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About the Story
You have a chance to see an exclusive exhibit of the lost works of artist Henri Beauchamp, but you must prove you’re a devotee of the art to get in.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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If you've never heard of the story which this is based on, don't feel ashamed. The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp is one of a myriad of so-called "creepypasta" stories brewed up in the depths of 4chan: these are basically bite-sized bits of horror, usually of the Lovecraftian variety, wrapped in the premise of an urban legend.
This is a short game. This is no surprise, as The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp is a short story. A complete walkthrough of the game is only ten lines long. But it remains an adaptation of a story, and as such falls into the same pitfall that most previous attempts at adaptation such as the two MANALIVE games fall into: it assumes an understanding of the source material. So you can't really play the game (without resorting to the in-game help, anyway) unless you're familiar with the source material, but at the same time, if you've read the source material, there's really no impetus to play the game.
The game is implemented well enough to be playable from beginning to end without any awkward responses or guessing games, but then the scope of the game is very narrow: the whole purpose of this exercise is to let the player live through the story on which it is based without any noteworthy deviations or side trips or, truth be told, any incidental detail whatsoever. That said, what detail there is happens to be quite well-written: reading the original story reveals that almost the entire text is drawn from it verbatim (the text written by the game's author tends to falter in comparison).
All told, it's a better first showing than many. The story is itself basically a copy-and-paste job, but the implementation is sound, if shallow. It's not an excellent or even a terribly good game, but it's a decent start for a new author.
This is a short-short horror game, surreal and suggestive without quite coming out to say what is truly going on. The plot might appeal to people who also liked, for instance, All Alone, or the entries in the Commonplace Book Project. It also shows a certain amount of effort and care, especially for a first-time outing: it comes complete with hint and help menus and cover art.
The main problem is that it hasn't been tested as much as it should: missing synonyms, some sensible actions not accounted for, and so on. The room descriptions also sometimes feel rather minimal. Better pacing of exposition and exploration would make the game more suspenseful and deliver the story better.
A future version of the game could improve on many of these things, leaving a substantially stronger effort.
The piece of short fiction this eponymous game is based on takes the form of an urban myth-like set of directions for finding a mythical art gallery hidden behind a bar in Paris. The penalty for deviating from the instructions once you've started to follow them is grisly death. The story apparently hails from the often stupid internet thing known as 4chan, where all users are anonymous. It's a good story which I read after playing this game, and which I then decided I should have read instead of playing this game.
The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp, the game, cleaves to the source text, often reproducing large chunks of it verbatim. Given the small size of both game and source, the majority of the prose is identical in both formats. All you can do in the game is type commands which correspond to the successful following of the directions – resulting in you continuing through those directions – or type commands which do not correspond to the successful following of directions, resulting in one of the grisly deaths, also usually reproduced word for word from the story.
Between the content duplication and the absence of any additional interactive possibilities, the game doesn't really justify its existence in its current form. And even within its highly constrained scope, it demonstrates next to no implementation. The first location is a bar containing a bartender who has no description, and beer that responds to DRINK BEER with "There's nothing suitable to drink here." The game continues in this fashion, sometimes only responding to unusual verbs cued by the source, and I would say that it is impossible to score more than one out of seven available points without first reading either the source material or all of the contents of the game's help menu. The latter option is no way to enjoyably play a game and the former, while enjoyable, obviates the need to play the game.
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The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp on IFDB
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This is version 4 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 29 January 2021 at 6:28pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item