wouldn’t notice and would accept the media piece as is.  They weren’t far from wrong. Many gamers accepted the strange “kick out after every chapter feature” with nary an eye blink. I have to admit, when I first played the game in 2000 … I was one of them.  But back then; I was so new to adventure gaming that I really didn’t notice and just accepted Inherent Evil’s format willingly. It remains one of my most cherished gaming possessions. 

The Story:

The story is quite simple. The gamer plays a young man named Kyle Reed who resides in Bengenten, New York.  Kyle is a troubled young man with a gruesome family history, who owns an old Hotel that holds the key to his past. One dark and rainy night he receives a desperate phone call from his older brother Frank. (Well now, I’ll give you two guess where Frank is…) While we can’t hear exactly what the problem is that Frank is experiencing … Kyle tells him not to move and that he is on his way. We then view an animated traveling wide shot of what appears to be Kyle as he hurries through the meager rooms of his forlorn apartment, out into the night and speeds away in his red pickup truck. The scene fades to black as we notice a new location: Morrisville, New York… the new scene fades up and we are in the lobby of “The Reed Hotel” (Hmmmm, Morrisville, New York --- Morrisville Manor! Hey, don’t you just love 20-20 hindsight, folks? -- well done Bryan.) We hear Kyle call to his brother, but the only reply is a frantic scream emanating from somewhere upstairs…. and so the nightmare begins. 

The Art Work:

The Eclipse team responsible for the game design and the 2D and 3D graphics are Bryan Wiegele, Michael Minster, Tim Faulkner, Ryan Gilmore and Vynn Perchart.  For their time, I feel the graphics are quite well thought out with lovely attention to detail. Although the “Transformer Boss” we will have to defeat in the ballroom falls short of the “more than meets the eye,” advertising slogan  (if you catch my drift), yet even to that end I still found the graphics to be enjoyable.  

The Sounds:

Here is where I feel that Inherent Evil still really shines. Matt Fink’s midi music is so intrinsically creepy, that even by today’s standards it excels at bringing out that understated nuance of subliminal fear and apprehension. Even the blithely mundane elevator music has a malevolent edge to it.  I also have to say that most of the sound effects and Foley were spot-on, adding to the mystery … prominent when necessary, without being overbearing.

            The actors took on two different styles, Voice Acting and Full Motion Video. Now it has to be said here that the FMV will never win a nomination or award, unless we are going for the RDRA (Royal Danish Roquefort Award).   Still, I’ve always admired those media productions that pull off their “cheese” well, use what they’ve got, and have a laugh without taking themselves too seriously. After all folks -- it’s a game and not Measure for Measure.  I love this stuff, and miss it terribly. Which brings me to the second part of the dramatics equation, the Voice Acting:  Michael Minster who plays the part of Kyle Reed (the gamer’s pseudo-persona) is quite acceptable, well modulated and keeps a fine sense of humor throughout the piece. Bryan Wiegele should also be mentioned here as the “Evil Whosis.” Along with Vynn Pechart as the “tortured” Frank, and Ryan Gilmore as the face of the “Spooky Balloon Head,” all executed with tongue-in-cheek flair and very well done. (Sorry -- that’s all you’re getting out of me … want to know more? Play the game, Dearie.)


The 2005 limited release version hasn’t changed much from the original, with the exception that the game now runs flawlessly on Windows XP.  (The original wasn’t compatible with Windows NT upon which XP is based). The adventure is still divided into eight chapters and the “save points” only occur at the end of each chapter. But the good news is that you will no longer get kicked out of the game after each and every section and there are no “coded keys” needed any longer to unlock them.

You can die in this game from time to time -- and if you do, you will have to play the chapter from the beginning.  But then, dying is a part of life in a haunted Hotel; so remember, “c'est la vie après la mort qu'on desire.” There are some “nasties” that will chase you, throw things at you, try to crush you, cut you in half … or drown you … but they are few and far between so these should not deter you on your quest for too long if you are careful and avoid the obvious.

The best challenge -- and worth the entire game alone -- is the ingenious maze in Inherent Evil. Oh stop whining! And don’t think I don’t know who you are … the clues are imbedded as you go along, so dry those eyes. Most well done. It’s eerie and colorful as though it was created right from a child’s nightmare….  

The gameplay is moderately simple and perfect for the new gamer who loves the “horror“ genre. The game’s path isn’t overly linear and one can do a lot of exploring throughout the Hotel. However, the storyline itself is linear and you will find that though there are many items to collect, certain things must be done in a certain order so that the item or items will become accessible to you. A lot of this has to do with the Diary and other key elements, which hold specific clues to solving the mystery. Therefore, my advice would be to keep your eyes peeled and overlook nothing.


Whether you are a new gamer or an advanced gamer looking to relive some excellent “retro” gaming experiences for nostalgia’s sake, I recommend that you take the time to experience Inherent Evil, and hope you find it a wickedly pleasant diversion on a rainy afternoon to while away the hours into a dark and windy night…. 


Grade: B


Minimum System Requirements:

Pentium 166MHz, Windows 95/98/ME/XP running in 16 bit color
32 MB RAM, 8x CD-ROM drive,
SoundBlaster compatible sound card
DirectX compatible video card
Keyboard, 100% Microsoft compatible mouse
150 MB Hard Disk Space


Played on:

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition 2002 w/SP 1 

Pentium 4 CPU 2.00GHz 

512MB DDR Memory


Video: 64MBNVIDIA GeForce 2 MX/MX 400 AGP

Driver version: 6.14.0010.7801

Sound: Creative SB Live


design copyright © 2005 GameBoomers Group

 GB Reviews Index