The 11th Hour

(Originally published in the national edition of Computer Currents magazine. Reprinted here with permission of the author.)

by Joe DeRouen

The 11th Hour, by Trilobyte and Virgin Interactive, is the long-awaited sequel to the amazingly popular (and downright scary) horror CD-ROM 7th Guest. It's been over three years since the original topped the software charts, so the world has been waiting for this one for an awfully long time. Was it worth the wait? Yes and no.

Set 70 years after it's predecessor, this four CD-ROM adventure puts the original to shame in terms of graphics, animation, and sound. There's a good plot (Journalist Robin Morales vanishes while investigating the rotting Stauf Mansion; as her colleague and beau Carl Denning, the job of finding her falls to you) and the puzzles are all difficult while still being logical. What's the problem then?

Virgin should have waited a little longer to release The 11th Hour. There are technical problems a-plenty, as evidenced by a 16 page trouble shooting guide included with the game. After loading up the game and going through the configuration process, I had problems with both the video (static at the bottom of the screen) and the audio (voices were scratchy and non-understandable.) These problems were easy enough to fix, thanks to the handy troubleshooting guide, but they were annoying nevertheless. The guide describes these problems in detail and offers good solutions to most, albeit a few do state that there are "no fixes available at this time." From the looks of things, a few more weeks spent in play-testing would have been wisely spent.

Despite those problems, I had a lot of fun with The 11th Hour. Once everything was running, it all ran smoothly and I was able to get down to enjoying the game. The graphics are terrific and the mood is just as haunting as the original. If you have a Pentium system with a local bus video card and a decent sound card, you shouldn't have any major problems with The 11th Hour. Once you get past the configuration process, you'll quickly lose yourself in the mansion's twenty-two beautifully rendered rooms and the intricate puzzles. And if the puzzles prove to be too intricate, you can always access the hint system that Virgin so thoughtfully provided. Once you get into the world of The 11th Hour, you won't soon want to leave. You might regret it later when you're trying to sleep and the lights are off, but you'll enjoy it just the same.

MS-DOS/Windows 95. List price: $59.95. Virgin, 800/874-4607.

Copyright (c) 1996, Joe DeRouen. All rights reserved.

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File last modified on September 19th, 1996