Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
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The Mansion of Hidden Souls Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 20%
The Mansion of Hidden Souls
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The Mansion of Hidden Souls The Mansion of Hidden Souls The Mansion of Hidden Souls The Mansion of Hidden Souls
  • Review Score:

  • D
Mansion of Hidden Souls on the Sega CD was one point-and-click adventure that I found next to impossible to play. It's not that the game was difficult but that it clearly was too much for the Sega CD to handle. The heavily pixelated visuals and slideshow framerate gave me a throbbing headache in less than five minutes. When I found out that a "remake" was on the Saturn, I thought that was the perfect way to see what worked about it without inferior hardware getting in the way. Man, I was so wrong.

First of all, THE Mansion of Hidden Souls (we can't ignore the article here) is NOT a remake of the Sega CD game; it's actually the sequel. In this one, you are already trapped in the mansion as a butterfly (which is what happened in the first game if you took too long to complete it). You and a friend have been summoned by the Elder of the house (the protagonist from the first game) to investigate strange goings-on in the mansion. The story doesn't actually come into play until you are halfway through which is a long time to go without knowing what's going on. Worst of all, it lacks the stakes of the original. An attempt to rescue your sister is much more compelling than just wandering around for a while until the plot shows up.

Mansion of Hidden Souls (Saturn)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The gameplay (such as it is; I've never been a fan of point-and-click games) is largely the same as the first game. There are three changes; I wouldn't call them improvements. First is that the timer is absent. In the first game, which ending you got, good or bad, depended on how fast the game was completed. Here, the pace can be more leisurely, and nothing is affected. Second is that, while one could save anywhere in the first game, here there is only one place to save in the whole game. The backtracking to the save point became very irritating very quickly. Third is that conversations with the other occupants of the mansion are no longer one-way. At certain points, you can say "Yes" or "No" (or "No Comment" in Hard Mode) which can impact your investigation in minor ways. While the attempt to make the frequent conversations more interactive is appreciated, the stakes are still too low to care.

The original game pulled off a haunting atmosphere with its limited means, and the sequel does that as well to some extent. The rooms have more personality than they did in the original. The soundtrack has a few good tunes to set the mood as well as some lame ones. The fact that all the conversations are with cheesy-looking talking heads this time (you see those instead of their butterfly forms for 90% of the game) really hurts the mood, making the talks corny instead of chilling. At least the game runs well at a solid framerate with crisp visuals; I didn't get the migraines that I did with the original.

Both Mansion of Hidden Souls games hurt me, just in different ways. Mansion of Hidden Souls on Sega CD had technical deficiencies that made me sick while playing it. The Mansion of Hidden Souls on Saturn was so boring that I had to struggle to keep myself awake while playing it. Neither game is really worth anyone's time. There are much better Halloween-y point-and-click games on the Saturn to choose from like Lunacy and D. Toss these at the bug zapper, and move on.
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