Digitiser Reviews Archive


Phantasmagoria - PC, 13/10/95


We don't know why this is an 18. No dirty talk, very little sauce and less violence. Maybe it's because of the cat called Spazz.

Coming on a Dundee-worrying total of seven CDs, this is an FMV horror adventure from the browned spoon of King's Quest virago Roberta Williams.

No pretence at a multi-ending interactive movie here, you'll be delighted to hear, Beau Brummel.

If Phantasmagoria's 18 rating is confusing, so too is its multi-CDness. When we said it was all FMV we lied - it's really only FMV actors green-screened onto hand-painted backdrops.

And it's not as if there are umpteen locations: nearly all the action takes place in the 15 or so rooms that compromise the haunted mansion.

With negligible installation, it seems each CD has to store its own copy of the locations. But that's so stupid!

Phantasmagoria follows the story of a young couple who, in a stunning display of plot fatigue, innocently purchase the kooky old Gothic place up on the hill out of town.

You are the nosey little wifey who pigs around finding out about your new home's occult-rubbing past, in the process unleashing a demonic presence that makes your husband bad-tempered.

Additionally, you never change your clothes, you fithy piece of fluff.

Phantasmagoria will offer few thrills to hardened adventurers. Puzzles, you see, are basic (give bone to dog, use paper knife to scrape mortar, embarrass vagrant with capon) and few.

Each CD only offers around 10 objects - a whole disc is devoted to a single journey down to the shops to buy drain cleaner.

And yet there's something about the game which has us coming back for more. The hope of dirty pictures? Maybe. Yes!

Perhaps it's the very simplicity of Phantasmagoria which makes it appealing.

The one-click-fits-all interface and on-line tips from "HintKeeper" at first seem like spoon-feeding, but you soon learn to love them for ironing away many of the usual irritants.

And we liked the way you can rotate inventory objects in 3D to find hidden clues, and how many "hot-cursor" acts turn out to be irrelevant - drink from tap, stroke on cat. Simple but slick.

Phantasmagoria - PC CD-ROM - by Sierra

Req: 4MbR DX2/66
Graphix: 82%
Sonix: 88%
Gameplay: 78%
Lifespan: 64%
Originality: 82%
Uppers: Involving and intelligible
Downers: Easy, short, hackneyed
Overall: 79% - Lisztomania

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