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(based on 14 ratings)
About the Story
After crashing your car to avoid hitting a mysterious young girl you awake to find yourself drawn to an abandoned mansion.
Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: ADRIFT
Baf's Guide ID: 2952
12th Place - 12th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2006)
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Number of Reviews: 5
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The Sisters begins a little better than your standard horror story; at least you are given a reason for getting to the old mansion. Could the author have made it more atmospheric? Yes. Could the author have cared about grammar, punctuation, and all those fundamentals? You betcha. The overuse of ellipses to end sentences (for maximum spook value, I assume) is particularly grating. Anyhow, the game begins fairly well and does draw you in.
There are some technical problems that can kill you, so be warned. The first of these is a lack of synonyms for a common verb problem -- annoying. (Spoiler - click to show)The next one requires you to close the penknife. This is not optional. If you drop the penknife, even in another room, you will still die if you try to go down the steep decline! The lack of synonyms for common verbs leads straight into guess-the-verb-land for some of the puzzles (none of which are crucial to the plot, fortunately). The Sisters loses points for technical problems that really should have been fixed.
The prose is decent; it's not campy, it's not bad, it's just unfocused. Take this as an example: "You slowly wake, somewhat reluctantly." Occasionally there are little bits of prose satisfaction, such as "...you have a nagging feeling that waking will only complicate things." Jokes are rarer still. The scenes that build the sense of unease are decent; the atmospherics are unoriginal.
The plot is a little bit better than the usual, but it doesn't have the originality (except the end) to make it truly memorable. It does allow you to explore quite a bit and yet provides enough plot to keep you playing. That's worth praising. I have played better-implemented games that couldn't keep my interest alive.
The scoring system feels pinball-esque, in that you're racking up a point here, three points here, and so on. I'm not an enemy of points, but in this game, they seriously disrupted the sense of immersion.
The ending ambushes you and before you have typed more than a few times, the game is over. I'm not sure that winning is possible, and neither am I sure what role score plays here. Would I have achieved a more positive result had I score seventy instead of fifty?
As other reviewers have noted, this is not a Lovecraftian opus; my hat's off to the author for at least trying to be original, even if he did not completely succeed. Altogether, The Sisters is a somewhat interesting game that rewards you with a chilling finale`.
The Sisters is a mystery-horror adventure set in an apparently deserted mansion in the wilds of Sussex. If you're into ghostly horror tales, you will have a lot of fun recalling all of the different stories and styles the game draws on or evokes; in books, Stephen King and James Herbert. In films, there's plenty from the "scary little girls" subgenre and even a touch of Don't Look Now. In gaming, the opening recalls Silent Hill, and The Sisters's method of revealing backstory through written materials like diaries and letters is typical of survival horror.
The game's story is considered, but the dynamic of how much you learn and when (Spoiler - click to show)(50% of the information is revealed as you explore 90% of the game, then everything else leaps out in the last five minutes) makes the outcome a little unsatisfying. The journey is what is important, because the mansion is big and absolutely crammed with examinable decor and objects, all of them contributing to the atmosphere, many of them filling in pieces of story. This is a great example of story being gleaned from the environment.
There is a catch: The repetitive nature of the locations makes it hard to stay vigilant in your searchings. You're in a multi-storey mansion of similarly laid out floors. There are many bedrooms, many tables, many desks, many wardrobes. Descriptions of even sparse locations can be 70 words long on average, and the average non-corridor room will have at least five things you can examine. This adds up to a tremendous amount of detail, but only a handful of objects you will find during your rummagings are needed to complete the game.
If you reach the end and discover that your score seems relatively poor – and you care about this kind of thing – you will need to do a reconnaissance replay in which you doublecheck every furnishing in the house, because particular objects lead into particular point-generating puzzles. But after your fourth bed, fifth table or sixth desk, you will realise how you managed to miss so many things in the first place.
The Sisters is at its best as a spooky and suspenseful exploration game. The mansion is a terrific setting, an integral part of the unfolding mystery and elaborate with atmospheric detail. But the score system and denouement are inevitably a bit disappointing. Too many of the points are attached to optional puzzles which are easy to miss, and the outcome is like a jack in the box opening in your face after the slow piecing together of the past that made up the bulk of the game. The parser has its bumpy moments and the fourth wall is broken unnecessarily a few times with jokes. The mansion is the star, though, and it is definitely worth visiting.
This story is actually pretty fun, given how little this is done in IF.
It's a traditional ghost/creepy story with an old abandoned house to search through.
It has numerous bugs, and a huge number of 'guess the verb' problems, but I was glad I played it and enjoyed it overall. I used the walkthrough.
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