Moby Poll: What kind of game collector are you?

Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh (Windows)

65
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.6
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Ajan (262)
Written on  :  Sep 17, 2005
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful

write a review of this game
read more reviews by Ajan
read more reviews for this game

Summary

Average horror game? This one is for you.

The Good

Phantamsagoria 2 is a sequel to one of Sierra's most popular game Phantasmagoria. In several places it is better, well, in others it is far less fun. Comparing to its prequel, Phantasmagoria 2 looks better. No more artificial 3d rooms, no more poor graphics. The quality of videos here is higher (which doesn't actually mean that it is good).

Storyline has never been the strongest part in horror games such as Phantasmagoria or Harvester, exactly the same as here. But at least we can find some advanced plot, not really of quality compared to Deus Ex but at some point you could get lost.

In horror games (especially in FMVs) have to make the player be afraid. But there are at least two ways to do that. One is through hectoliters of blood and violence, another is through detailed plot and mysterious atmosphere. Phantasmagoria 2 has neither of them but uses some things from both. In uncensored mode some violent scenes appear but for me, even though I'm definitely not a fan of poor horror films, they can be accepted. They are ugly, yes, but they are not sick. I wouldn't recommend it to players below 16 years old, but if you are above that, you can play without that much stress (just don't forget that doesn't mean that all scenes aren't violent, on some of them you will really want to turn your head and look at people walking outside). Music in some part (for example on map of the city) makes the atmosphere even better and not every scene is violent, some will of course scare you without showing anything red on the screen.

The Bad

Phantasmagoria 2 will always be compared to the first part. And in some cases the latter definitely wins. Adrianne in Phantasmagoria 1 was a normal girl, nothing strange. The game consisted of 7 chapters and the atmosphere was heavier every day. The first day is just a "talk to everyone, see everything, do anything" part (maybe apart form the end). Adrianne's husband, possessed by the demon becomes more and more mean and dangerous but real violence is shown in fourth chapter. In Phantasmagoria 2 real violence (and one of the most violent scene in the whole game to say the truth) is shown in the beginning of second chapter out of five. So here you're just thrown into the game and ugly scenes begin very soon.

Also, Phantasmagoria 1 had, to me at least, better storyline. Curtis Craig is living in a big city, working with computers, vising clubs of doubtful reputation etc etc. Adrianne was living in a haunted villa, sometimes visiting a small city close to her residence. More classical to me.

The Bottom Line

Both parts of Phantasmagoria are quite difficult to get today (at least in some parts of the world), you should choose the second part if you like more technical and futuristic story (not that it is a science fiction game). But be aware that, although better than in the first part, the graphics is still quite bad.