I-Mockery
Please don't feed PickleMan
Please don't feed PickleMan
About Us Store Advertising Contact New to I-Mockery? Register an account and join in the pickled fun! New to I-Mockery? Register an account and join in the pickled fun!
Please, don't grab the bag. It's just a catchy name.



 

Uninvited!

Mac users have typically had a harder time than PC users when it comes to gaming. Whenever a new game would come out for PCs, Mac users would have to wait months, maybe even years, before they would see the same product. On a few rare occasions, though, the tables would turn, and it would be the Mac users who got to experience a game first before subsequent ports brought it to the rest of us. No, I'm not talking about Marathon, dammit. I'm sick of hearing about that crummy game, people. Doom is better! Anyway, no, I'm talking about a horror-themed adventure game called Uninvited.

This is a shot from the NES version of the game; I'll be talking more about the other versions of the game later. The basic story is that you and your older sister are out for a drive one day when a shadowy figure appears in the road. You swerve to avoid it, slam into a wall, and wake up to find your sister gone and your wrecked car in front of a sinister-looking mansion. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Just replace the words "older sister" with "daughter", and "mansion" with "foggy town full of nurses and split-headed dogs" and you've got the plot of Silent Hill. Interesting, no?

However, it isn't Silent Hill that the game most resembles, as it is the precursor to the infamous NES adventure game, Shadowgate. For those of you not in the know, that means that you'll be viewing the world via still images from the first person perspective, and interacting with a series of commands like "examine," "take," "hit," etc. It also means that you'll spend a lot of your time dead.

You see, in games like Uninvited and Shadowgate, you're presented with puzzles that need a' solvin', but more often than not, a wrong guess will mean a horrific death for your character. Hell, the second room in Shadowgate saw your character falling to his death just for picking up a damn book. Sometimes, though, even when you were sure you had worked out the answer to a situation, you could find yourself messing up because of some minor detail that escaped your notice. Early on in the game, for instance, your path is blocked by a nasty ghost, but you manage to find a can of "No Ghost" in a closet. Perfect, I thought to myself, now I can get past that ghost. The ghost showed up, and I used the No Ghost on it...

Oh come on. I need to tell him to do that? What kind of a nimrod is this guy? Fine, I'll just OPEN the spray and...

Dammit all. I want a do-over!

Luckily, the creators had the foresight to add such a feature to the game for its NES debut. In the other versions of the game, you had to frequently save the game because you never knew what sort of BS was going to get you killed in the next few moments, but in the NES version, after dying you'd be given the option of continuing a few moves before you met your untimely demise so you could rethink your strategy (my strategy was "guess").

That spray can bit was probably the worst case of micromanaging the player character's actions, though. The rest of the time, the gameplay was simplified somewhat from the original version; whereas to light something with a match before, you would have to OPEN the matchbox, OPERATE the match, and then OPERATE the lit match on whatever object you wanted to light, but the NES version cut that down to just USE the matchbox, and then select the object to be lit.

Of course, that was just one problem with the game. The biggest obstacle has to be the somewhat illogical puzzles. In one memorable moment...

Hmm, that is a problem. Wait, I picked up some salami back in the kitchen. I can use that to distract the hungry pups while I slip inside.

Oh, for... It turns out that you need to use a magic spell that causes a thunderclap, which scares the dogs away. How could I have been so foolish? I didn't need to feed the slavering canines; I needed to manipulate the weather in order to get past them! Boy is my face red!

Anyway, as I was saying earlier, there are a few differences between NES port and the original Macintosh game. When it was first released for the Mac back in 1986, it was entirely in black and white, but luckily, the NES port that came a scant five years later was in full color, and is much easier to look at than, say, the DOS port.

The NES version also had music, although it's hard to say whether or not the music adds to the gameplay. When the game tells you that you're in a "quiet hallway", but some jaunty NES music is blaring, it hurts the mood a little.

The PC version was also far verbose in its descriptions of things. In some cases, this is probably due to the developers taking out language that Nintendo-playing kids aren't likely to understand (for shame), in other cases, the more detailed death scripts had to be a little less detailed to make it through Nintendo standards. Consider the following death sequence in the NES version:

Ouch. I hate when that happens. Now, consider the same death as it is described in the PC version:

Yikes! Now I bet you'll think twice about not lighting those candles.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure the NES version includes at least one death scene that isn't present in the PC version: at one point, a very possessive ghost of a former servant appears and prevents you from looting his secret stash. I decided to use the HIT command because I find myself trying to take out my frustrations on just about everything in this game, but I'm told that my mighty punch passes right through the misty apparition, and life goes on. Not so on the NES:

What a jerk. All I wanted to do was beat him up and take his stuff. Freaky picture, though.

Not all of the deaths are scary, though.

Really? The jugular? It's just napping peacefully. Shouldn't it at least be lunging at the camera like all the other monsters?

Anyway, it seems to me like the main attraction of the game is the many ways to die. The game definitely likes to subject you to numerous deaths, many of them unavoidable without either reading a guide or having a sixth sense for odd puzzles. Plus, it's not unusual to find guides for this game that map out all the different ways you can die or be killed. Personally, I find the death scene music to be creepy, even though it's only three or four notes played over and over again, and so this seems like an ideal scary game for the Halloween season. After all, frustration is scary, right?

-Dr. Boogie
 


[Download Uninvited for the PC! (with patch for Windows)]

[Download Uninvited - The NES Game!]

note: To play either of these games you'll need to download the
appropriate emulators which can be found basically anywhere.


If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:


Chiller: The Arcade Game!

AND


A Nightmare On Elm Street:
Freddy's Forgotten PC Game!


SUGGEST THIS TO A FRIEND!
Recipient Email Address:
Your Name:
Your Email Address:
      


back