Format reviewed: Philips CD-I
Submitted by: Matthew 'Keith' Bridge
The 7th Guest is a puzzle-adventure game which takes place inside an abandoned mansion. Venture into the 22 rooms of the spooky mansion, solve over 20 mind-bending puzzles to unravel a tale of revenge and horror that took place in the 1930s.
The owner of the mansion was Henry Stauf, a famous maker of children's toys. Once a homeless drifter and thief, influenced by a vision in a dream, Henry invented a wondrous doll, so incredibly life-like that it sold like wildfire. Stauf's toys became popular overnight bringing fame and fortune and changing his rags to riches. But things took a tragic turn when owners of the doll became infected with a fierce and deadly virus. None of those children recovered.
After this turn of events Stauf secluded himself inside his estate, stopped making his toys and never came into contact with the outside world for a long time. Something very strange happened when six people receive an invitation to a party at the mansion. By solving the riddles inside Stauf's “fun house”, you'll delve into the past to learn what happened to them, and the mysterious 7th guest, on that fateful night.
The game is played in first person perspective with a point-and-click interface featuring horror-themed animated cursors (skeletons, bulging-eye skulls etc.). It is one of the first games to be released on the then-new CD-Rom media. The graphics are fully rendered in SVGA, and real actors and actresses bring the story to life during numerous full-motion video cut scenes. The visuals are accompanied by an original, orchestrated musical score.
To finish the game, you must solve the puzzles in Stauf's manor; each solved puzzle will unlock new rooms or new movie sequences to watch. The puzzles are quite varied; there's the classic “eight queens puzzle”, another puzzle where you need to compose a sentence by rearranging letters, and others. If you get stuck, you can visit the library; a book within will give you hints on the puzzle. If the hints aren't enough, the puzzle will solve itself automatically once you consult the book enough times.