Phantasmagoria

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This was considered to be Sierra’s big project with a massive budget. Roberta Williams has put a lot of effort into this title which – I believe – is her favourite project amongst them all; It is an FMV adventure game. FMV adventure games tend to hold a soft spot for me overall as I find a lot of charm in playing realistic 2d characters in a pre-rendered game environment.

This title has you playing as a female protagonist (Actor: Victoria Morsell) who lives in a recently purchased mansion with her husband. The story is not well thought out as one may expect from a Roberta Williams game as it can come off as corny at times, but from my perspective, that is all a part of the charm. Essentially, this is a mansion that is known to be haunted – according residents surrounding the area. It is up to you to search the mansion and uncover its hidden secrets. phan2

The game revolves around the standard adventure game affair where you collect items and utilize them where you feel necessary. Although, quite surprisingly, there is no real puzzle solving in this game (at least none I encountered). The game is pretty much about soaking in the atmosphere and watching the story unfold amongst the 7 chapters. There are certain events in this game that can transpire which will cause death, but fear not, as you are provided with an option to retry the specific event.

A lot of hype went into this title when it was first released which may explain the mixed reviews received. This is by no means near the quality of Jane Jensen’s Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within, however, let that not detract you from giving this game a try. Any fan of FMV adventures from the early 90s should at least consider trying out this game as it is full of the classic charm missing the modern day adventures. There was a sequel produced for this series, but was reviewed even worse than this title. Roberta Williams had no involvement for the sequel and since they are separate story-wise I never bothered to try.

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Later this year or the early Q1 2014 release of the long-awaited sequel to the Tex Murphy series (Project Fedora) will be a return for the FMV adventure game genre. Tex Murphy Overseer will be another game I will review at a later point in time just before the release of Project Fedora. Until then why not give this classic a try and appreciate the finer points as it was a labour of love for Roberta.

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