sorceressParticipantOctober 3, 2019 at 7:37 pm #2915
I was gifted an original The 7th Guest in the 1990s, making it one of the first PC games I owned. I played it on and off for about a month, but never again until this october 2019.
I discarded the game box long ago, keeping only the jewel case with the two CDs, as I did with all of my boxed games.
After twenty years I felt that I couldn’t remember much about The 7th Guest, Only a few details were springing to mind – A chess puzzle; a first person maze with a map on a rug; a lobby with a sweeping staircase; tedious navigation around the house; and that the game was pretty boring.
Since I was under 10 years old, I have maintained an A4 folder with notes on various games I have played, including hand drawn maps, solutions, levels/codes, ideas, stats, and other miscellany. For some reason I had no pages for The 7th Guest, maybe because I didn’t enjoy the game enough. If nothing else, Dos Game Club gives me a chance to create these missing pages!
Playing this game again, a lot of details are instantly familiar to me on seeing them. Right from the beginning, I recognised the skeleton hand mouse pointer, with it’s finger tapping/waving animations.
The house was familiar to me also – I recognised it’s overall layout and *most* of the rooms and puzzles on rediscovering them. Suffice to say that the sketchy memories I listed above have all been refreshed, and I have resurrected many other memories of the game which I didn’t know I had. For example, a painting at the top of the stairs that deforms when clicked on, and a painting in the bedroom with the stabbing hand when clicked on.
But one thing I couldn’t remember were all the lengthy cutscenes with the ghosts, though I do remember the ghosts drifting along the upstairs corridor.
The unfolding story never interested me back then, and it still doesn’t :p The cutscenes feel unnecessarily long and tedious to sit through, and afaik are unskippable.
The controls are very intuitive. The mouse does everything, and the pointer animation changes to indicate what you can/can’t interact with, and what the nature of each interaction is.
Both navigation and puzzle solving are beautifully animated, but the animations are so slow that I find myself impeded by them. Their novelty quickly wears off, and and whatever enjoyment I get from the animations is quickly replaced with tedium.
Some of the puzzles are quite straight forward, like the Cake puzzle, the Spiders puzzle, the Queens puzzle, the Cards puzzle, the Heart puzzle, and the Telescope puzzle. These are are relatively quick to solve and are no more complicated than they need to be.
This can’t be said for all of the puzzles though. For example, the solution to the Cans puzzle in the kitchen was obscure to work through, and I don’t feel there was enough guidance for the player, though I did eventually solve it. A second example is the Knights puzzle. This was not hard to solve, just unnecessarily long winded.
The Bishops puzzle was the first hard puzzle I encountered. I don’t mind a few hard puzzles, but the slow animations with every move only worsens my experience of any puzzle, into an exercize in boredom.
I’ve spent about 5 hours on the game over yesterday and today, and in this time I have managed to complete 14 of the puzzles.
I can appreciate now why I didn’t play this game longer than a month. It is a nostalgic experience, but it was barely enjoyable in the 1990s same as it is today. If the animations were 4x as fast, that might have allieviated some of the boredom I have felt playing it.
Nevertheless, it is an impressive game for it’s time, and I feel it has earned a place in history.
voxelParticipantOctober 3, 2019 at 9:20 pm #2916
Your games folder sounds impressive, any chance of some pictures? I promise not to steal your game passcodes
firefyteParticipantPodcasterOctober 4, 2019 at 3:58 am #2917
The 25th special version lets you skip animations, which was useful on my play-through for this month.
I agree that there are a LOT of tedious long-winded puzzles, but then the same can be said for the 11th hour.
It’s partially content by delay, rather than pure content.
PixParticipantPodcasterOctober 12, 2019 at 9:54 am #2924
I would probably be less harsh although it’s hard for me to be subjective with a game I’m this familiar with from back in the 90’s. The 7th Guest is a game that made sense for a space of about 1-2 years in the first half of the 90’s. As soon as the technology loses the wow factor, it stops being a viable product. The nostalgia still carries it in my case but only because this was my introduction to games on CD-ROM.
