Release Date: January 2010
If there were an award for best pc box art ever, then Iceberg Interactive’s Adventures in Terror: British Horror Collection would hands-down be crowned the champion.
An obvious homage to the classic E.C. horror comics of the 1950s and Hammer Films of the early ‘60s, the box invokes memories of a childhood spent reading and watching everything horror I could get my hands on.
As for the publisher, Iceberg Interactive – headquartered in The Netherlands – has picked up the adventure banner in a big way with their new Adventure Classics collections. Iceberg Interactive was formed in 2009 and management is comprised in part by numerous veterans from the now defunct publisher, Lighthouse Interactive, who were responsible for the wonderful Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder, Overclocked and Belief & Betrayal among others. As Iceberg Interactive does not have a North American office, these new compilations are currently only available in parts of Europe or online from either Iceberg Interactive or the JA Online Store.
Adventures in Terror: British Horror Collection is a collection of Jonathan Boakes’ Darkfall: The Journal (Classic Edition) and Darkfall: Lights Out (Director’s Cut Edition) and Matt Clarke’s Barrow Hill. The three games can be installed from one DVD and Lighthouse has also included a soundtrack audio cd of spooky music from the games.
All three games have been remastered for modern Windows versions with new graphics and effects, new puzzles and additional music and sound. So even if you have played any of the games previously, they’ll still feel fresh. Also, included are introductions by the games creators, hints and tips, Easter Eggs, maps and historic background information on the game’s stories. If only more North American publishers took such pride and care of their adventure franchises!
On a personal note, there was a time when I wrote the official published strategy guides for Dreamcatcher/The Adventure Company (well, until they quit paying) and Jonathan Boakes’ Darkfall series ranks among the most well-constructed games I’ve ever played. Even after playing through each game at least five times apiece for purposes of the strategy guides, there was always something new to discover.
Darkfall The Journal was originally reviewed by JA in the year 2003 by Ray Ivey:
From the very beginning Dark Fall creates a chilly, spooky atmosphere. It takes place in a closed hotel that served a now-defunct rail station. The whole idea of a "ghost" station is a delicious one, and it provides a perfect setting for what follows.
The game is full of scary moments, though many of them are reserved for the careful observer. There's a beautiful moment when a ghost train whizzes by, its lights illuminating the shades of the window you're looking at. Then there's the shadow that's briefly revealed by a flickering light in a bathroom . . . a very elegant and truly scary effect. And there's an optional interactive Ouija board sequence that is simply hair-raising.
And let me be very clear. If I haven't adequately made the point yet, this is one scary-ass game. Turn the lights out. Turn the volume up. And prepare to enjoy getting the willies scared out of you!
Darkfall: Lights Out was reviewed in 2004, again by Ray Ivey who had this to say:
The story… is a dandy one, and both the narrative and the puzzle design serve to create a series of increasingly intense interconnections between the game’s various environments.
The first part of the game is fairly linear, but about halfway through your journey you obtain a tool that really opens up the game world. You’re now free to travel between the game’s different areas and attempt to finish solving the many puzzles that confront you.
The sound design of the game is particularly good, from the very opening credits sequence with the evocative sounds of the surf, to the quiet but well-placed ambient noises all through the game. The sounds of Lights Out serve to very effectively raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
Considering what a good story Boakes has to tell, it’s disappointing that the ending isn’t more satisfying. However, this feels like a limitation of budget, not imagination, so it’s forgivable.
The big news is that Jonathan Boakes has done it again. Lights Out is a creepy, engaging, tastefully built adventure that no aficionado of the genre should miss. Who knows what this talented guy could come up with next if someone would throw a slightly more deluxe budget his way?
Barrow Hill was reviewed in 2006 by our resident crazy Bob Washburne:
The graphics are lovely. Most designers can render exquisite furniture, but plants come off as artificial. Shadow Tor had just the opposite effect. You can see from the screen shots just how beautiful the foliage is. The plants and trees are perfect. Moss and lichen grow on weather stained brick walls. It is the coffee cups and ketchup bottles which need work.
What is truly amazing is when you look at their web site and see photographs of the original buildings side by side with the rendered game copy. It is just unbelievable.
The sound effects are spot-on from the chirping of an authentic Cornish cricket to the rustling in the bushes which doesn’t quite line up with your movement. Are you being stalked?
Whether you’re a collector (like myself) or just a casual adventurer who may not have played one or two of these games, this is another great opportunity from Iceberg Interactive to expand your collection at an affordable price.