Mr. Bill's   Adventureland   ReviewHOME


Reviewed by  Mr. Bill and Lela

When this classic puzzle adventure game was first released back in 1992, it was extremely popular and won several awards. The setting for the puzzles is a horror story which took place in a now haunted Victorian mansion.

They say that some 70 years ago an enigmatic drifter, one Henry Stauf, came to town and started making toys ..... beautiful, original creations fashioned from his strange dreams. They were wildly popular, and he became very successful and wealthy. But then mysteriously, the children who owned the toys began to die .....

Now feared by the townfolk, avoided and shunned, Stauf grew reclusive, bitter ..... and mad. He poured out all of his pent up frustration and resentment on his mansion, until it was his greatest creation. And then he gave a party. He invited 6 guests, and enticed them to come with a promise to fulfill their wildest dreams for wealth and power.

No one knows what happened there on that fateful night, but none of them were ever seen or heard from again. The house has stood empty now, abandoned and rotting, for as long as anyone can remember. But occasionally eerie lights are seen, and the people say they can hear the terrible sing-song rhymes of the children .....

There were 6 guests that the world knew about. But there was one other. You are that 7th guest, unnamed and unidentified. And you must wander this haunted mansion, reliving the events of that fatal night while gradually solving the sinister enigmas, until you finally uncover the secret of the 7th guest.

This is a 1st person, single button point and click game with a 'smart' cursor: it changes to a skeletal hand for movement, a drama mask for ghostly videos, chattering teeth for supernatural events, and a throbbing brain and eyeball for puzzles. You gradually explore the 22 rooms of the mansion and as you solve the puzzle located in each room, other rooms open up and more of the story is revealed.

This game was far ahead of its time, not only in format, presentation and gameplay, but also in graphics and sound. The high resolution graphics and full motion video for smooth transitions between locations are really astounding when compared to other games which were produced at the same time.

The haunted house is beautifully rendered and highly detailed, atmospheric and eerie, and even many of the puzzle pieces are creepy. And the original soundtrack by George Alistair Sanger, 'The Fat Man' (which can be played independently from the 2nd CD), adds even more to the spooky feeling (turn on your speakers and refresh to hear some now). Unfortunately there are no preference settings to control the volume for either the music or voices.

But in truth this is really a puzzle game, and the horror story serves only as an elaborate setting in which to display the unrelated puzzles themselves (and we're glad, because we don't like horror games). Nothing terrible happens to you, you can't die, and the acting in the 'ghostly' videos is so bad that it's almost funny, not frightening or believable.

There are 21 colorful puzzles to solve, including all of the old standbys: word puzzles, sliders, a chess puzzle and a maze among others. They range in both interest (some are repetitive, but others are excellent) and difficulty, with one almost impossible microscope puzzle.

No rules are given, but you do receive cryptic hints from both your own thoughts and Stauf's voice (as well as very irritating taunts). And there is a book in the library (another innovation) which will give you clues twice and then the third time solve it for you (we only wish that it showed how they solved the puzzles). And if you start a new game after successfully completing it one time, you will find all of the rooms open with the puzzles available for replay.

So if you like puzzles and you don't mind the horror story setting, then this game is one of the classics of the genre.

©  1999  Mr. Bill and Lela

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Produced (1992) by Trilobyte (no longer exists) and published by Virgin Interactive Entertainment (no longer exists in the United States).

Minimum System Requirements:  DOS  Windows 95   MAC

Where To Buy This Game:

Walkthroughs or Hints:

"Walkthrough" available here!

Mr. Bill's   Adventureland
Copyright  1999, Revised 2001
All Rights Reserved