A Fortnight of Fright: Shivers

Posted: October 23, 2011 in Retro
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As Halloween night draws near, Chad has taken it upon himself to dig into the vaults to bring you some of his favorite horror-themed video games in his Fortnight of Fright. Can you handle the madness? Read on, if you dare!

Baby, It’s Cold Inside

Back in the 1990s, Myst and the 7th Guest made the first-person point-and-click adventure game, games with minimal character interaction and a focus on puzzling, a booming genre on the PC. Douglas Adams would term these games a “beautiful void” due to their lovely CG graphics and general loneliness. You couldn’t turn a corner in a software store without a wall of these games staring you down; everyone was jumping on the bandwagon, and a lot of them weren’t very good. However, there were some exceptions to this – Sega’s Obsidian, Presto’s Journeyman Project, and Sierra’s Shivers series were quite good. Now, Sierra already had its fingers in the mystery/horror pies with Gabriel Knight and Phantasmagoria, and Shivers formed the oft-forgotten third part of the Sierra horror trinity.

So anyway, the plot of Shivers kicks off as your friends double-dog dare you to spend the night in a haunted museum while they presumably head out to Crystal Lake for a night of sex, pot, and getting machete’d. In any case, you break-and-enter into Professor Windlenot’s museum. Soon after this you find the professor himself, who has been dead for some time at the hands of malevolent spirits known as the Ixupi. These serve as the game’s antagonists, and if you aren’t careful, they will flat-out murder you. Yes, in the classic Sierra adventure tradition, you can (and at some point, presumably will) die. The goal of the game is to capture the Ixupi that haunt the museum using a talisman and a pot, all the while keeping your soul intact.

This endeavor takes place in the fashion typical of this kind of game – by solving puzzles, some of which don’t make that much sense. But they’re a challenge, even if they are silly at times (and hey, there’s nothing quite as bad as 7th Guest‘s infamous microscope puzzle). The game does a great job of setting up creepy atmosphere, particularly with its music. If there’s a constant that helps to set the tone in horror-themed games, the right music is one of them.

Shivers did well enough to warrant a sequel (Shivers: Harvest of Souls), but it’s the first one that I remember best. Today, the Ixupi look quite corny, but the mood and atmosphere is quite good. This was a good one that lived up to its name. I would recommend it, if you find a dusty copy lying around somewhere…it’s a good reason to fire up DOSBox.

Previous Fortnight of Fright: It Came From Red Alert!
Next Fortnight of Fright: – Monster Bash

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Comments
  1. I actually enjoyed the sequel more than the original title, especially in the setting and music departments. I’m not ashamed to admit that I still have two or three of its songs on my Zune.

    • Chad M. says:

      Don’t get me wrong, the sequel is still an awesome game! I liked the Southwest setting of the second one a lot, I think I just played the first one more overall and remember it better. I

  2. Wonderbobmagic says:

    How do I get this to run on a windows 7 machine?

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