Saturday 8 August 2015

Mansion of Hidden Souls (Mega CD / Sega CD review)

Developer: System Sacom
Publisher: Vic Tokai
Released: 1993

Mansion of Hidden Souls is a point-and-click adventure game that was also released on the Sega Saturn (1994).

You play the role of Johnathan and your mission is to rescue your sister who's trapped inside the mansion and in danger of being turned into a butterfly! Although the environment is fully 3D you can't actually move freely around; instead there's a pre-determined path and you simply push Up on the d-pad to make your character move in that direction. The main objective in each room is to leave no stone unturned and interact with objects or pick up certain items to advance the plot. These items include things like matches, candles, emblems, as well as keys that open locked doors. It's a slow-paced game but each puzzle is fairly intuitive and doesn't resort to cryptic clues like some games in this genre. There's also a few black windows scattered around that you can peer into to get clues regarding your next objective and its location; this is a nice touch and stops you from getting too lost or frustrated. The mansion initially appears to consist of just a few rooms spread across a couple of floors but there's some secret doors that expand the environment. The main areas house things like a Study and a Music Room but eventually you'll end up in the basement where things just get creepy! The game can be beaten in less than an hour and the plot is a bit out-there but it's compelling and each room is different enough to keep you engaged. The graphics are grainy like all Mega CD games but for some reason these look much clearer than usual with less artefacts and pixilation. The voice acting is cheesy but the music is outstanding with some great tunes that help set the atmosphere of each room.

Mansion of Hidden Souls is a charming game that pulls you into its world with its fun puzzles and intriguing storyline. It doesn't last long but it's incredibly entertaining and even though I'm not a big fan of this genre it completely won me over!

Random trivia: Vic Tokai also published two other games for the Mega CD which were Dark Seed (1994) and Flink (1994).

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