THE 7TH GUEST
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on June 23, 2017
Is it Friday already? Time flies when you're having fun, not to mention a timemachine! If I remember correctly, last we met Dennis took you on a trip and told you about planning his revenge on me for giving him too much alcohol. It seems he somehow managed to conclude, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that I was the reason for him not feeling well after our latest bender. I have only one thing to say about that: If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Or, in this case: if you can't handle your alcohol, stay out of my drinks cabinet! Anyhow, the daft dodo seems hell-bent on taking revenge on me for him not being able to hold his drink.
What he doesn't know is that I've been trained by some of the best ninja's of their time (hey, it pays to be the master of time and space!), so I can become one with the shadows and move around unseen and unheard if I want to. Upon returning from his latest adventure, I heard him mumbling about a grand plan to put me in my place once and for all, so I turned to my new best friend; our super-computer, PAL 9001. You see, I explained to PAL that, in fact, everything that has gone wrong up till now including, but not limited to the machete that is still wedged in PAL's circuitry, is somehow Dennis' fault and instructed him to teach the dear boy a lesson. What I didn't know is that PAL's circuitry is so damaged that he has developed a kind of digital amnesia.
As a result, PAL sent Dennis to another dimension, but he cannot remember where he sent him. So now, PAL is searching frantically for any signs that might indicate where Dennis may have gone. And since I cannot help him with that, I thought it might be time for us to blast off once more into the past for another look at a game from yesteryear. So let's fasten our seatbelts and put the pedal to the medal. 1993, here we come!
It was in this year that a company called Trilobyte launched one of their most critically acclaimed games: The 7th Guest. In this game, players had to solve puzzles in order to defeat Henry Stauf, an eccentric toymaker with a dark past. You see, Stauf had once come to a little town called Harley-on-the-Hudson as a vagrant. On one faithful night, he kills a woman and steals her purse. Later that night, Stauf has a vision of a beautiful doll, which he begins to carve immediately upon awaking. The doll is so beautiful that it is noticed by one of the townspeople, who eventually buys the doll from Stauf and gives it to her child. More and more children want one of his toys and Stauf starts his own business, becoming insanely rich in the process. After a while, the children who own one of the Stauf toys, fall ill and die eventually. This is when Stauf retreats to his big mansion and is never seen again.
A few years later, Stauf invites 6 people to visit him at his mansion, promising them the fulfillment of their hearts' desire. As it turns out, only one of them will have this wish granted, because Stauf tells them that there is a 7th guest somewhere in the house. If one of the guests manages to bring him this uninvited guest, a small boy named Tad, he will grant them their fondest wish. Each of the invited guests set out to find Tad and the game begins. Soon thereafter, almost all of the guests starts plotting, scheming and fighting each other, resulting in the deaths of most of them that very same night.
As Ego wakes up in Stauf's mansion, he notices that it is deserted, apart from the ghostly apparitions that tell the story of that fateful night, all these years ago. He has no memory of how he got there or, for that matter, what he is doing there in the first place. Ego will have to solve multiple puzzles that Stauf has left throughout the house in order to unravel the mystery of what happened there and get the hell out of Dodge. eeeehm. I mean Harley-on-the-Hudson.
The 7th Guest almost singlehandedly put CD-Rom games on the map. People were astonished that any game would need not one, but two CD's in order to fit! Nowadays, a game of 1400 Mb's is nothing out of the ordinary, but back in 1993 it was almost unheard of. Why the 7th Guest needed all that space became quickly apparent when you started the game. The intro and the game's many cutscenes were made by combining rendered backgrounds with Full Motion Video of the actors who played the various characters. In short, the 7th Guest looked absolutely awesome!
The gameplay was simple enough; you had to guide Ego through the mansion by clicking where you wanted to go. Every so often, you would come across a puzzle and the pointer would change from a skeleton hand into a skull with a pulsing brain. When you clicked on a puzzle, the screen would change into a full view of the object containing the puzzle and you would get a cryptic hint about what you needed to accomplish. The puzzles of The 7th Guest ranged from fairly simple to insanely difficult and were all expertly crafted.
The soundtrack was also a thing worth noting. Each of the characters had their own theme and these themes would be combined whenever two characters interacted with each other. Stauf was also a constant in the game; he would sneer at you for taking too long at solving a puzzle and would mock you every chance he got. Together with the creepy sounding background music, it made playing The 7th Guest a truly awesome experience! It is a game that I have played a lot since it first came out and continue to do so to this very day. It is one of those timeless gems that, while computer graphics have improved quite a lot since then, still holds its own. I personally believe that anyone who loves puzzle games and a creepy atmosphere needs to have played this game at least once, preferably more!
And with that opinion, I am afraid our little time adventure has run its course for this week. I really have to go back and figure out where (or when) the hell Dennis is at the moment. I hope that PAL 9001 has come up with at least a few clues. If he hasn't, I must take it upon myself to try and repair PAL's memory banks, which could lead to a worldwide catastrophe. I cannot go into detail about how or why this could happen, but believe me when I say that, if the world should end violently in the next few days, I am really, really, REALLY sorry!
THE 7TH GUEST
Trilobyte & Virgin Interactive