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Monday, February 2, 2009

I have no mouth and I must scream

It is not very often that you can play a game that truly investigates the fears of the human mind. I have no mouth and I must scream is such a game. It is 1996 adventure game based on the 1966 Harlan Ellison's short story of the same title. In fact, Ellison worked on the script of the game and even gave his voice to AM the supercomputer featured in the story.

The story is different from book and centers around the characters imprisoned by AM. AM is a supercomputer created by the joinning of the AIs of the three superpowers at the end the cold war. AM started a nuclear war that killed all mankind but kept 5 people alive to torture them for all eternity for his amusement. After 109 years he decides to give each of these characters the opportunity to participate, in what AM is calling, his "little game". You play as each of these characters to unravel their personal tragedies, fears and shortcomings in 5 distinct stories. After the completion of all the stories you get to play as any of character for the game's finale.

Despite the game being old it manages to suck you into its nightmarish world of fear, madness and tricky soul complexes that leave you with a sick feeling. This is no game for the faint of heart, or those easily disturbed, since it contains highly depressing scenes and some of the stories will leave you strange feeling for a long time. Each of the characters has to solve his/her own story to achieve personal salvation from their nightmares, be it either guilt, or fear, or madness, or anything else. There are many ethical dilemmas through the game and the player is free to take his own path leading to different outcomes.

The graphics help to the overall gloomy presentation of the game with appropriate colors and scenery for each of the stories. There are other characters that you talk to, that are either people from your past, or manifestations of AM himself. The music is fitting and is different for each character. In terms of difficulty the game manages to be challenging but at the same time does not distract the player from the story or the atmosphere. The gameplay involves conversation decisions and inventory-related puzzles. There are many locations to visit and many items to use.

I highly recomend playing this game to anyone who enjoys a good story and a deeper experience than most of the superficial games of today. An intense look at the human nightmares and the evil that we are capable for as a species. An excellent example of fine adventure gaming.


Eraserheadx said...

Great little game (although a bit buggy).

I think it would make a great movie!

mastorak said...

I did not stumble upon many bugs. I played the game through scummvm but I do not think this had anything to do with it.
I only remember two times where the cursor or the character were not visible and I could not perform an action but that was it really.