Let’s get the $64,000
question out of the way first. Is Shivers 2 as good as it’s predecessor ?
In my opinion, absolutely yes and then some. I actually played this game
before Shivers 1, which might lend itself to a certain bias on my part,
though in evaluating both games fairly I sincerely think that 2 is better
and for a number of reasons I shall expand on further into the review.
Minimum and recommended system requirements.
1) 486 DX66 (Pentium 133 or better)
2) Windows 3.1 – 9x
3) 12 Mb RAM (16 recommended)
4) Double speed CD ROM (quad recommended)
5) SVGA, 640 x 280 at 256 colours
6) WIN compatible sound card (DAC required)
You are in the town of cyclone, Arizona in the middle of an arid,
unyielding and desolate dessert. You are looking for your friends, a young
struggling band who were on tour, but who have now mysteriously
disappeared. A landslide across the only route in and out of the one-horse
town means you are not going anywhere in a hurry. So what is your mission
brief ? basically to find your friends and get the hell out of town. Arrhh,
but if it was only that simple!
Your main problem is that throughout the game you are being stalked. By
what though ? is it an evil, ancient Indian spirit, or a modern day
psychotic. The whole town is one big mystery, a puzzle for you to solve.
To save your friends your main objective is to locate a number of bahos,
re-imbue them with their ancient mystical powers and place them in the
Kiva, what could be more simple ? What the hell is he talking about I hear
Let us start at the beginning…
You arrive in town and check in to the local motel. You are greeted by the
surly, friendless, monosyllabic and shot gun toting owner of the hotel and
given a room. From then on you have no contact with any one else until the
very end of the game. Cyclone is deserted, a ghost town. Literally!
You soon discover that your friends have been taken captive by someone
(something?) and in order to save them you have to find a number of
ancient native American prayer sticks (or bahos), restore their magical
spirit and then place them in the altar in the Kiva, which is an ancient
Indian ‘holy’ site. The bahos are scattered liberally throughout Cyclone
and it’s immediate environs (namely the caves, canyon etc.), all you have
to do is find them. Unfortunately your tormentor is rarely far from your
side, he seems to be shadowing your every move, manipulating your
environment, and generally giving you a rough time.
You are free to roam around the town, puzzling away, though not every
location is open to you immediately, many locations become available to
you only as you progress and/or solve certain puzzles or find particular
clues as to what is going on, or perhaps an inventory item you need to
The story is terrific, it plants you in the heart of small town America,
Cyclone, a town with a secret to hide and riven with parochial prejudices,
mistrust of strangers, petty rivalries, jealousies and power plays, the
story then throws in ancient native American mythology and folklore, adds
a dash of horror and mysticism and finally overlays upon this an
There are a number of threads, side issues and sub-plots to the story and
these all come together seamlessly as the mystery unfolds. Who is your
nemesis ? is it one of the townsfolk playing God, have your friends
stumbled on to a secret the town would rather keep buried, is it someone
with a grudge, looking for revenge, is it a homicidal maniac or have
recent archaeological excavations on ancient Indian sacred grounds
unearthed a sinister curse or a malevolent spirit? Is it local native
Americans taking revenge for the desecration of their holy ground ?
These are the questions you will need to resolve if you are to find your
friends and escape from Cyclone unscathed.
This is as much as I shall say on the story, as it is one of the strengths
of the game and the basis for the adventure.
The graphics are wonderful and create an eerie, moody, haunting and
atmospheric environment for your adventure. Movement is via ‘Point and
Click’ between locations and panning has now been added to the game from
the forerunner, Shivers 1, you also have the option to adjust the size of
your panorama and your panning speed. The sound too enhances the moody,
chilling atmosphere, from the haunting songs and background music to the
spine tingling special effects. There is a soundtrack with the game
(obviously, as a musical band is at the core of the story) and depending
on your taste you might enjoy the tunes, very hippy-cum-Grateful Dead
though. More importantly the songs form an integral part of the mystery
and…… (pseudo-spoiler coming up if you wish to skip to the next
paragraph)…………actually give the player vital clues to assist in many of
And what of the puzzles ? Well, all I can say is that in Shivers 2 your
puzzle cup fairly runneth over! There are all manner of puzzles taking all
conceivable forms and styles. There is inventory management, logical,
spatial, mechanical, pure detecting, sliders…the list goes on. If you like
your puzzles, you will certainly not be disappointed. Many of the puzzles
are laid for you by your nemesis in order for you to gain the bahos, but
there are other puzzles in order for you to gain access to some locations,
discover some information about the town or a clue as to what is going on,
so they will keep you going for quite a while.
There are a number of features of the game which also enhance the gameplay.
You have an on/off ‘hot’ cursor, ie. if you don’t want any hints and want
to find everything yourself then turn it off, or if you want to be alerted
to a ‘hotspot’ turn it on.
There is also, oh joy of joys, a map with a ‘move to quickly’ facility i.e.
if you are in one part of town and need to get all the way across to the
other side quickly (and you will, for reasons I shall explain in just a
moment) all you have to do is go the map and click on your desired
destination and, if you have been there already, you will be zipped there
in a heartbeat. This is one facility I think all adventure games should
have, I spend so much time in so many games wandering frustratingly
between locations, cursing that there isn’t a quicker way of doing it.
On many an occasion you will find it necessary to move quickly between
locations. The principal reason for this is that you have a health meter
which will drain when you are carrying the bahos, so you need to offload
them as soon as possible once you have found them. And yes this does mean
that you can die in the game, so frequent saving is the order of the day
(the bahos are not the only thing that can diminish you health meter
either, so be warned!)
There is also a facility to connect to the internet and chat to other
Shivers fans and play the game in a group, although I strongly suspect
this facility is probably now defunct given the age of the game. I never
tried it so cannot give you a definitive answer on this.
Another novel feature of the game is that you can take some of the puzzles
as a base design and construct your own puzzles for others to try and
solve, this feature went hand in hand with the internet connection and
I think Shivers 2 surpasses its forerunner in a number of respects and
these are namely :–
1) Through the far more involved, well thought-out, intriguing and thought
2) The enhanced game features, as described above.
3) The improved graphics and the way in which the sound ties into the
whole atmosphere of the game.
4) The quality and diversity of the puzzles is greater and the fact that
they are so integral to the story as opposed to just being a bunch of
puzzles to solve in order to finish.
In conclusion, and if you have not already guessed, this game is one of my
all time favorites. I would advise any adventurer that has not played
this game to seek it out without delay and throw it in the CD drive as
soon as you can, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
copyright © 2003