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A Halloween Trifecta

A Halloween Trifecta

A Halloween Trifecta

Tired of the slasher genre, Bob Washburne brings us a few old-fashioned spooky games

Halloween is almost upon us. Once, it was portrayed as a time of kids, costumes and candy (and the occasional trick which had to be cleaned up the next day. No harm done.). But now it is presented as a time of psychological horror with chainsaws and hockey masks.

Personally, I have had enough of the slasher genre. It just brings back too many memories. So this year let us indulge in a few old-fashioned spooky games. There will be no Jack-o’-Lanterns or candy bags, but the spirit of Halloween will definitely be with us. Visit the linked web sites to see screen shots.

1) Shivers

“Mystery sounds through the haunted halls and rings from the rafters of a deserted museum. Was this a failed dream or was it the waking nightmare of an eccentric old man? Where is the museum’s creator, and the other ill-fated visitors who disappeared so long ago?“

In 1995 Sierra released one of my favorite games – Shivers. It is a classic point-and-click adventure that’s very atmospheric. I was immersed enough to feel like I really was in an abandoned museum.

It is now 2018 and G.O.G. has re-released Shivers in all its original glory, playable on Windows 7, 8 and 10.

The plot is simple – you must spend the night in the abandoned museum on a dare. No problem except for the ten evil spirits released from their sealed jars who have nothing else to do but suck you dry of your life force.

The game play is straight forward. Locate and identify the ten spirits by their sounds and environment. Locate the ten jars. Locate the ten seals. Match a jar with its seal and take it to that spirit and you catch it. Got to get them all!

But to make this a bit of a challenge you can only carry one item at a time. And the Professor thought it would be fun to lock most of his rooms with challenging puzzles to delight the visitors. And the museum is huge.

You will want to draw maps and take notes, but you will definitely want to play this classic game.

2) Forever Lost

“Awaking in a mind you don’t know to a world you can’t remember. Surrounded by things that can’t be real, haunted by experiences long forgotten.

“Questions racing through your mind. Is this a waking nightmare or a half-forgotten dream? Who are you? Where are you? How long have you been here and how do you escape?

“The answers are somewhere, but where? In the world you have found yourself trapped in or simply your own mind?

“You have to move on, you have to discover the truth. You have to escape!”

Glitch Games are masters of the puzzle-centric adventure game. There is some story and a bit of exploration, but mostly puzzles. And these aren’t trivial puzzles. You will have to pay close attention to your surroundings to find the clues.

But what could say Halloween more than waking up with amnesia in an abandoned asylum?

The story actually spans three games (plus a prequel, Cabin Escape). So it is quite large, but not too expensive. You can get all four games for about $20 for desktop and even cheaper for mobile. See the website for purchasing links.

3) The Miskatonic

“Explore the most prestigious occult school in North America, The Miskatonic University, in a hilarious dark comedy set after the Lovecraft canon, in which Innsmouth is demolished, Cthulhu is perpetually immobilised, England is overrun with cannibals, Antarctica is plundered, and the greatest threat to mankind is its own ambitions.

Charlotte LeStrange, a former member of the Chesuncook witch cult blessed with magically mind-altering eyes, has been recently hired by The Miskatonic to perform errands for the mutated faculty and patrol the Occult Science wing of the university. A bubbly and inquisitive sort, Charlotte is fascinated with the monsters and mutants of the stories and spells, and a job at The Miskatonic seems like a dream come true! Though behind the supernaturally disfigured staff, the unusually invasive science teachers, and the adorably horrifying cosmic abominations known as the Dunwichers, hides a vast, nightmarish conspiracy that only Charlotte herself is equipped to solve!”

This is basically a visual novel with no puzzles and very little game play. But the writing is wonderful and the humor dark.

The setting may be Lovecraft, but the humor is definitely Charles Adams. And that just might be what Halloween is missing these days – a good laugh.

Bob Washburne

Bob Washburne

I have been playing adventure games since 1979 when I played "Adventure" on the DEC PDP minicomputer at work. The first adventure game I ever purchased was "Zork 1" for CP/M. I can remember the introduction of the IBM PC. I remember the invention of the microcomputer (actually, it was discovered rather than invented). I remember the invention of the minicomputer. Yes, I am an old fart. I have written 80 reviews and articles for JustAdventure starting with my review of "Bioscopia" in February of 2004. I currently own more adventure games than I will ever be able to play, let alone review. And I want more!

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