The 11th Hour


Virgin Interactive Entertainment

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The release of the Seventh Guest in 1993 has been a revolution for adventure gamers and played a decisive role in the growth of CD-ROM drives installed. I saw people buying CD-ROM drives just to play with the 7th Guest, and one of the reason why it sold so well might be because it was among the few products that were pushing CD-ROMs to their upmost capacities at that time. Moreover, the 7th Guest was a technological breakthrough featuring SVGA 3D rendered graphics, computer animations up to 15 frames per second and video with a cast of professional actors. If you look closer at what is being done today in the computer games industry, you will notice that the 7th Guest was a precursor who strongly influenced the other computer game companies. Now with the release of The 11th Hour, the sequel of the 7th Guest, will we again be the witnesses of a new generation of games or just find another rehash packed with additional graphics and puzzles? You will find out if you read what follows!

The 11th Hour sends you 70 years ahead after the tragic story of the first episode. Intrigued by a mysterious series of crimes and disappearances, Robin Morales, producer of the TV show "Case Unsolved" went to Harley to investigate the strange events that happened in the small town. There would still be nothing much to worry about if only Harley was not the same town where the diabolic Henry Stauf decided to build his evil mansion.

The first pictures of the game show you watching the news on TV where they mention that Robin Morales has vanished during her investigation. In The 11th Hour, you play the role of Carl Denning, a TV reporter who works for the very same show as Robin. When someone rings at the door a few seconds later, you discover a small package sent from Harley with a portable computer inside. There is a curious sound coming from the computer and when you decide to open it, you are dazed by what you see. On the small screen appears a short vision of Robin, frightened and crying. You can't forget what you once shared together and even if your love affair with her belongs to the past, you can't let her down in a situation where her life might be in great danger. Your choice is made, you will go to Harley and save Robin from whoever holds her captive.

Once inside Stauf's mansion, people who played with the 7th Guest will feel familiar with the environment except for, after 70 years the mansion does not look exactly the same. Without anyone taking care of it during the many long years, the house slowly fell into decay and you will now explore what remains of the Victorian residence.

The navigation interface didn't change very much, but several improvements were added for the player's comfort. The becknoning hands will show you the directions you can take with three possible movements: forward, left and right. In the 7th Guest, to make a 180 degrees movement, you had to turn left or right at least twice until you faced the opposite direction. As every movement consisted of animation sequences, it sometimes took a lot of time to perform such a simple move. The problem has been solved in the 11th Hour by moving the hand to the bottom of the screen and clicking. It is much faster and has no animations. Of course, if you prefer watching the fabulous rendered animations, you are free to turn left or right like before. There are two other types of hands in the 11th Hour, the waving hand and the grabbing hand. The first one indicates that either a door can't be opened or an action can't be done, while the second lets you select different objects. Finally, the rolling eyeball will show you objects which you can examine closer.

When you enter the house, you will hear three beeps and see a flashing blue circle around the skeleton hand. This means you must check the Gamebook which is the portable computer you received in the beginning. By moving the icon to the top of the screen, you will see the stylus hand with which you access the Gamebook. Once you click with the stylus hand, a riddle is displayed recited by Stauf. Your goal is to find which item is behind this enigma. There are 250 selectable objects throughout the mansion so don't believe that once you solved the riddle you have won, because the treasure hunt, as it is called, is only beginning. Here is an example of what awaits you with the 42 treasure hunts included in the game. At one moment in the game, you will have to solve the following riddle: "Slyness holding shipment in choppe?" Are you having a hard time with it? Rest assured I did too! Nevertheless, here is the answer in three steps. "Slyness" is similar to "Guile". "Holding shipment" could mean "A lot". Now if you put "Guile", "lot" and "in" together, what do you get? Bingo! You are now looking for a guillotine! The next step will be to remember in which room you saw a guillotine.

I must admit that the treasure hunts are quite difficult and tricky. They mixe anagrams, crypted messages, hidden words, and honestly without the online help, I don't think I could have solved some of them. The hunt itself for the object can also give you some hard work as most of the time, the clue can lead to different objects. Fortunately, at the beginning of the game, many of rooms are closed which limits your exploration and the number of objects you can find. To select objects in a room, you must first solve the logic puzzle, if there is one inside. The 11th Hour features 13 logic puzzles and 6 AI games where you will play against Stauf himself. For the comparaison, the 7th Guest had 20 logic puzzles and only one AI game which was the microcospe in the laboratory. Most of the puzzles can be solved with the online-help if you don't know the solution, but of course this is not at all challenging.

During the game, more rooms will become available with new objects to discover and to remember for the treasure hunts. Every time you find the correct object, the gamebook play a short video with an event that occured prior to your arrival in Harley. These short extracts will explain to you what Robin found in her investigation and what really happened in the town. Just before the game asks you to switch the CD, a video will recall all the events with the extracts and the missing parts put together in a TV-like movie. Speaking of movies, I have been quite surprised by the exceptional quality of the video that runs at 30 frames per second in a resolution of 640 by 320. Never before have I seen such an outstanding performance in a game! If you add the fact that the video has thousands of colors and is accompanied by 16-bit 22Khz stereo sound, you might wonder what more your TV can offer! Of course, this wonderful technology needs cutting edge configurations. A Pentium processor is recommended with a fast video card capable of displaying thousands of colors. You will also need a double-speed CD-ROM drive, but anything higher will be welcomed if you want to display the animations on the full screen. If you are not the owner of such a PC, you can change the options for a quarter-size screen with interlaced videos, and lower the color depth to 6 bits (which will display the video with shades of grey).

After playing for nearly two days straight, I finally reached the most difficult part of the game. You find yourself trapped with Stauf playing a TV game show simular to "Let's Make a Deal" where you will have to decide between three choices. I won't say a word about any of them as I want you to have the same difficulty as I had myself. The only thing I can mention is that your choice can be lethal and one may lead to a conclusion that won't be a happy ending.


The developers at Trilobyte successfully achieved to produce a sequel that is even better than the first. When you finally finish the game, the complete movie video of 65 minutes will be available for your viewing pleasure!

System Requirements:

486 DX2-66 MHz or higher,
Min 8Mb memory,
MS-DOS 5.0 or later,
Hard drive required with 4Mb free,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
SVGA video graphic card capable of displaying thousands of colors (PCI or VESA local bus),
Microsoft mouse and 100% compatibles.

Roland MIDI cards MT-32, LAPC-1, Sound Canavas, SCC-1, RAP-10; Sound Blaster and 100% compatibles, Sound Blaster Pro/Deluxe, 16/ASP, AWE32; Pro Audio Spectrum (and 16 compatible sound cards); Gravis UltraSound; Ensoniq Soundscape.


Trilobyte Inc.,
1225 Crater Lake Avenue,
Medford, OR 97504.

Internet Support: Info@tbyte.com
Web site: www.tbyte.com


In North America:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment,
18061 Fitch Avenue,
Irvine, CA 92714.

Technical Support: 714-833-1999
Fax Support: 714-833-2011
BBS Support: 714-833-3305

Web site: www.vie.com

In Europe:

In UK:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment,
2 Kensington Square,
London, W8 5RB.

Technical Support: +44-(0)171-3682266
Fax Support: +44-(0)171-468-2000
BBS Support: +44-(0)171-468-2022

Internet Support: Customer_Support@vie.co.uk
Web site: www.vie.co.uk/vie

In France:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment,
233 Rue de la Croix Nivert,
75015 Paris.


Graphics: 95%
Sound: 90%
Music: 92%
Gameplay: 88%
Interest: 90%

Overall: 91%

graphic line


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