Ah, memories. There are moments in my life which I remember quite clearly, things which can instantly be recalled – I know the first Star Trek episode I ever saw, the first James Bond movie I watched, where I was the first time I ever played Super Mario Bros., the moment I was first ever eaten by a grue, and calling the computer software store repeatedly to find out when The 11th Hour would finally hit store shelves.
The 11th Hour, developed by Trilobyte, was a game I was hugely excited for, having finally forced myself to get through its predecessor, The 7th Guest. The first game in the series about sinister toymaker Henry Stauf and his haunted house, The 7th Guest is one of those titles which made an immediate impact on me the first time I played it.
Never being a fan of scary games, books, movies, television shows, etc., I was somehow still compelled by the box to play the game (score one for marketing) and made the mistake of doing so alone, at night, in an empty house. The extended opening sequence gives players the background story on the sick and twisted Henry Stauf, a ne'er-do-well turned murderer turned rich toymaker. Featuring real actors hamming it up and drawn backgrounds, the opening is both intriguing and vaguely disturbing. Once it ends, you find yourself in the mansion of Stauf years after a fateful, and deadly, party. You are not so much an actual person as an entity without form known simply as Ego. You travel through the house often, but not always, as a person would, but without a defined body.
Your job is to go from room to room, solving a wide array of puzzles and piecing together what happened that fateful night. These puzzles include things like moving pieces on a chessboard, solving word puzzles, and going through a maze or two. As you enter new rooms and solve the puzzles, you are rewarded with the unlocking of new locations to visit and more ghostly visions of what happened. It is played somewhat for laughs and yet, at times, quite spooky.