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ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK: The Tale of Orpheo's Curse

Reviewed by  Mr. Bill and Lela

This game is one of those rare finds that you can play with your older children (or alone, as we did!) and both of you will enjoy it. A classic ghost story, it manages to be scary without being violent and is challenging enough to hold the interest of even seasoned adventurers.

The scene is set as the game begins. A kid's club, 'The Midnight Society', is sitting around a campfire telling ghost stories. The price of membership is to make up a good story, and this one is yours .....

You are a young brother and sister, Alex and Terry, who decide one night, on a dare, to sneak into an old condemned theater: Orpheo's Palace. Once home to a well-known magician and his troupe, it was closed and abandoned over 50 years ago after a series of mysterious deaths and disappearances. It is said to be cursed and haunted, but you don't believe it.

Unfortunately, as soon as you break in you are confronted by the deranged magician himself, Orpheo, looking very much alive! He informs you that he has been waiting for you and that he wants you to 'Star' in his act tonight. But before you can run, you suddenly hear the door lock behind you, are separated from each other, and you are both trapped. And as if being trapped in this creepy place weren't bad enough, you soon discover that the real 'curse' is Orpheo's failed ability as a magician ..... his tricks cause people to disappear permanently!

This is a 1st person, point and click game where the point of view alternates between brother and sister. To escape, you must find each other and carefully explore this spooky theater, with all of its strange artifacts, wax museum, graveyard and catwalks, and its skeletons and ghosts: looking for clues to somehow break the curse and set their souls free.

The puzzles are varied and logical, and none are too difficult. The acting is good, the graphics are excellent, and the atmospheric music and sound effects will set your heart racing (turn on your speakers and refresh to hear some now). But when you make a fatal mistake (and you will), you will find yourself safely back at the campfire with the other kids offering suggestions as to how to proceed.

The whole game is extremely well done, engrossing entertainment, and should not be really frightening to older children. And we adults thoroughly enjoyed it!

  1999  Mr. Bill and Lela
Screenshots courtesy of Quandary Computer Game Reviews

Please Note: The developers of this game say that it must be played in DOS Mode under Windows 95 and also probably under Windows 98 (Start, Shutdown, Restart your computer in MS-DOS Mode). The following is from the developers Readme file on the CD. This product will NOT work under Windows or a Windows DOS box. Trying to run 'Are You Afraid of the Dark' under Windows may cause your Windows to crash, lockup, or experience other unexpected problems.

However there is now good news:  This game can be played under Windows XP using a small program called DOSBox.  This information is provided below under the heading Minimum System Requirements.

Produced (1994) by Nickelodeon and published by Viacom International, Inc. (no longer exists).

Rated:   NR   for Not Rated

Minimum System Requirements:  DOS   MAC

Where To Buy This Game:

Walkthroughs or Hints:

"Walkthrough" available here!

Mr. Bill's   Adventureland
Copyright  1999, Revised 2001
All Rights Reserved