A year or two ago, I remember visiting Mystery Manor, not knowing much about adventure games. I had heard of Lighthouse, Amber, and most of the old classics, but I did not know many of the titles that I am now familiar with today. While browsing the Winecellar, a game called Ghosts caught my eye. I looked at the screenshots, and thought the game looked interesting. But I had no real plans to play it, and I didn’t know how hard it was to find. Just recently, I started a long list of games I wanted to collect and play. Ghosts was not even at the top of my list. But, one way or another, I was going to play it. I just happened to obtain a copy, by chance. I was lucky – and I had no idea what was in store for me. Though I’m not sure if I’ve seen all there is to see (and heard all there is to listen to) in Ghosts, I’m content. I will continue to go back to it again and again, I’m sure. Ghosts is not a regular adventure game. You don’t have to hunt endlessly for keys and solve puzzles. You can explore Ghosts at your own pace, with the help of the excellent actor and masterful storyteller, Christopher Lee.
The graphics are excellent, considering the game was made in 1994. I experienced no technical problems. The interface is incredibly simple, making for easy gameplay. The only distraction is that the screen is a bit small, and you can still see all the other windows that you have open at the bottom of the screen. The rest of it is black. But you forget about all of this because Ghosts is so immersive. Unlike Scratches and other horror games, this does not try too hard to be scary. It simply is. It’s not your typical “turn-the-lights-off, turn-the-volume-up” horror game. And I loved it because of that.
There is practically no music in the game, except for the opening title (a rather heart-pounding theme), and an enchanting music box that sounds much like a solemn funeral on a rainy day. Absolutely perfect for the game, isn’t it? Christopher Lee’s voice is almost music in itself…there’s something haunting about it. Christopher Lee’s stunning narrations of various stories, and descriptions of items, contribute to the overall scary feel of this amazing game. It’s not so much suspenseful as it is captivating…
Ghosts is in no way the game for you if you do not like to sit and listen. There are many videos to watch, and a good number of books to read. There are so many things to look at – up close – but not so many items to interact with. This makes for an incredibly detailed environment. However, there is a lot to listen to, and many photographs to examine. They are not necessary to “complete” the game, but why bother playing it if you want to ignore its whole point? Clicking on an object may or may not lead you to a fascinating story behind it all, narrated by Christopher Lee. This reminded me of The Twilight Zone. Though long, it holds your interest long enough to forget about the object you just clicked on, upon which the story is based. After finishing the story, you are suddenly taken back to the object, and are at first surprised by it, but then you remember it and see it in a whole new light, because you have just learn of its history. Very creepy…
The interesting thing about it is that, aside from Christopher Lee’s fictitious character Dr. Marcus Grimalkin, most of the researchers and experts interviewed are real people. You will hear actual accounts of ordinary people who have experienced the extraordinary. You will see regular photos with peculiar and haunting properties… And you will have to decide for yourself whether the stories are fact, or fiction.
Ghosts is aimed at a very specific audience. You’ll either love it or dislike it – though I suspect most serious gamers out there will like it or love it. Ghosts is like an interactive storybook. It is not so much an adventure game as it is a virtual encyclopedia of the supernatural. Are you interested in ghosts? Do you have tons of ghost tales, haunted directories, and collections of “true” ghost stories scattered around your bookcase? Do you love adventure games? If the answer to these questions is yes, you’ll love Ghosts. Ghosts has it all. It is both a game and a collection of interesting stories, spiced up with the tasteful narration of Christopher Lee. There is a lot to learn from this game. Good luck finding it, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
One last word: I will admit to quickly putting down most games that don’t catch my interest right away. This was not so with Ghosts. I kept at it, and I must say, I personally found this game to be very interesting. It will give you the chills every time you play it. Something as normal as the door closing behind you as you exit a room can give you the creeps. I’m not easily frightened, but even that scared me. I guess that’s part of the magic of Ghosts. So, do you dare find out what’s in store for you? You don’t know what you’re missing out on if you don’t play Ghosts. This game is a true classic, and should not be overlooked in any way.
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