A week ago, I wrote out a list of all the unprocessed games in my pile that are known to be interactive movies (there might be undiscovered I-movies left in the pile as well), in an effort to just get them out of the way first. Next up– oh, dear, it’s Phantasmagoria, Sierra’s beloved 7-CD I-movie classic. I wasn’t sure if I should bother with this game because I wasn’t sure which version I had. Only the DOS entry needs screenshots. It turns out that the same game has versions for DOS, Windows 3.x, and Windows 95, and that they all look the same, further advancing my theory that these I-movies are not especially complicated, programmatically. So I embark on an effort to collect a nominal screenshot set for MobyGames, and perhaps revise the entry’s description. So, DOSBox, don’t fail me now.
Phantasmagoria is the story of a young wife, Adrienne, and her photographer husband, Donald, who have just set up camp in an old castle. The game’s manual encourages the player to ask a lot questions. Okay, here’s one — how exactly does a photographer afford a castle? I’m assuming that the joint is a family heirloom of some sort. Anyway, it doesn’t take long before the nightmares start for Adrienne, and bad things start happening in the castle.
Everything works smoothly and I capture the screenshot set I was after. Plus, I finally got to experience the true horror of the game. Well, at least I got as far as one terrifying cutscene, where our heroine lays on a bed that cops a feel:
Contrast the above screenshot with the first one. It’s interesting to note that the game always goes to interlaced mode when it’s cutscene time. Not interlacing, precisely, but the original video is doublesized in the horizontal direction and every other line is black, or left undrawn, to save rendering time.
This isn’t the most obscure game on the planet, so I didn’t feel much need to spend too much time investigating it. Plus, I honestly wasn’t that interested. Here are some other random notes I jotted down along the way:
- The game installs to the default directory of c:\sierra\scarydos. Novel.
- The game features a friendly skull icon (seen in the first screenshot on the lower left part of the screen) who identifies himself as the hintkeeper. He helps you out.
- I found a walkthrough that lists 277 easy steps to completing this game. If you have that much patience. Anyone up for a speed run?
- The game takes place in or near the town of Nipawomsett, which I’m convinced must be an anagram for something. “pastime town”? “spa time town”? “impotent saw”? “want semi pot”?