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Phantasmagoria
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Reviews & Ratings for
Phantasmagoria (VG) More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A Spooky, Wonderful Adventure!

9/10
Author: James Spaid (gryphonpages@gmail.com) from Petaluma, CA
29 December 2000

It is rare to find a video game of this magnificent quality and design now a days, let alone back in '95! The plot is interesting enough to draw you into the game, and captivating enough to keep you there. Of course, the plot may seem simple and overused to some, but that is the beauty of Roberta Williams's work! In all of her video game titles, including this one, she takes well know tales and puts them together in her own lyrical, unique way, successfully turning something old into something new!

So here it is. A recently married couple, one a successful writer, and the other an accredited photographer, move into an abandoned Elizabethan house on the Massachusetts coastline, searching for peace and quiet for each of them to pursue their crafts, and their lives. But the house holds a dark secret. (What self-respecting abandoned Elizabethan house doesn't?) Why are the locals suspicious of the house? What is behind the locked door to the attic? Why did someone wall up the entry to the house's small church? Who are the people lurking about the carriage-house? What really happened to the previous owner? You may have seen or read of this kind of story before. But have you ever lived it?

And that, dear friends, is the entire basis for this remarkable game. Discovering the clues, unlocking the doors, unfolding the demonic secret of a rash of age-old murders, um... disappearances. But don't think that there is only one way to get from moving day to the heart-wrenching climax. Use your mind! There are multiple ways to solve the puzzles! And if you don't search hard, then you miss clues that, while are not required to finish the game, are required to realize just how tricky Mrs. Williams can be. (Hmmm, now where did that cat go off to? My that rose looks lovely in the moonlight... That cellar holds more than just wine...)

The point and click interface is very simple, probably too simple for seasoned gamers. You move the pointer around. The pointer turns red. Ah! You can do something! That however, is the ONLY reason why this game got a 9 instead of a 10. (Well, that and the, ahem, `bad guy' at the end is. well, to put it simply, corny. It still looks neat though!)

Visually, the game is beautiful. You can actually get the feel of roaming around that creepy old house, the stuffiness of the attic, the dampness of the crypt. The movements of the actors are all... well, acted out of course, so there is little that can be done about the stiffness of how Adrienne walks through the game. The video scenes are remarkable well acted out however, and both Victoria Morsell and David Homb shine, especially in the ending scene. I just hope you don't mind blood, because you'll see plenty of it as you get closer to the house's secret.

And the music! Oh! Such macabre melodies only serve to turn the shivers down your spine into virtual waves!

The game is short, yes. That is IF, you don't take the time to fully explore the game. (Search for Roberta herself! She's in there!) My recommendation: call in sick for work tomorrow, grab some of your favorite snacks, dim the lights, start the game, and by the morning, you'll have defeated one of the greatest and intriguing games of all time!

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Ignore the hype, just play the game

Author: Adam Appel-Prater from United States
25 February 2000

This is a wonderful piece of work, considering the budgetary concerns. True, alot of the early game is simply getting from point A to point B but it isn't a bad trip. Its not as predictable as some would have you believe either. Its pretty graphic in a cheesy Ed Wood type of way. The story does have enough twists in it to make it interesting. As for it being boring, the purpose of any point and click environment is to make you interact with the game. If you really want to play, it has its rewards. I just wish that the FMV scenes would make the lead female character a bit stronger and the blood looked less like raspberry syrup.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Scary, violent, disgusting and still... awesome

9/10
Author: lightcaster1 from Mexico
16 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A great game by Roberta Williams. You play as Adrienne, an writer which moved to a mansion with her husband named Don. After exploring the house you unleash a demon that possess Don, making him a violent person, after that happens strange things start to happen. It has great acting and music, and a ending you may even feel sad after seeing it. Buy this game if you find it but just a warning: The game contains EXPLICIT VIOLENCE AND GORE, SEXUAL THEMES AND AN SUGGESTED RAPE SCENE so.... don't get surprised at this. The youngest age to play this game is as least 13 years, if your parents buy it or you can download it, still it's a great experience from almost 13 years ago, play this game. IS WORTH IT

