Review by japanzaman
Better than I remembered.
For no particular reason, I recently dusted off my old copy and Shivers and decided to have another play at a game that had haunted my friends and I during our junior high days. I really didn't remember much about the game except the general premise and a few of the tougher puzzles, so playing it felt like I was playing it for the first time- for the most part.
Very quickly I was reminded why I had loved this game and had spent so many hours racking my adolescent brain trying to solve the secrets of the museum. The graphics, though dated, are still effective and the ambiance of the museum is second to none. I'd say this game is on par with even the most advanced modern thrillers in terms of tension and mood, as I found myself on the edge of my seat more than a few times throughout the game. Quite an enjoyable experience.
In terms of game play, it was nice to play a game that isn't completely scripted and requires more from you than just reacting and killing things. The puzzles, although not quite as difficult as I remember then, were still challenging. Two, in particular, were absolute beasts and took me a few hours of trial and error before I was able to solve them. Anybody who has played the game knows which ones I'm talking about, but for those who haven't I won't spoil the surprise. Let's just say that you'll be playing Chinese Checkers for a long time unless your will breaks and you look up a solution online.
There are a few downsides to the game, but nothing that ruins the experience. The cartoonish Ixupi animations are a little out of place with the game atmosphere and ruin some of the tension the game creates so well. The other downside is the tediousness of moving your character around, especially when you have a lot of backtracking to do. Get used to clicking that mouse a lot. The only other useless aspect of the game was the score, which honestly does nothing except let you know if you have done something important.
Sadly this genre was abandoned as PC's became more powerful and Doom took over the gaming market. However, Shivers is a welcome reminder why the genre was so popular in the first place with intriguing puzzles and engrossing plot to compensate for a lack of impressive graphical punch. For the more cerebral types who enjoy thinking through a game rather than shooting or slashing, this a game that should keep your brain challenged for quite a while.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Shivers (US, 09/30/95)
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