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The scenario on which PH2 is built, is quite intricate, holding many surprises and disturbing events that are sure not to leave you indifferent as the truth unfolds. Curtis is now working at the Wyntech Corporation, and if you didn't know he was in a mental hospital a year ago, you couldn't say so. Except for Bob, Curtis maintains good relations with his co-workers, especially with Trevor, his best friend, and Jocilyn his girlfriend. He has what we could qualify as a normal life, but as you are going to discover below, it will soon become a true nightmare!
Wherever he is, at work or at home, Curtis experiences terrible visions. Whether they are from his stay at the hospital or from his miserable childhood, Curtis can't bare them anymore and he is faced with the reality that he may be losing his mind once again. It is in this troubled atmosphere that the first murder of a long series is perpetrated at the Wyntech Corporation. Bob's body has been discovered in his cubicle brutally and sadistically tortured in the most vicious way. The horrible news shocks everyone at Wyntech, but strangely, Curtis doesn't feel anything about it, which makes him slowly wonder if he could be responsible.
This resumes what is presented in the first chapter of PH2, which introduces most of the characters and set the mood of the game. The four other chapters will be even more violent and will feature scenes that are not suited for children. Indeed, PH2 is heavily oriented to an adult audience, notably with scenes containing sexual material and horror. To prevent access to the game by children below the age of 17, you can enter a password that will censor the offending parts of the game as in the first title of the series.
Except for a few locations, the beautifully 3D rendered screens of Phantasmagoria were replaced in the sequel by full motion video, in a way similar to what was done for Gabriel Knight II. Besides a better integration of the character within the background, it definitely gives an improved realism over the computer calculated environments. The only disadvantage is that you can't walk your character on the screen; for each move there is the corresponding video motion sequence. As a result, the game is packed with hundreds of cinematic sequences that take a total space of five CD's for the entire game. Loading times are relatively fast, although the hard disk space taken by the installation is limited to 23 Mb as a maximum. Using SVGA graphics with thousands of colors, the cinematic sequences achieve great performances, and you will no doubt be impressed by the heavy content they carry. If you need to watch a scene again, either to frighten your friends or spot something you may have missed, it is only at a click away!
PH2 runs under the Windows 95 environment with Microsoft's DirectX library, but should you prefer DOS, a patch is available from Sierra On-Line's web site. However, the quality of video sequences is slightly degraded as a consequence of a palette reduction to 256 colors when playing under DOS. As in a movie, the sounds really add to the dramatic experience in which Curtis has been propelled, and immerse the player as well in the fantastic universe. Plenty of sound and video effects were added to render the scenes as realistic as possible. Bloody victims, gruesome creatures and stunning visuals will easily convince you!
Written by Frederick Claude
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