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Excellent game

10/10
Author: izripzone from United States
14 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really like Phantasmagoria. I love the cast, atmosphere and story. I also love the full motion video characters and music. Victoria Morsell was a really great choice as the leading character. I found it a bit confusing at first. I felt like I was just aimlessly wandering around without purpose but then I started paying closer attention to events, clues and suggestions and then things started to click and make sense. I guess I had a bit of a learning curve to deal with. It has 7 chapters and I started feeling like I had a grip on things by chapter 3-4. My suggestion is play it once to understand it, then play it a second time to enjoy it. Odds are that some things will be different in the second time you play it, so it's worth replaying. I still haven't figured out the ending and it's making me frustrated, in a good way. You need to have patience and imagination to enjoy this game. It's not a fast paced first shooter action game. It has wonderful qualities that will make you laugh, think. roll your eyes and smack your own forehead. I wish the game would have been longer because I enjoy it. Sometimes you just have to turn the world off, sit in privacy and get lost in something.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The scariest game you'll ever play. *SPOILERS*

Author: Jasper van Zyl (jaspervanzyl@usa.net) from Gansbaai, South Africa
24 March 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When "Phantasmagoria" was first released in 1995 it was the most violent game ever to be made, and censorship issues arose from all over the place. People from all over the world despised of the game and the question as to wether this game should even be available in stores arose. When I first played the game I was already knowledgeable that the game was not for sensitive players. Yet, I put the first of the 7 CD's into the CD drive, installed the game and started playing. To my shock, I wish I hadn't...

You play Adrienne Delaney, a bestselling author. You and your husband Don move into an old, deserted mansion, unknowing of its evil, demonic history. Everything is fine at first, but then Adrienne starts getting curious, and so the saga begins... From the first night in the house Adrienne has strange nightmares. Don seems sympathetic, but not for long...

In the house you discover locked doors, rooms behind fireplaces, a baby room with a strange cloud in it, and other unexplained mysteries. You also find two people living in your garage. You slowly but steadily discover the demonic forces of the house, but when you finally unravel the might, it might just be too late...

The game is not only shocking but downright evil. The game brings you shock after shock, and Malcolm's story will haunt you for a long, long time. The game left me having nightmares for weeks, and I won't play it again, that's for sure. Not that the game is bad. It's excellent, really, with a great cast and fantastic writing, brilliant directing and a spooky plot. I won't play it again because of this. It perfectly captures the idea and it showcases heavily on these talented actors. It's just too spooky.

The game is very short for seven CD's, but not very short compared to other computer games. Hardened player will scream from excitement toward the end, where Adrienne has to run for her life, chased by Don.

When me, my brother Jaco and my nephew W.P finished the game and the ending credits started showing, we were too pale and sweaty to say a thing. When the music that comes with it started playing, we simultaneously started dancing without a word. It was only when the music ended that we fell down on the bed laughing. Laughing at what we saw in the game.

Take a piece of advise from somebody who knows: Take this game bit by bit. Or else...

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Not the best gameplay, but very good actors, music and directing

10/10
Author: liderc from Austria
3 February 2000

Well, the gameplay may be not the best, but seen as interactive movie this game can really create atmosphere, especially through the wonderful choir music and the good photography. The director really did good work in the movie sequences. For me, this wasn't a game that I just play until the end and then put it aside, as there are many details (especially in the chase sequence and the fifth chapter) that you can miss when you play it for the first time. The actors are great, Victoria Morsell (Adrienne Delaney) is wonderful, as are all members of the cast. To me, the second part is also good but lacks atmosphere to some degree, possibly because I'm a fan of such "haunted house" stories, and the second part is more a sex and crime thriller.

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Pretty good, better than its sequel

7/10
Author: jadavix from Australia
7 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Phantasmagoria" is an infamous point-and-click adventure game that was supposedly banned in Australia, though I remember seeing it for sale in at least one retailer.

Many of its scenes of violence just seem silly now. The game's macabre sense of humour helps to counterbalance that, however: when an apparently alcoholic woman has a wine bottle rammed through her eye socket and an overweight one is force fed apparently until she dies, you can see it's SUPPOSED to be ridiculous. When the game lets go of humour, there are some cringe-inducingly violent scenes: another woman has her head twisted around in a machine until it breaks, and if you linger too long on one screen, your protagonist will have her head torn apart. The rape scene, probably the game's most controversial moment, is still ugly, though a little improbable: both the parties involved are clothed at the time, leaving you wondering how sex, consensual or otherwise, could have occurred.

