Written by  :  Ben Sokal (15)
Written on  :  May 29, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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This attempt at something completely different partially succeeds.

The Good

I Have No Mouth is an intelligent, deeply challenging game. By challenging I don't just mean difficult: I mean that it tries to make the player think about and face up to things we don't normally like to deal with: Traumatic experiences, the consequences of rampant technology, the Holocaust, etc. How daring! This alone makes the game one of my favorites.

The gameplay is similar to, for example, the classic Lucasarts games such as Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island: you use commands or inventory items from the bottom of the screen to interact with the world.

During the first section of the game, you take each of the 5 protagonists through his/her own dilemma. Gorrister, for example, only wants to commit suicide. Ellen tries to deal with her horrifying past. The end result of each of the sections is not necessarily completing your original mission, but helping to destabilize the allied mastercomputer (AM). After each of the character's quests are completed, you have to try to defeat AM in an endgame.

The graphics and artwork were tremendously atmospheric, even if they didn't utilize the "latest and greatest" of technology. I can't remember the music, but I remember that the voice acting was supurb (Harlan Ellison, the author of the original story, plays AM). I found alot of humor in this game, but it definitely requires a dark and demented mind to see.

The Bad

The very end bugged me. It seemed a little to wrapped up and neat compared to the rest of the game. Also, some of the puzzles in the game had absurd, frustrating, and very difficult solutions in an attempt to draw in the player to the absurd, uncontrollable, somewhat Kafkaesque world . But hey, there are always hint files if you are really stuck.

The Bottom Line

This is a rare game that really is different: not in terms of appearance, but in terms of philosophy. Here, the goal is to challenge, frustrate, and bleakify the player. It is a joy to play because of that, but on the other hand some of the puzzles suffer. If you love Kafka, you must play this game. A misguided ending doesn't detract very much at all from the story.