It can be hard to judge a point-and-click adventure fairly. Obviously, the game isn't going to get the rating it deserves due to its slow nature. Although those factors don't combine well, in the case of Trilobyte's The 11th Hour, there are some very strong points that need to be recognized.
First, though, some gripes. To reiterate, game play is slow. Your character moves from room to room and from staircase to top hallway with all the speed of a tortoise. This is one of the major flaws in the game. The basic fact is that your character is on a track and has to go in the direction allowed by the pointer. Some free moving versatility in The 11th Hour would be greatly appreciated. Another consideration is the whole point-and-click interface. Although it's the nature of the game, some new ideas could have been implemented into the game play to raise the standards a little. Instead, what gamers are given is a tried-and-true formula that has been worn to death.
That's not to say the game doesn't have its upside. If you're taking this game as an easy task, then you'd better check again. The 11th Hour features some of the industry's hardest puzzles. You will find yourself referring to your laptop for clues more often than not. Incidentally, the laptop is an essential part of the game. This device lets you replay scenes and serves as a middleman between your character, old man Stauff, and the guide who helps you solve the riddles.
Graphically, the game is very well constructed. All the game's scenery consists of pre-rendered backgrounds. The characters themselves are digitized actors pasted in these rendered worlds. While the two have major conflict problems, it doesn't really seem all that bad. Sound-wise, The 11th Hour does its part well. Eerie sound effects and tons of ambient musical undertones will leave you with the chills. Definitely not for the faint of heart.
Bottom line: The 11th Hour is, at best, a mediocre title that will satisfy some and leave others looking elsewhere.
Graphics: Very impressive rendered backgrounds but the digitized characters leave something to be desired.
Sound: Eerie sound effects, bone-chilling screams, and head-turning moans round out the list of sound effects you'll hear in The 11th Hour. Quality can dither in some spots, however.
Enjoyment: Some of the puzzles can become more than nerve-bending, and the plot is mediocre at best.
Replay Value: Although there are multiple endings, there just isn't enough game play to justify playing this title more than once.
The 11th Hour is the sequel to the widely successful game, The 7th Guest. It utilizes a much improved video compression engine by Graeme Devine and is also the game which brought forth Trilobyte's eventual demise.
This time you play the role of Carl Denning, boyfriend to the reporter Robin Morales. Robin has mysteriously vanished while trying to delve into the secrets of the rotting mansion of the once evil mastermind, Henry Stauf.
The game features new puzzles, redone graphics and indeed an improved engine - much smoother, with 16 bit graphics and an entirely new soundtrack. The basic gameplay is still similar to its predecessor: the player walks through the mansion, watches FMV sequences and solves logic riddles. The so-called GameBook, a laptop, can be consulted to receive puzzle hints.
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7th Guest, The, 9: The Last Resort, Phantasmagoria, Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None, Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh, Myst 3: Exile, Riven: The Sequel to Myst, Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express
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