Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mariann Wilson
I've always been partial to a good ghost story. Even as a small child, I would curl up at my mother's knee, along with my brother and sister, as she'd weave her ghostly tales by the firelight. She would spin stories full of wonder about my family's past. The legends and myths of my grandparents' foreign lands, so long ago and far away. We learned of many things: vampires, werewolves, witches and wizards. But my favorites were always her ghost stories, especially those that were her own. The experiences that she herself had witnessed in her youth. It is no wonder that I learned to love "ghosties and ghoulies and long leggedy beasties". I cut my teeth on it. And as I grew, so did my hunger for stories and adventures like the ones my mother would tell. I would devour all kinds of books and writings on the subject. Poe, Irving, Shelly and Michaels... I knew them all.
Then the future came, and with it computers and a new form of entertainment: the Adventure game. Marvelous. I have played many, but the most appealing to me have always been first person point-and-click mysteries or supernatural adventures. This is one such game, yet different in that it is more like an 'interactive museum' in the guise of a game. More likely than not, the 'adventure game' part of Ghosts is used as a vehicle to access its subject matter. This program is absolutely crammed with information on the supernatural. Whether you are a believer or not, it doesn't really matter. You are offered both sides of the coin, and when you are done, only then are you left to choose...
...do you believe in ghosts?
As you start your journey, the music seems to set you on your way, lending an ominous tone as you face the entryway to Hobb's Manor. You arrive in the Entry Hall and are greeted by Dr. Marcus Grimalkin (who is played by none other than the frighteningly incredible Christopher Lee). He invites you to "have a look around". Dr. Grimalkin tells you that Hobb's Manor was first inhabited on October 31,1666. Since that day the house has always had the reputation of being... well, somewhat strange.
He comments further that he has made it his life's work to gather as much information on the paranormal as possible into this one place, Hobb's Manor. He reminds you that it's all there for the taking, all you have to do is find it.
There are so many objects to interact with. Each room holds a variety of stories, information and just plain scary fun. There is the book called appropriately 'The Book of Hauntings', which holds over 280 pages, with color illustrations, of various hauntings and legends of England. Stories abound here, each one more frightening than the next when you think about it. Another book holds 'Spirit Photographs'...
...uh yes, photos of ghosts... or so they say
The Lounge is where you'll encounter a recounting of the Enfield Poltergeist Case. Videos, both pro and con, abound with this disquieting subject... documents, audiotapes, pictures... all purported to be real. There are also many areas throughout the house where you can ask 'The Experts' about these supernatural events. And there are many 'eyewitness' accounts of ghostly tales, but these are cleverly hidden throughout the manor. Ghostly apparitions seem to guide you on your way as you traverse from room to room in order to mark the truth for yourself. Do they really exist, or are they just figments of your imagination? The cellar may hold a key (or a few bottles, at least!) to part of the mystery, and a secret passage. There's a 'Lab' of sorts located there as well, replete with all the 'latest' (remember this is 1994) ghost hunting instruments and equipment. The computer holds an interesting glossary of the supernatural, and it is here that you will find a most interesting slide show. There are 6 beautifully rendered ghostly tales, all 'lovingly' narrated by Mr. Lee. It just doesn't get any better than this!
Bettiscombe Manor and The Screaming Skull
Canterbury Cathedral and the tale of Nell Cook
Bisham Abbey Dame Elizabeth Hoby
The Silent Pool
These ghost stories are sprinkled throughout Hobb's Manor, and presented in a very interesting slide show format. All in all, I found this interactive adventure to be incredibly interesting. There was always something to discover.
I particularly enjoyed the 'use' of the adventure game setting. Indeed, at times, I felt totally absorbed in this realm of things that go "bump in the night".
© March 2005 Mariann Wilson
Developed (1994) and published by Media Design Interactive. Distributed by Sony Electronic Publishing.
Rated: NR for Not Rated (game box says recommended for ages 12 and up)
Minimum System Requirements:
PC: 386 Processor (486 Strongly Recommended); Windows 3.1 (Apparently Plays Well Under Windows 95 / 98 / ME / XP); 4 MB RAM; 1X CD-ROM Drive; 256 Color VGA Display (Video Card); Compatible Sound Card; Mouse
Where To Buy This Game:
The best chance for finding this game would be at used software places or auctions or trading sites. Our Places To Buy Games page may be able to assist you in finding a copy of this wonderful game.
Walkthroughs or Hints: