|Developer(s)||ICOM Simulations, Inc.|
|Release date||1986 (Mac)|
|Arcade system||Arcade System Missing|
|Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough|
Uninvited is a haunted house "point-and-click" adventure video game originally for the Macintosh, released in 1986 by ICOM Simulations. The unnamed hero must find the way through an abandoned house in order to rescue a sibling. The quest involves magic and solving logical puzzles while discovering sinister secrets of the house's former inhabitants.
The game uses the MacVenture engine that was introduced in ICOM's previous game, Deja Vu: a Nightmare Comes True. It is notable as the only MacVenture that takes place in the present day.
History of releases
A number of ports were made, including a version for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991. Two years later, a complete rewrite for Microsoft Windows was released. For some time it was claimed that there would be a sequel on the NES, but it never materialized. Employees at Infinite Ventures (maintainers of the MacVenture game series) indicate that no such game was ever planned.
Setting and gameplay
The player regains consciousness from a car crash in front of a large, old mansion. The player's sibling (a younger brother in the computer version but an older sister in the NES version) is gone, and the car is soon lost, as it bursts into flames. The only option is to enter the mansion looking for your sibling – and for help.
The main house consists of two floors and a tower, most parts being in early 20th century style. Some rooms (e.g. the servant's bedroom) have newer decoration, suggesting that a younger person lived in that particular place. No help is to be found, as there is not a single living soul inhabiting the house. It isn't long before the player is greeted by the first undead dweller, however.
It gradually becomes evident that the house once belonged to a sorcerer with a number of apprentices. Dracan, the most talented apprentice, became corrupt and killed the other inhabitants with his magic, resulting in the house becoming haunted.
Aside from the house, there are three backyard buildings to explore: the observatory, where some of the final events take place; the greenhouse, which is not as infertile as it first seems; and the chapel, which leads into a cemetery maze. Several places are guarded by magical creatures, including apparitions, hellhounds, and zombies, as well as some more unconventional entities; one is a tiny demon that flies by periodically, holding a key.
The quest to rescue the player's sibling is mostly a matter of gaining access to the locked-up or guarded parts of the estate. As in the other MacVenture games, there is a time limit; in this case, the evil presence of the mansion gradually takes control, and the player may eventually end up as a zombie. This element is partially absent from the NES version, as it is instead caused by a useless item that may be avoided. Since the story largely revolves around magic, many of the game's puzzles seem illogical. Hints for these and bits of the background story are unraveled in the various diaries and scrolls found within the grounds. Still, because the gameplay is very non-linear, the ending is somewhat abrupt.
As with the other NES MacVenture games, Uninvited now had music and elements of the written narration and storyline were altered, including these:
- In the NES version, if you use the phonograph in the Game room (Rec room in original versions), you'll hear a broken-record version of the main theme from Shadowgate, another NES-ported game in the MacVenture series. (A similar gag appears in another point-and-click game, Maniac Mansion.)
- As mentioned above, the sibling trapped in the mansion is changed from a younger brother to an older sister in the NES version.
- As with the other NES ports, the game texts were severely simplified, in some cases also adding hints or elucidations for the gameplay. As an example, a hallway picture reads as follows in the NES version: It's a small, (sic) painting of a young fellow.
- In the original game, the address was, "Master Crowley, 666 Blackwell Road, Loch Ness, Scotland". However, at the time the game was released, Nintendo had stringent policy necessitating the removal of any remotely offensive material. Rather than create a new address, it was simply shortened to "Master Crowley". This is likely a reference to occultist Aleister Crowley, but Nintendo (perhaps unknowingly) allowed the name to remain in the game. Other changes that may relate to censorship issues, are pentagrams turned into stars (or, in one case, a ruby) and a cross into a chalice (while another cross that only served as decoration was removed altogether).
- In addition to the game texts being simplified for the NES port, some of the texts for the deaths were edited or altered due to them being rather graphic in terms of description.
German magazine Data Welt praised the Amiga version's user-friendliness, good graphics and particularly the atmospheric sound, calling the game (translated:) "excellent" and "even better than Deja Vu". (No score was given.) Computer Gaming World found the game to be enjoyable and innovative, praising the game's use of graphics and almost exclusive use of the mouse as a way of eliminating frustration. As such, the game was described as "much easier to work with than pure text or text and graphic adventure games." Game reviewers Hartley and Pattie Lesser complimented the game in their "The Role of Computers" column in Dragon #116 (1986), calling it "a truly horrifying adventure game and mystery that’ll leave you shivering in the dark".
- Crockford, Douglas. The Expurgation of Maniac Mansion. Retrieved on June 5, 2006
- Nintendo's Era of Censorship
- Tai, Th. (July/August 1987 issue), "Uninvited", Data Welt: 174–175
- Wagner, Roy (Aug-September 1987), "Uninvited", Computer Gaming World: 40–41
- Lesser, Hartley and Pattie (December 1986). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (116): 69–76.