Shivers (Sierra On-Line, 1996)

Shivers is a game with more than just a passing similarity to some of the other newer generation Sierra games. With a one icon interface and cartoonish graphics (more than a little reminiscent of King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride) and some creative and well-rendered use of full motion video (recalling its brilliant inclusion in Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within), Shivers bears the indelible mark of all of Sierra's recent games. While that is, perhaps, to be expected, what I did not expect was that this game would also bear the indelible mark of Trilobyte's The Seventh Guest. Practically identical to that game in countless ways (including the basis of the story, a somewhat complicated puzzle-driven plot, and dark tone and theme), Shivers seems to offer very little in the way of original ideas, and, surprisingly, seems to do little to hide this from the player. In addition to these problems, Shivers also can't decide if it is supposed to be an adventure, puzzle, or action/strategy game, which induces a sort of schizophrenia upon the elements of the game as they try, and fail to work in concert. Finally, despite what its name might suggest, Shivers produces anything but. With no suspense, the game cannot be even the slightest bit scary. Since it is but a mere melding of the new Sierra engine and The 7th Guest (neither of which were that great to begin with), Shivers is ridiculous and pointless, and should be avoided.

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