Russell Stone works as a Jewish Rabbi at a poor synagogue in New York City. Sometimes the line between salvation and damnation is a mighty fine one
, he contemplates in the opening sequence, and it shows. His dark and gloomy sermons have driven membership to an all-time low while the bills keep piling up. He questions the morals he preaches without the personal experiences to back them up and is about to give up being the voice of the Lord when he is visited by detective Durkin. A former member, Jack Lauder, has been killed. Stone is the prime suspect because they parted ways on bad terms many years ago, yet Lauder left the Rabbi a significant amount of money. Stone decides to investigate the matter to clear both his name and his conscience.The Shivah
is a graphical adventure almost entirely conceived by Dave Gilbert
. Originally created in a single month as a freeware entry to the 5th Anniversary of the Monthly Adventure Game Studio (MAGS) competition, the game has been reworked to a commercial deluxe version with improved graphics and animations, voice acting and extra puzzles. It also includes a kibitz
option to play the game as a director's cut, with Gilbert interfering during gameplay to offer background information, design choices and references.
This murder mystery takes place during the shivah
, a seven day mourning period, during which it is both good deed and duty to console the bereaved. Russell Stone is controlled through a point-and-click interface with two actions mapped to the mouse buttons: look and pick-up/use. Unlike other adventures, progression is mainly achieved by extracting clues from conversations with other characters, rather than collecting and combining items. The inventory serves no other purpose than to provide clues. Instead, a separate clue screen is offered where you can match clues to form links or compare them with information shown in the environment. All information to solve the game is provided in-game, but needs to be discovered by taking notes of conversations or reading mails and other sources of information such as a Yiddish dictionary.
The focus on the characters and storyline provides a dark and serious setting with logical actions based on deduction. In conversations, you can bring up clues and there are different responses to questions, ranging from aggressive, to subtle or rabbinical - answer a question with a question
. While playing, it is unclear which approach yields the best results, but the specific answers, along with a few key moments of moral choice, lead to three different endings.
It is possible to die, with a fighting system similar to Monkey Island's
insult sword fights. No action-timed reflexes are needed. Instead, the Rabbi needs to capitalize on other characters' pride or weaknesses with fitting dialogue lines. All characters have been voiced and there is full soundtrack, also sold separately.
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The Press Says
A similar April Fool's joke was done on 1st April 2008, when an e-mail was sent out to announce the upcoming game The Shiver
:Keelut is an honest Eskimo with a problem. Someone has been poisoning the waters, and destroying the peaceful whaling community where he lives. Step into his showshoes as you lead him across the Aleut coast to find the one responsible, and discover a shocking secret.
This entry to the MobyGames database was contributed by Sciere (217829)
on Dec 03, 2006.