Written by  :  Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe (1691)
Written on  :  May 01, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  1.4 Stars1.4 Stars1.4 Stars1.4 Stars1.4 Stars

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Summary

Hilariously bad game!

The Good

Well, there's lots of humor, though it's all unintentional. Based on the classic horror film by Alfred Hitchcock -- and by "based on" I mean that they both have the same title -- this gets my personal vote as the best bad game ever created.

Where oh where oh WHERE to begin? Well, for starters it's by Box Office Software, well-recognized in the industry for bringing lots of cheapies to market in the late 1980's. It's all CGA graphics... in 1988, mind you. Your detective character holds his magnifying glass constantly at arm's length and just shuffles his feet when he walks, making him look dorky in the extreme. Viewed from the front, he resembles like a monkey in a trenchcoat. The room descriptions are... well, let me just direct-quote a couple:

"I found this is a big living room."

"I found this is the same big room."

"Clues" you find along the way offer such helpful tips as, "Skeleton keys open doors, not skeletons." Exits are laid out so that at times it's practically impossible to tell which door leads where. Trying a locked door simply doesn't work until you find the right key, and gives no indication that it's locked. Nasties such as a dog, a ghost, and Norman's mother appear randomly and PUT YOU TO SLEEP (!) when they catch you.

There are bugs all over the game, the funniest being when you dig up a key in the coal bin. After you pick it up, it still shows up in the room, and you can keep taking it over and over and earning infinite points. And taking it repeatedly gives the message: "I found more keys just like the one I found before." Yes, they chose THAT as the alternative to adjusting the graphics so the key is no longer there.

I swear to God I am not making any of this up! Play it for yourself and see! It all adds up to a major, MAJOR laugh-fest.

The Bad

Everything listed above, when taken from an actual gameplay standpoint. It astounds me that a game with such a complete lack of quality ever hit stores, even considering Box Office did it.

The Bottom Line

Adventure game legend Scott Adams must be hideously embarrassed about doing the programming on this travesty of a game. Play it only to laugh at its sheer ineptness (and there are some major hoots). An absolute must-play for all fans of truly TERRIBLE games. If you can chortle at inept design, buggy coding, sloppy graphics and unbelievably dopey text, the belly-laughs this game will induce are more than worth the brief time you'll spend solving it.