Ahead of Its Time with an Excess of Pieces – PC – Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh – 1996

TitlePhantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh
PC
Sierra On-Line
Genre: Point-and-Click Horror/Sci-Fi
1996

Anyone who has talked with me about video games for an extended amount of times has stumbled on my love of FMV games. It’s probably due to the mixture of cinema and the interactivity of the medium, but something has always intrigued me about the jump to using live actors and CGI to bring games to the ‘next level’.

About three years ago, I put together a piece on a full-motion video game called Phantasmagoria, a game that was developed and published by prominent adventure game designer and Sierra On-Line luminary Roberta Williams. After the immense success of creating a video game that was aimed squarely at a more mature audience, it was only logical that a sequel would be developed; that’s the way that media works and Sierra did not disappoint in delivering another game to the short-lived franchise.

Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh appeared on shelves a year after the original. Despite not being helmed by Williams this time around- the reins had been passed to a colleague of hers, Lorelei Shannon who wrote and directed- the sequel’s horrific box art and correlation to its controversial predecessor gave it the perfect setup to once again break records. The issue with following up groundbreaking work, however, is finding new ground to strike in a novel way. On the surface, this game seems ready to deliver the goods.

Once it’s open and the gears start turning, though, does the puzzle fit together or are there are few pieces missing that keep the final product from being as iconic as the first? Continue reading

When Film and Games Collide – PC – Phantasmagoria – 1995

Phantasmagoria
(c) 1995
Sierra Online
Genre: Point and Click Adventure/Horror

Video game controversy is something I’ve been very intrigued by since the days of Lara Croft and her ever-expanding polygons back on the Playstation.  As many of my gaming cohorts know, I’m also a huge fan of horror games.  Unsurprisingly, these two things go hand in hand more often than most people think, or at least they used to.  While most people know of the Night Trap controversy that contributed to the ESRB ratings we know of today, another game came out on the PC around the same time that had some heckles raised: Phantasmagoria.  Really, though, how does a controversial game from the mid-90s hold up on the controversy scale nowadays? Continue reading