|Platform Reviewed||IBM PC|
|Genre||Role Playing Game|
|Number of Players||1|
|Skills Required||Reasoning Skills|
|Interface Devices||Mouse or Keyboard|
|Programming||Poor to Adequate|
|Game Design and Playability||Standard Side View Point and Click, problematic|
|Type Of Fun||Monkey Island style RPG|
|Replay Value||Low to Moderate|
|The Best||It is based on a work by Harlan Ellison!|
|The Worst||Harlan deserves MUCH better. Poor craftsmanship.|
|How much I'd Pay for This||20 bucks|
I Have No Mouth , And I Must Scream is a SCUMM-system (Monkey
Island, Sam & Max, etc.) style point and click Role Playing
Game. Essentially a sequel to the story of the same name, it
concerns itself with a group of souls tormented by an artificial
intelligence, a kind of cybernetic damnation.
Five trapped individuals suffer at the whims of AM, a military supercomputer which has destroyed virtually all of the human species. In this electronic Sheol, the characters must confront their own souls and frailties, as well as the qualities of the human species as a whole, in order to cope.
If but one compliment could be given me in my position as
a designer and reviewer of games, it would be to have someone
refer to me as "the Harlan Ellison of games". This is
the respect to which I hold the author that inspired the creation
of this software creation. It is with a heavy heart that I must
report that this attempt to create a software interpretation of
Ellison's work is far from perfect.
Harlan's writing abilities are without question great, but
this interpretation of them suffers on several fronts. The interface
is a bit clumsy, the animation is not entirely professional, and
there are many flaws in the code that permit the player to speak
with absent characters, identify non-existent objects, and the
game relies on hunting about all over the screen looking for non-obvious
'hot spots' to click upon to accomplish most anything. The game
feels ancient and poorly designed and programmed. Imagine a LucasArts
SCUMM game created by amateurs.
I feel strangely offended that one of the finest writers
of our age must be represented in such a shoddy interpretation.
I genuinely believe that computer gaming is the literature of
the future, thus I feel saddened when a work of art from the literature
of the present and past is poorly translated. Harlan deserves
On a more positive note, a patient and persevering player
will find that much of the essential flavor of Ellison's thought
can be tasted in this crudely prepared software pastry. There
are deep and intriguing ideas in the game, and the player is faced
with complex and serious moral, intellectual, and human questions.
But in this case, my best recommendation is to go and read
Ellison directly, and hope a more competent team tries to create
an Ellison software in the future. 'I Have No Mouth' is not awful,
but it is not solid or good. The ideas within it, far outshine
the execution. Oh, how I wanted to be supportive of this title,
but I cannot. Harlan deserves better.
Reviewed by Jennifer Diane Reitz, March 10, 1996