Shivers 2: Harvest of Souls
Shivers 2 is a dynamic game with plenty of excitement to keep your mind busy and your adrenaline pumping. Filled with captivating graphics, a well developed soundtrack, internet gaming potential, and puzzles that are challenging but stay this side of frustration, I believe that Shivers 2 is a game well worth a look for fans of the adventure genre.
Shivers 2 takes place in the extremely bizarre town of Cyclone, Arizona. There's a small-town feel here -- everybody seems to know everybody else's business. The only problem is that the people here have started disappearing left and right, and nobody can figure out why (although a few townspeople have suspicions that the ancient Indian burial grounds may have something to do with it). Unfortunately, your friends from the band Trip Cyclone have disappeared as well. And now, with the help of the clues hidden in their music videos, a mostly friendly ghost, and your own wit and wisdom, it has become your life's mission to find them or die trying.
The feel to Shivers 2 is great. Even though this is basically a point and click game, it felt like so much more. This is one of the few games I have come across that was able to fit most of the puzzles right into the flow of the game. Usually I have found that most games like this -- the kind that has actual puzzles to solve as opposed to logical problem solving -- tend to make the puzzles just kind of there, without any real tie into their environment. I am happy to say that Shivers 2 did an excellent job of integrating the puzzles into the overall theme. For example, a puzzle that I did in the general store involved eggs found in the refrigerator.
This is also one game that truly wants you to be curious and explore (you are even awarded points for just exploring). This aspect makes the game more interesting than some and captured my attention immediately (not to mention that it's always fascinating to listen to other peoples' answering machines). I am one of those players who likes to look at things just to get a feel for the environment, whether or not it has any real bearing on the ending.
Shivers 2 also has a "flashback" ability (similar to that of Phantasmagoria 2) that allows you to go back and see certain sequences or key items again. This feature was useful in some cases, but I discovered that it was also very helpful to keep a notepad handy to keep track of all the things I couldn't "flashback" to. In addition, Shivers 2 has an Internet "chatting" feature that I found to be great fun. While continuing to play your own game, you are able to chat with other people and help each other out. I met a lot of neat people and was grateful to many of them for their good advice and help in getting through rough spots.
The graphics in this game were wonderful, especially in the attention given to detail. Cyclone looks like an actual town, with pebbles on the ground, garbage, flowers, tombstones and more. The people in this town also appeared to be "real" -- they had dishes in their kitchens, clothes in their closets, secrets in their drawers, etc. And what's even better is that the majority of it can be looked at in closer detail. I think that's exciting. I personally like to explore everywhere and examine every thing that I can, and I often become frustrated when a game doesn't encourage or allow that.
Perhaps one of the nicest graphical touches was the ability to pan 360 degrees as well as up or down from any one spot. This made many areas come to life, plus you never know what might be lurking near the ceiling or on the floor. The only problem I had with this was that it did make me a bit nauseated, so use with care.
I have great things to say about the audio aspects of this game. The sound effects were wonderful; the gates creaked, pumps hissed, and the telephone rings were very realistic. I liked the fact that I could pinpoint where an item was in the room by sensing where in the room it was loudest. For example, if a telephone was ringing on the left side of the room when I walked in, then the ring would be loudest in my left ear; however, if I turned around to walk out of the room, then the ringing would be loudest in my right ear, just like in real life.
The background music was appropriate for each area. The cemetery had haunting music, the canyons had a more exciting song, and the temple music was just plain strange. There are, of course, more areas, and they all seem to benefit from the music that was chosen for them. The band's music, while not my style, also seemed well done and interesting.
The documentation for this game is excellent. While I usually tend to regard the documentation as something only to look at in times of trouble or frustration, I found that this booklet was well worth the time taken to read it. Aside from all the basic stuff, the booklet provides an informative story, puzzle objectives (very handy), background information on the townspeople and the band, as well as the band's lyrics (lots of clues are hidden here). So, I advise you to take the time to read it before you start the game. I think in the long run you'll be glad you did.
486 or faster processor, 8 MB RAM, VESA v1.2 (or higher) compatible SVGA video card, 2X CD-ROM drive, 2 MB hard drive space, Microsoft compatible mouse
Reviewed on: P-120, 32 MB RAM, 16X CD-ROM drive, Diamond Stealth 64 video.
Shivers 2 is a game that I found exciting. It captured my attention (once I figured out what I was doing) and proceeded to keep it from there. I enjoyed the challenge this game provided, and I especially liked the whole "creepy feeling" that was prominent throughout. Shivers 2: Harvest of Souls is definitely on my list of recommendations and has earned itself a score of 84.