7 Days a Skeptic is the very good 2004 sequel to 5 Days a Stranger. Like its predecessor, this is one of my favorite AGS and adventure games. Definitely worth a try.
Many centuries have passed since the DeFoe Manor incident. It is now no more than folklore and forgotten stories. The human race is going "where no man has gone before", and the invention of warp technology is fast-pacing the spaceship program. Due to vehicle shortages, the Earth Federation instigates a new program that upgrades old and retired spacecraft. The Mephistopheles is the first to undergo this program. Crewed by a new complement of six crewmen, the Mephistopheles is assigned to map out the Caracus galaxy. A few days into the voyage, the crew sight a metal locker with the name DeFoe on it. They open it to find nothing in it - or so they think...
Note: This game is gorier than 5 Days a Stranger, so I would not recommend this game to anyone who had a problem with the violence in its predecessor.
7 Days a Skeptic is an excellent sequel to 5 Days a Stranger, a fun freeware horror adventure game reviewed elsewhere on this site. Although it is not as scary or captivating as the original, it is still an excellent thriller that will compel you from start to finish. The setting is four hundred years after the "DeFoe Manor Incident" depicted in the first game. You play Dr. Jonathan Somerset, psychiatrist aboard a scouting spacecraft assigned to map out the Caracus galaxy. The game begins "...just a few days into the assignment, [when] the crew... discover an unknown artefact floating unprotected in deep space: an ancient metal locker. Ignoring advice from the Federation to leave it for a research vessel, the captain brings it aboard and prepares to lift the lid..."
Anyone who has played 5 Days a Stranger will know what to expect from this sequel: a gripping tale of horror that escalates in intensity over several days. Although it is set hundreds of years after the first game, I recommend that you finish 5 Days a Stranger first to understand the full story behind the tormented, scary perpetrator. True to the author Ben Croshaw's track record, the writing in 7 Days a Skeptic is excellent: well-written dialogues bring out the unique character of each of the six crew members, and the pace of the game is well scripted. The focus is on thrilling action rather than plot this time around, though - you will spend a lot more time running away from possessed crewmates and worse than reading the story. This is not necessarily a bad thing - it makes the game better as a "survival horror adventure" - although I wish the designer had added some new revelations and plot twists to make the mythos more complex. Fortuately, the excellend ending does hint at several exciting possibilities regarding... well, play the game to find out ;)
The puzzles, on the whole, are much easier than 5 Days a Stranger. Similar to what I said earlier, this is not necessarily a "bad" thing: easy puzzles allow the pace to quicken much more smoothly and naturally than if the game were difficult. Still, expert adventurers should be warned in advance that they won't find the game challenging at all, and will be able to finish it in one sitting (I finished the game in less than one hour, and that includes pixel-hunting time and cutscenes). On the upside, the masterful plot development and pace that rivals commercial games will keep you riveted until the end. Also, the user interface is much more streamlined - a major improvement over 5 Days a Stranger. Similar to Full Throttle, you can right-click on any hotspot to open a pop-up menu that includes both commands (LOOK, etc.) and inventory items.
Whether or not you like horror games or point-and-click adventures in general, 7 Days a Skeptic is well worth your time. It may not be challenging, but it is a well-written, well-directed thriller that will give you a scare or two before the end. The first release of the game has many bugs, but most of them have been fixed in this download version.
People who downloaded 7 Days a Skeptic have also downloaded:
5 Days a Stranger, 7th Guest, The, Abducted: 10 Minutes, 9: The Last Resort, 3 Skulls of the Toltecs, Adventures in the Galaxy of Fantabulous Wonderment, Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express
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