The 11th Hour (video game)
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|The 11th Hour|
|Artist(s)||Robert Stein III|
|Series||The 7th Guest|
|Genre(s)||Interactive movie, Puzzle adventure|
The 11th Hour is a 1995 interactive movie puzzle adventure game with a horror setting. It is the sequel to the 1993 game The 7th Guest. It was developed by Trilobyte and used a later version of the "Groovie" graphic engine than that used by The 7th Guest. The 11th Hour also features the music of George "The Fat Man" Sanger and Team Fat.
Overall, the gameplay is similar to its predecessor's with the same puzzle-based game play structure, but with the additional element of a treasure hunt and more graphic scenes.
The game takes place 60 years after the events of the first game. It is now 1995 and the player, as Carl Denning, is an investigative reporter for the television series "Case Unsolved." Robin Morales, his producer and lover, has mysteriously vanished while gathering background information surrounding a series of grisly murders and disappearances in the otherwise quiet little town of Harley-on-the-Hudson. Denning's only solid lead is a portable computer called the Game Book delivered by persons unknown to him postmarked Harley, NY.
Plot summary 
The game starts when Carl steps into the mansion, with short videos of Robin's investigation and the mystery behind her disappearance viewed from the gamebook throughout the game. Most of the videos are short and vague by themselves. However, once the hour has struck, all the videos accumulated in that hour are strung together to form a ten-minute movie that clears most of the confusion. The plot divides into two unequal parts; Carl's journey around the Stauf Mansion and the events that preceded it.
The game opens with the game's protagonist, Carl Denning, watching the evening news. The newscaster reports that police have called off the investigation of Denning's "Case Unsolved" producer Robin Morales, who was last seen investigating the Stauf Mansion several weeks ago. The reporter suggests that Morales' disappearance may be linked to several recent murders and several other disappearances in the Harley area, as well as reporting on a rumoured relationship between Denning and Morales. Worried, but somewhat annoyed, Carl clicks off the television just as the doorbell rings. He receives a mysterious package, inside of which is the Gamebook. Carl sees Robin frantically begging for his help on the Gamebook screen, as well as a mysterious looking mansion. Carl then gets on his motorcycle, apparently heading towards Harley-on-Hudson where the mansion is located. While Carl drives various flashbacks are shown depicting the blossoming relationship of Denning and Morales, which sours when Morales becomes convinced that her reputation as a producer is being threatened by her closeness to Denning.
Carl arrives and gains entry to the Stauf Mansion with the help of the Gamebook. It is at this point that the two plots split up.
The investigation 
Robin, after a long drive to Harley-on-Hudson, stops by a diner and meets a waitress called Eileen Wiley. Robin is annoyed by Eileen's incompetence as a waitress but still attempts to talk to her after noticing that her right hand is missing. Eileen, upon learning that Robin is the producer of "Case Unsolved", is curious as to why Robin is in Harley. When Robin admits that she is investigating the Stauf Mansion, Eileen is shocked and is silent. When Robin points out that Eileen is the only person who has survived a visit to the mansion, Eileen gets defensive and goes into denial. Robin refers to a newspaper report which states that Eileen was bitten by a guard dog, thus giving Eileen an alibi for her hand, but she still asks Eileen about her hand. Eileen refuses to answer any questions about her hand and gets back to work.
A mysterious woman called Marie enters a motel asking to see a man named Chuck. It is implied that Chuck is having an affair, with Marie and Chuck's relationship being purely sexual. Morales is investigating the riverbank in the meantime, where she finds blood and meets Harley Police Chief Jim Martin, one of only two police officers in Harley. He knows of Morales's presence in Harley, thinks that the recent murders are nothing to do with the Stauf Mansion and claims that a Rottweiler bit Eileen's hand off. He suggests talking to Doctor Thornton and offers to lead her to him, promising her sensible walking boots for her troubles. The spirit of a deformed head is seen disappearing from the crime scene as Morales and Martin leave...
Robin arrives at Doctor Thornton's practice, sparking a relationship with Martin as she does so. The doctor's receptionist, unbeknownst to Robin, is Marie, who grudgingly gives her access to the Doctor. Thornton initially sticks to the accepted story about Eileen's hand – on the grounds that she is a "local celebrity" because of her hand – but later admits that the wound was more gruesome than a simple dog attack. Marie is seen to be listening in on the conversation between the Doctor and Robin as Thornton reveals that another woman called Samantha Ford also entered and survived the mansion. The Doctor explains that Ford's case is less well-known because her family had influence in Harley, enabling them to cover up the incident, but notes that Samantha was confined to a wheelchair in extraordinary circumstances after that night.
Marie and Chuck are engaged in an embrace by the river when Marie pulls a scalpel out on his neck. She then puts it in Chuck's pocket and the two continue their embrace. Marie returns to the diner that evening, revealing that Eileen and Marie are mother and daughter. Eileen warns Marie off Chuck but Marie ignores her mother completely. The next day Robin goes running, bumping into Chief Martin at the end of her run. Martin gives the walking boots he promised to her and leaves. Stauf and Marie are subsequently seen in the Mansion, implying that they are connected in some way. A man tries to flee someone chasing him but is ultimately caught and slashed to death – his killer is subsequently revealed to be Chuck, who dumps the body in the Mansion later on.
