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The Shivah (Windows)

80
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

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.

Screenshots

The Shivah Windows Rabbi Stone's room
The Shivah Windows Inside a much better-looking synagogue
The Shivah Windows Inside Zelig's apartment
The Shivah Windows Browsing some transactions for clues.

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The Press Says

Abandonia Reloaded Jul 08, 2006 4.8 out of 5 96
Just Adventure Oct 03, 2006 A- 91
Adventure Lantern Oct, 2006 89 out of 100 89
Adventure Gamers Nov 09, 2006 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Aventura y Cía Mar 30, 2008 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
GameCola.net Nov 01, 2006 7.6 out of 10 76
Strategy Informer Mar 01, 2007 7 out of 10 70
GameZebo Sep 27, 2009 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60

Forums

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Free download 2 Foxhack (12473)
Sep 27, 2009
YHWH 8 chirinea (33559)
Apr 10, 2008

Trivia

After finishing the game, let the credits roll and you get access to a menu with voiceover bloopers.

Related Web Sites

  • The Shivah (Product page on the developer's website)
  • The Shivah Presentation (A video presentation of the game and the technology behind it by creator Dave Gilbert at IGDA 2006 (part 1/3))
  • The Shivah Presentation (A video presentation of the game and the technology behind it by creator Dave Gilbert at IGDA 2006 (part 2/3))
  • The Shivah Presentation (A video presentation of the game and the technology behind it by creator Dave Gilbert at IGDA 2006 (part 3/3))
Sciere (249839) added The Shivah (Windows) on Dec 03, 2006