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Adventure Game Scene of the Day — Sunday 02 June 2013

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Here is a pretty obscure game. This scene depicts the cryogenic chamber where human clones are stored and grown in the game Severed Heads (1991), an old text adventure for the Commodore Amiga.

Other than a really poor parser, the game wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I was expecting given the title. The puzzles were quite logical and I didn’t encounter any dead ends, although you can get killed or fail a task in the game and have to reload from a save.

The game was rather short though and the story wasn’t exactly what I would call good. Essentially, it’s a murder mystery set in the future and you need to figure out who is raping and beheading women in the game. We are definitely talking about B-movie caliber material here.

I can’t say I would recommend it to anyone given its age, but I personally couldn’t pass up playing a game with a title like that…

     
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To be honest I really like the look of this game based on this one screenshot. Nice dreary feel to it.

     
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Went looking for this game for sale with no luck…...but found a “few” screenshots and a Youtube Video Walkthrough:

Screenshots

Video Walkthrough

     
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I remember tripping over 2 or 3 screenshots of this one at the Lemon Amiga sight.  Surprisingly, Legacy does have quite a few decent ones.

     

Not only did I fall off the diet wagon, I dragged it into the woods, set it on fire, and used the insurance money to buy cupcakes.

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I was randomly looking through scenes of the day here, and ran across this title and was a bit surprised someone even knew of this game. It is very obscure, and not many copies were sold (perhaps 200-300). I happen to have this game, all packaging and even source code ... as I actually wrote this game.

The mini-review here is pretty spot on. It was the first game I wrote—short overall, so-so, but I wouldn’t say horrible story. It got a decent review from Amiga World ages ago when first released. The company that published it (Sir Rah) sort of cheated both me and the artist from any royalties, so I never saw a dime from it. I then just released it for free on some Amiga sites, which is probably where screenshots and videos came from.

Sir Rah tried to make a PC version, sort of without my knowledge at first, and tried to pair up with R.A.W. Entertainment—but the fellow that ran that sort of misled them (or lied, may be a better word). He claimed he had a larger publisher lined if they changed the parser, but he was bending the truth. At the end, Sir Rah did make some sort of PC version, which I never saw, but the interface they came up with was supposedly god awful—some PC mag did a preview review where they stated they would have preferred even a simple parser interface ... which of course the original had, and they were not aware of.

Anyway, if anyone wants to play this, you can find .adfs floating about on the web, which you can use in an emulator. It’s not illegal to play them, as I provided them for free sometime in the late 90s. I also made a couple of other Amiga games (with creepy sounding names), a PC adventure (The Murderer), which also falls into the ‘so obscure nobody has heard of category’, and several PDA games. The Murderer was sold in Australia/New Zealand as a super budget title, but it’s incredibly short.

 

 

     
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Nameless - 08 July 2013 01:13 PM

I [...] ran across this title and was a bit surprised someone even knew of this game. It is very obscure, and not many copies were sold (perhaps 200-300). I happen to have this game, all packaging and even source code ... as I actually wrote this game.

That’s Bastich for you, schooling the masses in the obscure… Tongue

Nameless - 08 July 2013 01:13 PM

I also made a couple of other Amiga games (with creepy sounding names), a PC adventure (The Murderer), which also falls into the ‘so obscure nobody has heard of category’, and several PDA games. The Murderer was sold in Australia/New Zealand as a super budget title, but it’s incredibly short.

Bastich may have heard of them. Bastich??? Tongue

     

Now playing: Blade Runner (post-CPT) | The Witcher: Enhance Edition (on hold) | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (on hold) | Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS)
Recently finished: Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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So are you Michael Zerbo?

     

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Bonsai - 08 July 2013 01:41 PM

So are you Michael Zerbo?

Yep, that’s me.

     
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Nice to meet you.  I’ve played many “obscure” games, not as many as Bastich, but none of yours.  I remember your game Dark Obsession was used many years ago in a guess that Screenshot Contest at another site.

Any plans involving games?

