Review by akuma634
"I think, therefore I AM"
I've been a huge fan of point and click adventure games since the early 90's and I'm still playing the classics and the newer stuff like Telltale's Sam & Max series. I'd say I'm more a fan of adventure games with tons of great comedy, like Monkey Island, Sam & Man, Beavis & Butt-Head: Virtual Stupidity, and The Neverhood to name a few. But then there are some pitch black tales of mystery that had me going like reading a perfect mystery novel and turning pages until it's 5AM. Sanitarium was one and I really loved that game but I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream really cranked the bar up to a level that I have not seen any serious adventure game come close to. One thing that's kept me from playing this until 2010 was how old the game is, I can't stand having to deal with old games that take eternity to get running but it works on ScummVM and it's easy to get working.
Game Play 10/10:
If you're familiar with the classic SCUMM style where the bottom of the screen is a list of ways to interact with the world and there's an item box then you'll feel right at home. It's simple and easy to work with. There are some choices that you don't really use very often like the "swallow" option, but it does make for an interesting quote for some characters. It didn't reinvent the wheel but it's like the saying goes "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." The puzzles are very interesting too, some might have you hitting ALT+TAB often to check back with GameFaqs but then I didn't think anything felt too insane for someone to figure out on their own. There are some odd puzzles but then most of the time a NPC will tell you or give you a hint. There also some ways to die but you can save anywhere and as often as you want so death isn't a problem. Also dying is really are so it's not like you'll be having to save before you touch anything. Also I've heard complains of bugs but I never had a single issue.
Story - 10/10
As far as brilliant videogame stories go, this is best described as "interactive literature." It's like reading an incredible book only that you're in control over how the story progresses. As of typing this, I haven't read the original short story (but I have been reading the comic book adaptation by Dark Horse) but I can say the game is very stand alone so you won't be missing anything without reading the original story. The plot is about a super computer that has killed every human on the planet aside from 5 people. It used it's technology and power to give these 5 people eternal life, only so that it can torture them (physically and psychologically) for the rest of time. It has been 109 years and these people just want to die. There is no hope for salvation, for them it's been 109 years of constant torture and there is no reason to desire any more life. There isn't even much of a goal to the game because humanity is gone and these people are all suicidal, however it really gives you more than enough reason to want to help these people face their greatest personal traumas and get the will to fight the evil super computer, AM. Also you can screw up in the last level, there's a few ways but if AM wins, you will see first hand what "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" means.
Graphics - 10/10
Well it isn't Crysis or the current game that set visual standards that computers won't be able to display until our grandkids can play it, but for a 1995 adventure game, it does look awesome. The characters are all very well designed. Every area you go to is very unique and they never get lazy and use the same areas but with different colors. They give you lots of variety and they put as much detail into the world as they could. There are also some great looking cut scenes in the game too.
Audio - 9/10
This would be my only complaint, the problem is that the music can down out some of the voice work. You can adjust music and sound, but an option to just adjust the voices themselves would have been great. They do offer subtitles but I don't use subs in games. Other than that, all the characters sound like you'd expect them to. AM has the voice of the author, some people have said it's a bit hammy but we're talking an insane super computer. It's different from the usual robot voices like HAL 9000, Shodan, or the chick from Portal. There is also very fitting music for the each area. They also do a lot with sound effects like even the slightest background object of one room can emit a subtle sound in just that one room. They know just how to create a great atmosphere with the sounds.
Replay Value -10/10
There aren't a lot of adventure games that have left me wanting to play all over in just minutes after I beat the game. For most of them, it's months before I replay them and see how much I have memorized before consulting GameFaqs. It's been under an hour since beating the game for the first time and I'm already wondering just what would happen if I go back and make the 5 characters learn nothing. Make sure that some of these people give in to their rage or fears and let the problems they've been tormented with lead them to even worse suffering. There are quite a few ways to be a villain or a total sleazy ball or even a coward. Plus this game does have such a fresh story that I can't see myself getting tired of it for a long time.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/21/10
Game Release: I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (US, 10/31/95)
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