I just finished my own playthrough last night. I agree entirely about the slow pace. This is another of those games made entertaining for me with the aid of a long backlog of podcasts to catch up on. The animations in some of the puzzles can be interminable. I still quite enjoy the puzzles themselves for what they are but it’s a very basic gameplay concept held up by the technology.
The acting/script is kind of entertaining but not exactly good and I’m not convinced anything in this game is even remotely scary. I do love the Fat Man’s soundtrack and the house design still holds up. Fun bit of trivia, there is a Doom wad on the original CD’s with the house mapped out. I think I read somewhere years back that it was created to prototype the design but don’t quote me on that.
I’ve not had enough 7th Guest yet so I’ll be starting on the novel today. Really curious to find out how you turn that script into an actual narrative.
Pseudo_CParticipantPodcasterOctober 13, 2019 at 9:29 pm #2927
I have always felt that the slow pace was in the game for immersion. It seems to me that if the puzzle animations were faster, it would break the flow and feeling of the rest of the game which is built on atmosphere and exploration.
And Pix, I hope you enjoy the novel. It is written by the same guy who wrote the script for the game. He is a rather accomplished horror writer! It follows the game pretty well.
PixParticipantPodcasterOctober 14, 2019 at 11:18 am #2929
It’s the chess puzzles which need a lot of moves that get to me. The sequel was much better in that regard with the swanky 30fps video engine speeding everything up.
I read the novel in one go on Saturday. I really enjoyed it actually – way, way more than I was expecting. It’s quite short but still fleshed out the events in the house no end, not to mention putting them in the right order. I’m surprised how closely it stuck to the game using dialog straight out of the script and mentioning a large number of the puzzles and animations. For anyone with nostalgic attachment to 7th Guest, it’s essential. The stakes in the book are higher as it introduces a Cthulu-like influence with Stauf receiving his instructions from voices from some other dimension. The 7th Guest is apparently the means to release them upon the world.
I moved on to 11th Hour on Sunday. The FMV engine in that was just amazing for the time, nothing else ran like that without hardware assistance back in 1995. The gameplay took a step up as well with all the cryptic crossword clues adding another element. It seems like a better game all round except for the amazingly dumb storyline. That and hunting for some of those objects would be painful without a guide.
This is all getting me in the mood for The 13th Doll anyway when it gets released at the end of the month. I backed that one some years back but have been avoiding the betas so I can go into it spoiler free. I may give Clandestiny or Uncle Henry’s Mindblower another go in the meanwhile.
Pseudo_CParticipantPodcasterOctober 15, 2019 at 3:17 am #2932
I know i am in the minority here, but I really liked the story of The 11th Hour. To me it added to the weirdness and unknown that is Stauf. I was sad to see the story not go beyond this one as it would have to ditch the house and come up with another way Stauf could haunt the world.
evilcommiedictatorParticipantPodcasterOctober 24, 2019 at 11:11 am #2950
Finished it this morning, geez, what a rough game.
Half of the puzzles are fine, some incredibly easy enough, others you can brute force through.
The other ones though, DAMN. I know the book in the study can tell you what you are supposed to do, but bugger me if the navigation in the game (the 25th version) was so painful I’d rather look up what the solve condition was – I’m looking at house final puzzle.
I have a problem in that now I’m old, I have no patience, especially for puzzles when I know what the answer is, but don’t want to spend time brute forcing it.
I think out of the last 5 puzzles, I solved one of them legitimatly, and that was just stumbling around on the painting puzzle.
I feel that in the day the puzzles would have been OK and interesting, but really, really not aimed at the common person (yes you bishop puzzle).
The navigation caught me a few times with the overlapping clickable zones, and without help I would have never found the art gallery.
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