Having just played the inferior sequel, "A Puzzle of Flesh", I am obliged to make a comparison. The first title has a more familiar story, but it is told much more consistently, manages the aforementioned humorous tone amid the horror, and even has some genuinely scary moments - one jump scare got me better than anything in any movie with "Insidious" or "The Conjuring" in the title.

The story is a familiar one: a young couple move into a haunted mansion that has apparently has been frozen in time for over a hundred years, when all the bad stuff in the house's history went down. Does anybody in real life purchase a home and not bother to remove any of the old furniture? Wouldn't they at least move some of their own stuff in? In the time honoured tradition of haunted house stories - see "The Amityville Horror", "The Shining", and "Burnt Offerings" - the husband starts to go crazy. Your task is to discover what is wrong with the house before he kills you.

There are quite a few interesting touches, like antiquated devices found around the home triggering memories of the evil man who owned the house: a magician named Zoltan, a more intriguing figure than you may have expected.

It's also less frustrating to play than the sequel, ironically because this game uses live action characters, but interposes them on computer generated backgrounds. These are easier to navigate than the photos of sets were in the sequel, though they are also quite ugly.

Overall, the first Phantasmagoria is still a good game, though as a point-and-click adventure title, it has nothing on the best titles from Lucasarts or even its own company (Sierra), and as a horror game, it's merely average.

My advice is to play the Gabriel Knight series instead.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful fun!

10/10
Author: angel-178 from NJ
24 December 2001

Phantasmagoria is such a wonderful game! Adrienne and Don, a young married couple moved into a mansion once owned by Carno, a famous magician from the past. Spooky things start happening as Adrienne explores the mansion, the grounds, talks to people in the small town of Nipawompsett. This game has a gothic feel to it with the stunning mansion and grounds. I had such a fun time playing this game. I have played it several times and will play it again as I see things that I missed. There's always something new to see. I highly recommend it!

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Pretty good, and kind of freaky

Author: Michael from Tampa, Florida USA
26 March 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Contains Spoiler

It was pretty good overall. The graphic were great and the acting and plot were great. It wasn't scary until Chapter 7 really when you can actually die.

SCARINESS- In Chapter 7, the only reason it is scary is because you are kind of snook up on! Don comes out and begins choking you, kind of freaks the player out, at first I didn't know what to do!!! Of course, after you figure it out and use the drain cleaner on him you now have to get captured and taken to the swinging ax. The hintkeeper wasn't very helpful as he speaks in text and after I read it all Adrienne was dead. The demon kind of freaked me out, running away, and doing the spell. Losing to the demon and Adrienne's face coming off really scared me!

Overall it was a great game! -Michael

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Just not very good

Author: paul51 from United States
26 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Most of what I could say about Phantasmagoria has been said. FMV games were pretty much a new wrinkle when this game was made, so it's to be expected there'd be a few bad decisions made in production. Unfortunately, the errors in judgment are numerous.

One, filming the live action characters against bluescreen and then pasting them into a computer the early 90s. The backgrounds were only slightly higher quality than most of the predecessors by Sierra, so it's rather like low-res Roger Rabbit. You're basically limited to running and rerunning short movements for the main character, interspersed with longer scripted segments when you actually find a more than minorly important hot-spot. Afterward, the character executes her "two steps and then snap to attention" position. This could have been done much better. Only really good thing I can say is the girl has great posture.

The puzzles are relatively simple and very sparse. The old "hunt for the hot spot" routine has never been a big crowd pleaser, even when it's done extremely well (games like Star Trek: Borg handled this as good as any). In fact, the relative size of the game area (about 15-20 locations in the mansion and mansion grounds, 4 or 5 more in the nearby town) make the existing hot spots incredibly hard to find at times.

As has been said, the acting is absolutely abysmal. The main character is by far the best, even somewhat believable. Her husband does great in the first 80% of the game (not saying much - he's barely in it) but when he finally fully succumbs to the demon possessing him, he's the worst in the game by far. I've seen better acting in porn---and, honestly, that's no exaggeration. The remaining actors are on par with the less memorable incidental characters on shows like Starsky and Hutch or Star Trek.

The game does a great job of being spooky, I'll give it that, but then I'm easily spooked. The ending is rather unrewarding as well.

Game gets a C for effort, F for acting. Has some redeeming quality, but the game made most gamers wince even back then. Now, it'd just be laughed at.

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