For anybody who’s interested….other games that credit him per Moby:

•The Murderer (2001),
•The Hollywood Murders (1997), Laser Point Publishing
•Interstate ‘76 (1997), Activision, Inc.
•Bloody Murder (1996), Laser Point Publishing
•The Child Murderer (1996), Laser Point Publishing
•Inner Demons (1996), Laser Point Publishing
•Santa Fe Mysteries: The Elk Moon Murder (1996), Activision, I

     
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Nameless - 08 July 2013 01:42 PM
Bonsai - 08 July 2013 01:41 PM

So are you Michael Zerbo?

Yep, that’s me.

That kinda defeats the purpose of your nickname, doesn’t it? Tongue Grin

     

Now playing: Blade Runner (post-CPT) | The Witcher: Enhance Edition (on hold) | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (on hold) | Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS)
Recently finished: Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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Dark Obsession is probably even more obscure than Severed Heads. I also wasn’t very fond of that game either ... insanely buggy too. A lot of my Amiga stuff after Severed Heads were pre-release games for Sir Rah, before I knew for certain they were going to not pay any royalties. After they went under, I just released the games as-is on aminet and a couple of sites, figuring maybe a handful of people would check them out and they’d vanish forever.

I’d like to work on something new, but first probably would rather just redo some of my old stuff.  Admittedly, I seem to specialize in games that nobody has heard of, or ever played, so the incentive to work on new things isn’t exactly super strong sometimes.

I made two PDA games for a company called Inebooks (who also cheated me out of some royalties), and they are sort of trapped on platforms that don’t really exist anymore (palm/ppc). They are small games, but I’d like to do something with them. I do have the code to release at least one for the PC as freeware, but it has sort of a weird, small interface better suited for PDAs than Windows. Just Adventure did a review of one of them (Dry Gulch), years ago. I also have a partial fix/update for one of my old Amiga games sitting around here somewhere, which I never got around to finishing.

I had been spending a lot of time working on a mud-type game for a company called Skotos. They are still around, and the game is too (The Lazarus Project), but it’s seen better days—it doesn’t have many players anymore. But if anyone is interested, feel free to stop by there and check it out. You can chat with me too (I’m host), if you want. That game killed me to make ... it’s like an insanely big text adventure that required low level coding for major systems.

Anyway, if I work on anything next, it’d be a redo of one of my older games, or maybe something for android or ios.

     
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Thanks for the update.  Well one thing is for sure…...you games will forever live in Screenshot contests.  Dry Gulch has been used in those as well.

Best of luck.

     

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Bonsai - 08 July 2013 02:42 PM

Thanks for the update.  Well one thing is for sure…...you games will forever live in Screenshot contests.  Dry Gulch has been used in those as well.

Best of luck.

Thanks, and I guess that is one bonus for being obscure.

Here is my old site with games I made, if anyone is interested, but I think several links are broken. I never got around to fixing them after JA changed owners and server space was taken away. And don’t bother downloading (or paying) for the inebook ones ... I really should remove those links.

http://www.nameless.webs.com/

     
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It’s pretty awesome that the developer noticed this thread!! I never would have guessed that would happen.

Anyway, I found the Amiga games Severed Heads, Inner Demons, Dark Obsession and The Child Murderer HERE. The readme lists Michael Zerbo as the uploader, so these might be the very files he mentioned uploading.

     

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Yep, I put them on Aminet. After I did that I noticed some public domain disk companies started picking the games up. It was weird seeing the games appear in some magazine listings and such, when I expected maybe a couple of dozen people at tops would even try the games.

I’ll also mention that besides possibly Severed Heads (which in itself is very dated), that nobody should bother with the other games. They aren’t particularly good and sort of unfinished and buggy.

My PC port of The Child Murderer is better, with voice acting and point and click. It’s not great or anything, but at least it’s much more polished. I had to remove the ‘Child’ part of the title for the PC version, or CNet and some sites back then wouldn’t allow me to put it up for download. Probably for the best, as it sounds like a way more gruesome game than it is otherwise.

I also have a partially completed update to Inner Demons here somewhere, with some bug fixes and newer graphics. One day I probably should finish and upload it—for the 2-3 people out there who may try it Smile

     
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Well, I am one of those 2-3 people. Should you ever decide to finish that update for Inner Demons, stop by here and let us know.

As for your buggy old games that nobody should bother playing? I’m probably going to play them anyway. Tongue

     

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