Robin arrives at Samantha's house as the latter is playing The 7th Guest. Samantha is initially distrustful of Robin because of her profession and denies any link between the house and recent events, repeating the accepted story about Eileen's hand and claiming that she and Eileen followed two runaway boys into the house. That evening Samantha comes to Robin's house and offers to tell her the true story about her night at the Mansion. She claims that she and Eileen were raped by the house or a malevolent spirit within it. As Eileen fled after the experience her hand was chopped off by the spirit; both women also fell pregnant after that night, but while Samantha had a back-street abortion – leading to her paralysis – Eileen went ahead with her pregnancy and gave birth to Marie. Samantha claims that Marie is the personification of evil and blames her for recent events in Harley.
Robin talks to Eileen again and tells her what she has learnt from Samantha, but Eileen denies everything and refuses to change her story. She suggests that Robin should go to the mansion for herself, but Marie has been listening to everything and blackmails Chuck into murdering Robin. Chuck goes to Robin's house but unwittingly murders Chief Martin and is forced to take the body with him. He puts the body in the house but is sucked in, leading him into a deadly encounter with the ghost of Julia Heine (a character from The 7th Guest) and Stauf. Robin enters the mansion against the wishes of Samantha and is taunted by Stauf as she wanders through the mansion.
Carl's adventure 
Little is seen of Carl inside the house except on a few occasions.
On one occasion the Gamebook alerts him to a mysterious-looking creature that is about to harm Robin. He is able to talk to Robin through the Gamebook and warn her, allowing Robin to avoid the danger. A mysterious woman is shown to be alarmed by this and is seemingly connected in some way to the attack. He also meets the ghosts of the teenage Eileen and Samantha, Martine Burden and Edward Knox on his journey, the latter two being characters from The 7th Guest. Each nevertheless proves to be confusing and futile to Carl.
The end 
Robin meets Stauf in person and is promised any wish of her desire. Robin is about to comply when Samantha warns Carl through the Gamebook that Robin is in danger. It is implied that Robin has become another victim of the spell of Stauf, but Carl still runs to save her. He is then forced to play a morbid version of Let's Make A Deal with Stauf as the host. The three doors contain Marie, a big-screen television and Robin. Samantha appears on the television, warning Carl not to give in to temptation. The subsequent ending is determined by the player.
Choosing Marie results in Carl's gory demise at the hands of Marie and Stauf, while choosing Robin results in an off-screen death by her hand – she had indeed "made a deal" with Stauf and become one of his minions. The "best" ending is achieved by choosing the middle door, in which Carl and Samantha break the spell of the house. Carl then meets Samantha in person for the first time, who explains that it was too late to save Robin because of her deal with Stauf before showing him the burning ruins of the Stauf Mansion on one of her screens.
Trilobyte has confirmed that the game will be released on both the iPhone and iPad platforms, sold through the iTunes App Store. The release for iOS was scheduled for summer 2011, but Trilobyte has since postponed the release indefinitely due to serious technical challenges.
In April 2012, The 7th Guest: Book of Secrets application for iOS was renamed to just Book of Secrets, and was updated to include a walkthrough and script for The 11th Hour, just as it already had for 7th Guest.
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Reviews of the game upon initial release were mixed. Arinn Dembo writing for Computer Gaming World gave the game 3 stars. In 2010, UGO included the game in the article The 11 Weirdest Game Endings.
The 11th Hour won the following awards:
- 1995 New Media Invision Awards - Gold-Games Strategy/Puzzle
- 1995 New Media Invision Awards - Bronze-Consumer Interactive Movies
- 1995 International Cindy Competition - Honorable Mention - Consumer Games
- 1995 CD-ROM Today "Rommie" Awards - Best Graphic Adventure
The makers of the game originally intended for it to contain more adult content in its cut scenes; the script for the game (published as part of a walk-through guide) included several R-rated sex scenes. Rumors immediately surfaced that an "uncut" version of 11th Hour existed, leading to the game makers announcing that the R-rated sequences, though planned, were never filmed.
- "t7gre" at Google Code
- Keighley, Geoff (22 September 1999). "Haunted Glory: The Rise and Fall of Trilobyte". GameSpot. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Trilobyte Games - The 11th Hour".
- Dembo, Arinn; This Old House: The Sequel to 7th Guest Strikes Perilously Close to Midnight, p. 128. Computer Gaming World, Issue 140, March 1996
- K. Thor Jensen. "The 11 Weirdest Game Endings". UGO.com.
- The 11th Hour at MobyGames
- The rise and fall of Trilobyte - Detailed article on the company, including the making of The 11th Hour.
- The 11th Hour "Film"