Every now and again there is a game that totally revolutionizes its genre. Take Civilization for instance. That game is one of the most, if not the most popular turn-based strategy game of all time. Its simplistic and well thought out gameplay captivated an entire legion of fans. The same thing applies to Doom and how it evolved the first person 3D corridor shooter genre. This ideology then applies to The 7th Guest. When it was released, it took the puzzle/adventure game genre to a new horizon never imagined. It not only sets standards for its own genre but also for the way computer gaming would be envisioned for years to come.
The 7th Guest was one of the first games in history to utilize the relatively new FMV technology. It doesn't use animation or in-game graphics. Instead, it uses real-life actors that act out a very decent script and storyline. Something of this magnitude had never been attempted before and it's truly revolutionary. And the FMV quality still stands up and remains decent even when compared to today's standards. This was also one of the first games to use hi-res SVGA graphics. The Stauf mansion is beautifully rendered and the graphics department obviously spent a lot of time devoted to the small details. As you wander the halls and various rooms of the mansion, you actually get a sense of immersion because everything is so real looking.
Even with it's flashy sheen, the main focus of The 7th Guest is the puzzles. There are over twenty and just about all of them are unique in their own way. In one puzzle, you have to remove pieces of cake in a certain order and in another one you must play "follow the leader" with Stauf on a piano. Every puzzle is seamlessly incorporated into the storyline. As you solve puzzles, you unlock more FMV sequences and become closer to finishing the mystery. While most of the puzzles can be solved with common sense and some thinking, some just boggle the mind -- especially the AI puzzles. On the AI puzzles, you actually play the computer or Stauf and at times the challenge is overwhelming. I literally had to play one particular puzzle for an estimation of 15 hours before I solved it! Fortunately, there are some in-game clues to help you get by if you get stuck.
The 7th Guest was definitely before its time and it shows. It's a game that will go down in computer game history (it already has) as being one of the most innovative and groundbreaking games of all time. The story, acting and script are well done, the puzzles are fabulous and the atmosphere is dark and immersive. This is a classic and any computer owner who enjoys mysteries would be making a terrible mistake not to own a copy of it.
Graphics: This game is simply gorgeous. The mansion is beautifully rendered and looks down right creepy. The FMV is good and the animation is fabulous.
Sound: Supplied by The Fat Man, the music ranges from hot jazz to creepy, atmospheric music. While the music itself is pretty good, some of the pieces don't really fit the mood of the game.
Enjoyment: The 7th Guest is highly enjoyable from start to finish. The story is great and the puzzles are very challenging and fun. And because the game itself is so beautiful, it's very easy to become immersed in the Stauf mansion.
Replay Value: This game is good enough to go through twice. And if you didn't solve all the puzzles the first time through, then you should go back and try to figure them out.
The 7th Guest is a puzzle-adventure game which takes place inside an abandoned mansion. Venture into the 22 rooms of the spooky mansion, solve over 20 mind-bending puzzles to unravel a tale of revenge and horror that took place in the 1930s.
The owner of the mansion was Henry Stauf, a famous maker of children's toys. Once a homeless drifter and thief, influenced by a vision in a dream, Henry invented a wondrous doll, so incredibly life-like that it sold like wildfire. Stauf's toys became popular overnight bringing fame and fortune and changing his rags to riches. But things took a tragic turn when owners of the doll became infected with a fierce and deadly virus. None of those children recovered.
After this turn of events Stauf secluded himself inside his estate, stopped making his toys and never came into contact with the outside world for a long time. Something very strange happened when six people receive an invitation to a party at the mansion. By solving the riddles inside Stauf's "fun house", you'll delve into the past to learn what happened to them, and the mysterious 7th guest, on that fateful night.
The game is played in first person perspective with a point-and-click interface featuring horror-themed animated cursors (skeletons, bulging-eye skulls etc.). It is one of the first games to be released on the then-new CD-Rom media. The graphics are fully rendered in SVGA, and real actors and actresses bring the story to life during numerous full-motion video cut scenes. The visuals are accompanied by an original, orchestrated musical score.
To finish the game, you must solve the puzzles in Stauf's manor; each solved puzzle will unlock new rooms or new movie sequences to watch. The puzzles are quite varied; there's the classic "eight queens puzzle", another puzzle where you need to compose a sentence by rearranging letters, and others. If you get stuck, you can visit the library; a book within will give you hints on the puzzle. If the hints aren't enough, the puzzle will solve itself automatically once you consult the book enough times.
Some later, limited releases of the game came with a separate video that included a "behind the scenes" look at the making of the game and interviews with the developers.
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