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Old 02-17-2009, 10:22 AM   #1
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Default Phantasmagoria

I know the name is fun to say, but is the game?

I'm in the process of scoring a copy of this game. I always wanted to play it since I heard about it in the late 90s, and cause it's a Roberta Williams game.

Beyond the reviews though, did you folks enjoy it? Should I not get my hopes up? I know GK2 miraculously got FMV right, but what about this one?
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:00 PM   #2
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It certainly is inferior to GK2. Way inferior. But is fun, scaring and - even if tacky and somewhat superficial in terms of story - intriguing enough to keep you playing, especially if you are a Sierra fan: in this case, you really should have it!
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:25 PM   #3
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Yes, Phantasmagoria is very good game. I've played both parts and they are very good !
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:59 PM   #4
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It's a terrible game. I to wanted to play it even before it came out, and especially after the controversy it caused, but it's a silly and poorly constructed game that's generally considered a to be bottom of the barrel. The terrible FMV sequences at the end are priceless though.
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:53 PM   #5
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It's definitely playable and has some memorable sequences, but the game itself just isn't that great. I say go for it and enjoy a slice of history. I played Phantasmagoria not too long after it came out, and I fondly remember sitting in front of the computer with my friend late at night with all the lights off. You'll get some quality scares!
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:53 PM   #6
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It's an ok game. I'd rate it in the middle range of the games I've played. The gore factor I found laughable, but I think you can turn it off if you want. There are certainly a lot worse games out there. But I do agree you need to have it in your inventory. There's a rarer collectors box with both I and II, but I haven't seen one available in years. Glad I got mine when I did.
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Old 02-17-2009, 02:49 PM   #7
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The game started promising enough, but it soon became cheap and laughable with long FMV visions of torture scenes on unimportant characters as the main source of "scares". There were some odd highlights here and there though. And it still feels like a Sierra game overall.

Phantasmagoria II is much more interesting in my opinion.

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Old 02-17-2009, 05:50 PM   #8
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Definitely worth a play. It has its moments, and still retains the Sierra feel.

I have to say, when you get toward the end, you'll be treated to some of the worst acting imaginable. For that reason alone it's worth a play.
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Old 02-17-2009, 06:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kazmajik View Post
I have to say, when you get toward the end, you'll be treated to some of the worst acting imaginable. For that reason alone it's worth a play.
Say no more!
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:26 PM   #10
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The ridiculous almost rape is where things start to get interesting in the bad acting department. But let me just say I"m not a fond believer of wasting a lot of time for the ironic enjoyment of crap so you're gonna have to sit through a lot of bad puzzles and a lack of logic to dig out the fruits of this thing.
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:29 AM   #11
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It's definitely not Williams' best. It's cheesy, the acting and graphics are awful, most of the puzzles aren't that great, and it's loaded with tons of cheap horror movie cliches.

That said, it's still a blast to play provided that you view as what it is: a campy bit of video gaming history (I didn't play it until years after it came out, and I still enjoyed it). If you like bad horror films from the 1980s you'll love this game.

I wouldn't recommend bothering with Phantasmagoria 2 at all, however. It's just plain awful. And not "awful" in a fun way like number 1 was, but awful in a dreadfully boring gouge out your eyes sort of way. It's mostly just interactive cut scenes that tell a completely uninvolving story. The puzzles that are there are completely idiotic (the first puzzle of the game, in which you have to go through an elaborate series of actions just to grab your wallet from under the couch- as opposed to, say, just moving the freaking couch!- wins my award for the all time dumbest puzzle in an adventure game!).
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Old 02-18-2009, 02:35 AM   #12
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I think exploring the big mansion was interesting (especially in the beginning) and the background graphics were nice back then. Phantasmagoria has some good moments, and I think it's worth playing.
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Old 02-18-2009, 03:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
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and the background graphics were nice back then.
I don't agree. Mostly very fake looking and some were truly awful, especially because of the colors used in them.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:28 AM   #14
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I've played both and I have to say that the first one could have used a bit of polish. As for the second one, it was fantastic for an FMV game. Definate head trip.
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:29 AM   #15
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I was really disappointed in the "game". I was really looking forward to it when it came out. What a let down.

To me it was not a game but an interactive movie. Total waste of disc space. I felt cheated by Roberta.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:27 AM   #16
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I remember asking a guy at Gamestop about it a few years ago, and he warned me off it. Then maybe a year later I found it, box and everything, in a thrift store for 3 bucks, and I thought I had scored.

I remember by the end of the game, after replaying those sections where you have to make split second decisions up until the conclusion, I was nearly foaming at the mouth in anger.
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therabidfrog View Post
I remember by the end of the game, after replaying those sections where you have to make split second decisions up until the conclusion, I was nearly foaming at the mouth in anger.
The finale is actually the thing that, in my opinion, stands out the most: it was awesome, frightening, engaging and anxious. Lovin' it!
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:27 AM   #18
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I don't know. The ending for the first one left me dissappointed. It should have had the choice to end somewhat better than it did. The second one gave you a choice but either ending was either already sad or about to turn sad soon. I however am willing to play the 2nd one over but not the first one. Something about the first one just doesn't click with me at all.
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Old 02-18-2009, 01:54 PM   #19
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I never played the second one, but that was completely panned by critics.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
It should have had the choice to end somewhat better than it did.
Agreed. I remember getting to the end and being horribly depressed. What a downer. (I had actually just moved to college and we had ethernet in the room -- a big deal at the time! I remember going into a Sierra chat room to try to find out if that was the only ending or if I was missing something, and the two guys in the room just wanted to ask my a/s/l. Also a downer.)

The first time I played it, I found it interesting -- it was the first FMV game I'd ever played besides 7th Guest (which was sort of a hybrid), and liked that aspect of it -- and I don't remember feeling it was cheesy or too easy so much as very quick/short. For a 7 CD game, it goes by fast.

The second time through I enjoyed the game more for its camp value, but I was also more put off by some of the grosser scenes and I gave up very near the end. I just couldn't stand watching
Spoiler:
Adrienne have her head chopped off or her body chopped in half or whatever else
any more. Knowing it had a depressing ending anyway, I couldn't muster the energy to see it through.

It's a fine game to play, if only for its historical value. Very different from Roberta Williams' other games and a pretty ambitious project for the time. If you're just looking for a good FMV and/or Sierra game, though, GK2 wins by far. I haven't played Phantasmagoria 2 (even though I own it)... I'm not really a fan of horror games, so the premise puts me off.
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