The 7th Guest
The 7th Guest is a horror-themed multi-genre puzzle video game developed by Trilobyte and published by Virgin on 1993-04-01 for DOS and CD-i, and later ported to Macintosh, and Windows. It's the first game in The 7th Guest series. You play an mysterious character in an old haunted mansion who, by solving various puzzles, uncovers the story of an evil toy maker who used his toys to murder children and capture their souls. The story is told though ghostly vignettes which often include clues to the puzzles.
My first experience with this game was at a friend's house shortly after it was released. He had bought the game, but his computer wasn't powerful enough to run it, so, when he launched the program, it just changed DOS prompt foreground color to dark blue, and began playing the intro music, but didn't advance. After his father upgraded their computer, he was able to play, and, by the time I came over again to see it, he had already solved a couple of the early puzzles. We loved how creepy the game was, but we weren't very good at it, so my friend bought The Official Strategy Guide and we used it to get through several of the harder puzzles. However, even with the hint book helping us solve all the puzzles, we were never able to get into the attic. I later played the game in a Windows port, alone in a basement of my cousin's house at night, and got creeped out all over again. This time I had the Internet to help me with the more difficult puzzles, but I still failed to enter the attic after solving the all the other puzzles, and, to this day, I have never been able to enter the attic! I have since learned that the microscope puzzle must be "finished" with the in-game hint book, so, someday I will revisit the game and beat it properly.
I own the Windows port of this game, but haven't beaten it.
Best Version: Windows
— This section contains spoilers! —
- For the time, the game was state of the art. The graphics, sound, music, video, and 3D animation were all extremely impressive. To give you an idea of how far ahead it was, Secret of Mana was state of the art at the time on consoles.
- The story is quite insidious, and, as a teen, I found the game to be a bit scary. Several of the puzzles and animations made me feel uncomfortable.
- There is a pretty good assortment of puzzles that tax different areas of your mind including pattern recognition, lateral thinking, memorization, and more. Also, a good amount of effort has been put toward ensuring the games organically fit the setting. Even a word puzzle doesn't seem out of place.
- Robert Stein III created wonderful art for the game designing a properly creepy mansion, and the modelers created 3D objects that were way ahead of their time.
- George Sanger and Team Fat composed a wonderfully haunting soundtrack, and the additional musical track that can be played on the CD is a nice addition.
- A lot of the puzzles are just classic puzzle: fitting 8 queens on a chessboard, coin flipping mazes, copycat on the piano, etc. Others were derivative of existing games like Lights Out and slider games.
- Navigation through the house and puzzles themselves end up taking about ten times longer than they need to because the animation is so slow, and you can't speed it up or turn it off.
- There were four puzzles that were variations on a theme: the coffin puzzle, Stauff's painting, the mansion puzzle, and the block puzzle. More variety would have been nice.
- The acting is pretty bad.
- The game demanded very impressive hardware for the time.
- A lot of the puzzles are simple memorization or discerning the trick needed to win, and, once solved, become trivial to beat in subsequent play-throughs. This really hurts the replay value.
This art was used for nearly every release, though different platforms cropped it and added platform-specific graphics. The art is impressive (though the mansion is a bit small), the lettering is fantastic, and little touches like the wrought iron gate, moss on the dead tree, and strange silhouette in the attic window make it clear you're going to play a horror game.
- thealmightyguru.com/Reviews/T7G/Index.html - My old shrine, "The Doll House."