THE 11TH HOUR
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on July 6, 2018
I've had a very interesting couple of weeks, dear readers. First, I get caught in Dennis' infernal contraption which resulted in a very painful experience. And then to make matters worse, The damn thing spun out of control, burying itself deep in the earth. How deep, I hear you ask? Well, about 1800 miles deep! Now, the more observant among you will now realize that our earth has, yet again, escaped a cataclysmic event. A few hundred miles deeper and I would have hit the earth's core, which would have resulted in a not-so-pretty sight, let me assure you!
Luckily, I managed to save us all from extinction by running very, very fast against the direction in which Dennis' harrowing hexahedron was spinning and managed to slow it down. This resulted in a slightly elliptical path as I journeyed further down. This may also be the reason why the beer bottles that Dennis so thoughtfully threw down the hole didn't break on their way down. And most importantly, it's the one and only reason (besides my super human effort, of course) that any of us are still alive today!
Now, climbing out of the hole was no option. For one, the walls of the shaft were far too brittle for me to hold on to. Secondly, you try climbing anything higher than a very small cardboard box when you're constantly being bombarded with empty beer bottles. Oh yes, did I mention THAT THEY WERE ALL EMPTY?!?! DAMN YOU DENNIS!!!! You see, being the thoughtful boy (though not too bright at times) he is, Dennis even opened the bottles for me. So there I was, hotter than a Habanero pepper in sunny Death Valley, truly glad to see a little liquid libation coming my way, only to find that all the beer had spilled out of the bottles on their journey down!
Luckily, I spied with my little eye, something odd... Believe it or not, it was a door! And not just any door, it was the super-secret escape steam room from one of the very first Big Red HQ's I ever built, back when I was still alone and thought it would be a good idea to have a HQ buried deep into the earth. I erected a perfectly planned sauna and steam room to enjoy with some of my... important feminine guests and it came out perfectly. Only problem was that my base was built on a minor fault line, so I had to abandon the place after some strenuous nightly activity triggered an earthquake.
Nevertheless, I managed to make my way back to the earth's surface through the ruins of my former HQ and hitch-hiked a ride back to our current Big Red HQ. Sadly, I had to kill the driver and dump his body in the woods (for which I am truly, truly sorry!), because no one may know our HQ's location. That's why it's a secret... When I eventually got there, Dennis was nowhere to be found (as per usual) and the place was a right mess. So, after ordering my crew to tidy the place up, I'm now ready to undertake another trip through time. Our destination today is 1995, and the game we're looking for is a creepy puzzle/ adventure game called... the 11th Hour!
Released in November of 1995 for Microsoft Windows by Trilobyte and Virgin Interactive Entertainment, the 11th Hour was the sequel to the critically acclaimed "The 7th Guest", which was released two years prior. The 11th Hour obviously drew inspiration from its predecessor, in that the game followed the same basic structure. The player had to solve a number of puzzles to find out more about the story and defeat the games antagonist, which happens to be the nefarious Henry Stauf in both games.
The story of the 11th Hour is set some sixty years after the events of The 7th Guest, in 1995. Somehow, the evil that is Henry Stauf has returned once more to play its twisted games and corrupt the minds of people. In the 11th Hour, you take the role of Carl Denning, reporter extraordinaire and the host of a crime show called "Case Unsolved". One day, Carl receives a package, containing "The Gamebook", which is a state of the art portable computer (in 1995, that is). When he turns on the machine, he immediately is shown a video in which a heartfelt cry for help is being uttered by Carl's producer, a woman named Robin Morales. Now, aside from being his producer, Robin has also "solved Carl's big case" more than a few times, if you catch my drift... What? Yes, of course I mean they were lovers and slept together, what else would I mean? Now be quiet and drink your soda! I'm sorry for this intrusion, ladies and gentlemen, but some members of my crew are not that big on subtlety. Nevertheless, Carl decides to find out what's happened to Robin and sets out on an investigation that will change his life forever!
The 11th Hour, like its predecessor, made use of Full Motion Video. Unlike the 7th Guest, many of the video scenes in the 11th Hour were shot on location, as opposed to the extensive blue screen approach taken by the first game. The graphics engine was updated as well, making for a much better video quality. The puzzles, being the main portion of the game, were all intricately planned and were of a somewhat higher difficulty level than in the 7th Guest. Also, the 11th Hour had three endings, each one different from the rest. Which ending the player got to see, depended on one single decision, made at the very end of the game.
Although the basic premise of the 11th Hour didn't vary much from that of the 11th Hour in terms of gameplay, the game really managed to hold its own. The eerie environments, the cool videos and thrilling story made for a truly cool gaming experience that managed to pull me back in quite a couple of times over the years. Even now, I find myself wondering if it isn't about time I gave the game another whirl. I simply love the Full Motion Video games of the 90's and personally think it is a shame that the genre faded into the background over the years. Oh well, maybe we'll be so lucky as to see Trylobite actually picking up where they left off and bring us another one of their incomparable interactive movie games in the 7th Guest/11th Hour universe. I, for one, can't wait until they do!
Sadly, that's all the time we have for this week! I'm grateful to be able to ride with you once again, dear readers, and hope you will join us in (I hope) two weeks time, when Dennis will take you on yet another adventure. Or, and this is more probable, will very incoherently try tell our crew that they will have to do it, because he is: a) not mentally and physically able to do it himself or b) still too drunk to drive the blasted thing! Nevertheless, I would like to thank you all for visiting and hope to see you again real soon!
THE 11TH HOUR
Trilobyte & Virgin Interactive