The 11th Hour (PC)
Can you remember the days when Full Motion Video was going to be THE FUTURE? Games companies shot hours of footage then compressed them badly and tacked a "game" around them. People saw the amazing graphics and ran out to buy them in their tens. Yeah, they never really caught on, did they? Perhaps the best known or most infamous was Sega's 32X game, Night Trap, which the press would have you believe featured naked teenagers being raped by masked filth. This was far from the truth, as the game had you protecting a group of teenage girls having a sleepover at a somewhat unusual house. It was more like an interactive ghost story than a game... and most FMV games find themselves a bit short in the actual game department.
Night Trap. Ban this sick filth!
The 11th Hour is the sequel to The 7th Guest... a game I considered playing for this very advent calendar just a few days ago. Killer7 won out there, but I decided one of those two games had to make it in. That, and I had a hard job finding another game with 11 in the title (although I did find something on the PS2... too late, though...).
At first I thought the game was broken, as I sat looking at a screen with four skulls and a cryptic message. "Come on", I yelled inwardly, "Come oooooonnnn". Then I read the instructions, which said "Click on the X in the skull on the right to start". What? How the hell are you supposed to know that? And it's so dim I could barely even see the thing! No fair!
Come on... surely you can see how I had problems here?
Still, I got past that in the end, but as I sat through the lengthy FMV opening, I wondered if someone had accidentally given me a dodgy porn movie. It was all video with real actors and that, and the female was showing a grand amount of cleavage (very fine cleavage, as it happens) as she clambered over the bloke. Eventually, though, this sequence came to an end and we did actually get to the game.
Once you get started, you uncover one of those games that I hate - the first person point-and-clicker with obscure nonsensical puzzles. I like point-and-clickers where you play an onscreen character, like the Syberia games or the Lucasarts adventures, but stuff like Myst tends to leave me cold for some reason or other.
You what, now.
In The 11th Hour you wander around, led by a bony hand which tells you where you can go and, more often, where you can't. You have a sort of early laptop thing which looks like what I can only describe as a Sinclair ZX DS. This contraption displays cryptic clues that you must use to find things that will progress the story, but they're pretty obscure so good luck with that.
If you come across anything you can play with, the hand turns into an eyeball, and clicking on the object in question might play a short video or open up a puzzle to solve. That's unfortunate, because I'm rubbish at puzzles. One that I found early on was in a library, and involved clicking on books to try and get them sorted into red and green. I must have tried half a dozen times without getting anywhere near. And you have to solve them if you want to progress.
Can't I just take all the red ones out, then all the green ones, then put them back?
The 11th Hour isn't a game I got on with terribly well. I didn't do well at it and I didn't get very far. But to be fair, I was tired when I played it and probably didn't give it the fairest shake. I actually feel more like playing the original game, The 7th Guest, before going back to this. I feel that there's probably something different and decent in here, and I might enjoy discovering that. It's going to have to wait a while, though.