John Saul's Blackstone Chronicles
|John Saul's Blackstone Chronicles: An Adventure in Terror|
|Release date(s)||NA October 31, 1998
A sequel to the novels, the game takes place several years after the sixth book, and continues the story of Oliver Metcalf, his family, and the town of Blackstone.
The game starts with Oliver arriving at the Blackstone Asylum, which has been purchased and is being turned into a Museum of Psychiatric History. That doesn't sit well with Malcolm Metcalf, Oliver's father and last superintendent of the Asylum, who died some forty years before. All of the activity involved in transforming the Asylum has awakened its residents. For reasons not yet known to Oliver or the player, his father's spirit has taken his son, Joshua, and hidden him somewhere in the Asylum, apparently to coerce Oliver there.
Exploring the mansion, Oliver encounters several spirits of patients who are bound to the asylum by their possessions, including a teenage girl with hysterical pregnancy, a schizophrenic who believes she's English royalty, and a depressed woman who was treated with steam baths and hydrotherapy. Oliver discovers that his father psychologically tortured to suicide or allowed several of his patients to be killed under the guise of accidents during treatment. This is counterpointed by the sterile and rose-tinted explanations from the museum equipment for the same procedures or implements (lancets are described as an attempt to bring the bodies humours into balance, where the spirit of a patient with Alzheimer's disease declares they were used liberally so patients could not defend themselves). Disheartened by the failure of traditional medicine, Oliver's father gradually turned to more and more extreme methods, including totally dismembering and vivisecting an 8-year-old boy to cure his gender confusion. Eventually his treatments turned to outright torture, as a punishment of undesirable behaviors to eventually remove them.
Over the course of the game, Oliver collects several personal items that influence him, causing him to nearly kill himself in several psychiatric methods (ECT, self-injecting neuro-toxins, locking himself in a steam box). His father Malcolm implies this is caused by the inherent evil contained within the items, although its heavily implied that Oliver developed these traps himself while under Malcolm's control, through a long, complicated sequence of post-hypnotic suggestions.
Oliver's father eventually reveals his plan. While Oliver has been trapped in the asylum and continued to refuse Malcolm's demands that Oliver take vengeance on Malcolm's enemies, Malcolm returned Joshua home, and instructs him to murder his mother with a straight razor, as a punishment of Oliver for his disobedience to his father and to make Joshua a monster with Malcolm's similar outlook. With the help of the spirits trapped in the asylum, Oliver destroys the artifacts of his father throughout the asylum, banishing his fathers spirit.